All over the fitness world people are saying that morning workouts are the best for you. They are known to jump-start your metabolism and get your body ready to begin the day. But are morning workouts really the best? And does this mean that people who work out later in the day don't get as good of a workout?


Although there is no right time to exercise, there are many benefits to breaking a sweat earlier in the day. People who get up a half hour earlier to get to the gym have been shown to be much more consistent with their workouts. It is a no-brainer that working out before the day begins gets it over with. During the day, many things can arise such as unexpected errands or extra work. Having your workout done before that time comes would be ideal because then you won't have to worry about fitting it in, it would already be done.

Consistency is essential for sticking to an exercise program. Exercise in the morning has also been shown to give your metabolism a jumpstart and gets your blood pumping. Breaking a sweat early on has also been shown to aid in sleep. It helps to release stress and tension which can have a positive effect on your sleep. Aside from the physical benefits, getting in a workout early puts a positive outlook on the rest of the day. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are produced in the brain that are shown to reduce pain and create a sense of euphoria. These endorphins are released during exercise! So, endorphins make you happy and keep you happy all day long. What better way to start the day?


Who hasn't heard that exercising on an empty stomach helps to burn more fat? There is a phrase in the fitness world called "empty stomach cardio" and this isn't always the best for you although many people think it is. When you first wake up in the morning, your body is in fasting mode because you haven't had food for a number of hours. While in fasting mode, your body begins to use fat for energy because your glycogen stores are used up (glycogen is energy). So exercising on an empty stomach would obviously make you think that you would keep your body in starvation mode and keep burning fat. Sounds great, right?

Well ... without eating anything first in the morning, your body is begging you for fuel. Just like a car can run on empty for a couple miles, your body can only go so far without any food. Exercising requires that you use energy and if your glycogen stores are depleted, you won't have enough energy to get through your work out at your very best. You should always eat something before you workout to give your body that extra boost of energy that you need to really push yourself. Try one of these pre-workout snacks: A banana, trail mix, yogurt, energy bars and oatmeal.

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Not everyone can do the whole "wake up at 6 in the morning to workout" thing and that's OK. You don't have to work out early. There are actually benefits to working out later in the day. Body temperature plays an important role in exercise. Your body temperature is at its lowest first thing in the morning. Later in the day, it reaches its highest. When your body temperature is higher, your muscles are warmed up and you may feel you have more energy. Research shows that your muscles are stronger and have more endurance with a higher body temperature.

So that goes to show that you don't have to wake up early to get in a good workout and that you may actually get in a better workout if you wait until later in the day when your body is all warmed up. You may be able to lift heavier or run faster which would make for a better workout.


Exercisers who work out later in the evening have to be careful about one thing -- falling asleep. It's been shown that late evening exercise can hinder your ability to fall asleep and that's not a good thing because you know how important sleep is. Exercise stimulates the brain and body, which can make it harder for you to unwind when it is time for bed. Workout at least three to four hours before you are going to attempt to sleep. This will give your body enough time to get your body temperature down and to cool off before going to bed.


There is no "right" time to exercise. I always tell my clients to work out when it is best for them. Some people are both morning and night exercisers, I know that I am. Sometimes I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and others won't hit the track until the sun sets. It all depends on when you have time and when you feel you will get in the best workout. If you try to force yourself to get to the gym in the morning, you may begin to develop a negative feeling toward exercise and you want to avoid that at all costs. Exercise should be something you want to do. It may seem tedious at first. I have some clients, who just hate exercising and always will, but they find the time that works best for them and it's not so bad.

Ultimately, there is no specific time of the day where your body burns more calories. Each person is different and each person's body feels a different way at different times of the day. People who work nights are a perfect example of this. What I call 6 a.m. could really be 8 p.m. for them. It all depends on your lifestyle.

The most important thing to do to be successful is to find what works for you, get into a routine, and stick with it.

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