© Kayla Itsines
Quick run before work? Lunchtime HIIT session? Or Evening yoga?
Everybody has their own preference, but does the best time to exercise exist? It’s a question that’s asked the world over, yet the answer is still ambiguous.
According to a growing body of research, you should quit the afternoon coffee habit and instead, combat your 4pm energy slump with a workout.
Saving your workout for the late afternoon can make it more effective, as body strength and flexibility are actually at their peak in the late afternoon.
Scientists believe this is due to the body’s circadian rhythm, which causes body temperature to raise throughout the day and peak in the late afternoon.
Plus, after grazing your way through the day you’ll have more energy to fuel your workout.
This means that you can push yourself harder without even realising it. More gains, less effort, we’ll take that.
The best time to exercise according to Kayla Itsines
“I train in the middle of the day because I prefer to have two meals at least in my body,” says Kayla Itsines, personal trainer and creator of Bikini Body Guides (BBG).
“Today I trained legs after eating just an apple but usually, I have breakfast, relax, a coffee and then train. It’s about time as well.”
But while you would get more from your workout in the late afternoon, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise at other times of the day.
“Some of my clients can’t train in the afternoon as they don’t have time,” says Kayla. “People work. It’s just what works for you that’s important rather than stressing about the small detail.”
However, take note. Slogging through BBG after a big weekend can have its limitations.
“I don’t drink alcohol but for the girls that I train who do go out, a Monday morning session is a write-off,” says Kayla.
“They are out of breath and can’t do anything. We do a super light session, but not fast or they’ll throw up.”
Of course, it’s OK to have a subpar workout every now and again. Do remember not to beat yourself up when this happens. However, if you’re struggling to understand why you’ve hit a weight loss plateau when you’re counting your macros and are following the safe rules to lose fat fast then changing the time of your circuits might help.
Jan 19, 2018 at 3:09am PST
If you’re truly worried about less-than-optimal-workouts keep a training diary. Start with AM workouts one week and then move onto PM workouts the next. After two weeks review your own research. You might find that you perform best with a combination of morning and evening workouts.
Whichever time you choose to work out, try and build up a regular routine, as research shows that workouts are more effective if you exercise at the same time every day.
And be sure to set aside at least one rest day a week to give your body a chance to recover.
Working out tonight? Read our guide on how to burn calories fast or find out: Does lifting weight help you lose fat?