We all know that one person who gets up before the crack of dawn to complete a hearty workout. We also know that many people simply don’t function before the sun is shining. When you’re setting up a workout routine for yourself you may be putting some thought into the best time of day you should do it. Some exercise myths make the rounds, as many believe that early morning workouts burn the most calories while late-night workouts run the risk of keeping you up at night. As it turns out, these are simply myths and you may be overthinking things.
There is no hard evidence to suggest that the time of day influences how many calories you burn, or that exercising before bed affects your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. The best thing you can do to choose when to work out is take a moment to reflect on your real-life schedule and your natural circadian rhythm.
Your Internal Clock
You have probably heard about the body’s “circadian rhythm” or that inner clock that guides automatic and voluntary bodily processes. This 24-hour cycle is experienced by different people in different ways. It is directly manipulated by the presence of light, which is in turn affected by the earth’s rotation.Your biological clock affects when you eat and sleep. It also influences functions like blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels and heart rate. All these things are linked to your body’s performance during exercise.
A minority of the population experience the circadian rhythm in atypical ways. Some of these types are considered “larks” as they awake early morning bustling with energy, and some types are considered “owls” as they take a few hours to feel alert and awake later in the day. The majority of the population is indifferent to extremes and experience an “average” circadian rhythm. This means that, for them, certain bodily processes happen at specific times.
During morning hours, testosterone is at its highest concentration in your body. Mental alertness peaks during the later morning, and your memory works best the first half of the day. Your body temperature remains pretty low at this time.
In the afternoon, your tolerance for pain is at its highest, although you may experience reduced energy by noon or later. Late afternoon is when both adrenaline and body temperature endure a raise. It is also the time that you are most mentally and physically functional.
During evening hours, coordination, stamina, and body temperature reach their climax, as does lung capacity, flexibility, and strength. Your focus, however, is dwindling.
Between the hours of 9 and 10 PM, your body naturally produces melatonin, a hormone that prepares you for sleep. This is typically not the best time to participate in a workout.
Depending on your personal fitness goals, the above information may be useful. To weight train, for instance, it makes sense to lift in the afternoon when your core temperature has warmed up. This increases your strength and endurance as you are able to tolerate more pain. Cold bodies tend to leave muscles stiff, inefficient, and more susceptible to injury, which is why if morning workouts work best for your schedule, you should really focus on your warm-up routine.
You may have specific personal fitness goals, but regardless of what they are they need to fit into your personal life in a way that you can consistently include them in your daily routine. For the majority of people with a standard 9-5 daytime career and family, there’s no better time than first thing in the morning.
You may not have your A game during an early morning workout, but studies show that people are more consistent with their fitness routine when they exercise in the morning. This is probably because their whole day hasn’t yet begun, giving them the space to focus on themselves before all chaos unfolds. Many find early morning workouts help them wake up and feel energized throughout the day; and besides, who doesn’t love an exhilarating morning shower? Burning all those calories in the morning has also been linked to better sleep at the end of the day if you are consistent.
For an invigorating workout that fits into your life, PumpFit Club has flexible hours that include weekends. Whether you’re an early bird or prefer to loosen up after a long day of sitting, we have convenient hours for the busy professional. Check out our schedule today.