There's a popular notion that morning workouts are the most effective for burning fat. The fact is, that there's no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day. But the time of day can influence how you feel when exercising. So choose a time of day you can stick with so that exercise becomes a habit.
There are 24 hours in a day, so doing one hour or less of exercise is less than 4% of your day. With 1440 minutes in a day, why not spare 30 of them for a feel-good workout? Exercising should be part of your lifestyle instead of a seasoned fad.
Why training in the morning is getting a great rap
- It’s a great kick-start to your metabolism
- It will give you more energy to get through the day
- There are fewer excuses and less interference from your day's demands
- Many people find that if they exercise in the morning, they make better food choices during the day. You have done your hard work already — you don't want to wreck it!
- It's less busy in the morning — there are fewer people around, it’s calmer and less crowded, plus you get to see amazing sunrises.
Morning exercise is a great time to think and prepare yourself mentally for the day, even more beneficial if you have a stressful job. If you are worried about being tired, it’s also a good idea to go to bed earlier. Think about how great you will feel for the rest of the day! You’ll have already done your exercise. You have endorphins pumping around your body. You can cook a healthy meal after work, relax, get an early night and have some time to yourself!
Exercising at the same time each morning (and waking up at the same time each day), will get your body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms in a good pattern and help you to form a healthy exercise habit.
The benefits of morning workouts
Try your new morning workout routine for about 3 weeks for it to really kick in. If you do this consistently, there are loads of benefits, including:
- Your metabolism and the hormones that are involved in the exercise will start preparing themselves while you are sleeping, so when you wake up you will feel more energised, more alert and ready to go!
- When you get up at all different times, your body can get confused. If you wake up and get up around the same each day, it will become much easier
What if I prefer working out in the evening?
We know that exercising in the morning is not for everyone, so we put a few things down about exercising in the afternoon/evening.
If exercising in the afternoon or evening is your thing, then go for it. Schedule it into your calendar and make it a priority in your life to exercise at this time, so that you stick to it. Be consistent, that is the key.
A few things to think about
Eat first, exercise later
Make sure you exercise after you eat.If you haven't eaten for a while (e.g. since lunch and you want to go for a run), have an afternoon snack to help get you through your workout. Have a small snack of nuts, butter on toast, a banana and a few rice cakes - something that you know you can digest easily. If you have a bigger snack, try and have it about 1.5 hours before you plan to work out.
Give yourself time to wind down
Some people may find it harder to wind down after exercising, so make sure you have some downtime before going to bed. It will help you fall asleep easier. In a perfect world, you want to have at least 3 hours between finishing your workout and bedtime, to give your body enough time (hormones, body temperature, etc.) to prepare for sleep.
Have something light for dinner
If you are exercising at night, you may not feel like a big meal for dinner, which is OK. Have something light — an omelette is a good idea. Eat something with good protein and good fats to help muscle repair. You just need to make sure you have enough time to digest your food before going to bed. If you’re a night person, you’ll probably find yourself having more energy and feeling stronger in the evening so that you will get the most out of your workout, so do it!
Consider another time
If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep after exercising in the evening, it might be time to re-evaluate and move your workout to lunchtime, or afternoon and see if that makes a difference to how easily you fall asleep and stay asleep.
But in the end, do what works for you, what fits into your life and at a time you can prioritise so that you get into a good healthy eating and exercising routine!
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