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Some fitness fanatics swear by morning workouts as they get their hearts racing, give them a metabolism boost, and increase their energy levels for a productive day.
And then there are those who swear by afternoon or evening workouts as they feel calories are burned more efficiently during this time. But the question is, is there a specific time of the day where exercising can produce better results? Is there a best time to work out for weight loss?
Well, the truth is, any time of the day is a great time to work out, but morning workouts have the edge over evening workouts.
No kidding, evening workouts after work are great since your mind is all free and you have fewer distractions. But when you think of it, exercising early in the morning on an empty stomach will definitely help you burn more calories and rev up your metabolism!
As a matter of fact, just 15-20 minutes of morning workouts can make a huge difference in your weight loss goals.
That said, let’s discuss why mornings are the best time of the day to exercise for weight loss.
Best Time to Work Out for Weight Loss- Why Morning Exercise Is Better
1. You Work Out on an Empty Stomach
Running, jogging, or even lifting weights on an empty stomach doesn’t sound pretty at all. However, when exercising with an empty stomach, your metabolism shoots up, and your body ends up burning more fat. This is one of the major reasons why it’s most ideal for maximum weight loss.
In fact, research shows that fasting and exercising at the same time allows your body to burn its fat stores, instead of the carbs from food. In this case, working out on an empty stomach in the morning will burn your fat stores.
This gives it an edge over evening workouts where your body has to burn carbs from your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, instead of burning fat stores.
You burn more fat in the morning because your Hormonal Profile in the morning hours predisposes you to better metabolism of fat.
According to Anthony Hackney, a professor at the University of Carolina in the department of exercise and sport science, your cortisol and growth hormone levels are naturally higher in the morning.
Therefore, most of the energy you’ll use during exercise will be drawn from your fat stores.
The key to achieving weight loss on your exercise regime is being consistent. They say consistency is key when it comes to weight loss.
2.Less Appetite Throughout the Day
You’re less likely to overeat when you exercise in the morning.
In one study, researchers concluded that morning workout could help curb your appetite and prevent you from overeating later in the day.
Researchers discovered that after a 45-minute brisk walk on the treadmill, the female participants had their brain waves measured. The experiment was then conducted about a week later on the same day but omitted the exercise.
The study results indicated that the 45- minutes morning workout produced lower responses to food images. The researchers also noted an increase in total physical activity on that specific day.
The study clearly indicates that by working out in the morning, your appetite will be significantly suppressed throughout the day.
This in addition to burning your fat stores, morning exercise could prove to be beneficial for weight loss to a great extent.
3. Exercising in the Morning Builds Consistency
They say consistency is key when it comes to exercise. You see, when you do the same thing on a regular basis, you become used to it- it basically becomes a part of you.
When you wake up at 5 am every day to jog or run, it becomes a habit- a habit that will be hard to stop. And it makes total sense!
After a long hard day at work, all you want to do is eat dinner, watch some TV, and go to sleep. Exercise might be the last thing on your mind. And no matter how dedicated you’re to losing weight, sometimes it’s just not possible.
The good thing about morning exercise is that there are less distractions. You don’t have to worry about a child to pick up at the daycare or groceries to buy in the evening. Your mind is just free and you can work out freely without any worries.
In fact, according to the American Council, early birds tend to be more consistent and therefore work out more often compared to those who train at any other time of the day.
This, of course, leads to less body fat and a leaner, healthier body.
4.Higher Metabolism, Fat Burning Throughout the Day
As we discussed earlier, working out in the morning can boost your metabolism all through the day.
A faster metabolism means more burning of calories. Therefore, when you kick-start your metabolism with a 30 minutes jog or run early in the morning, it will stay up throughout the day.
Of course, this is an added advantage if you’re planning to shed a few pounds and burn fat.
5. Your Body is Already Warmed Up and Fueled for After-Work Exercise
When you get your heart rate and metabolism levels up, you’re bound to feel more energetic throughout the day.
In addition to boosting your productivity at work, doing so will warm up your body, particularly muscles for a quick workout later in the day.
When working out later in the day, you will experience better flexibility, more energy, and of course, you’ll be less prone to injuries.
6. Morning Exercise Helps Combat Stress
We all know that stress is a leading cause of obesity, mental diseases, and other serious conditions in people of all walks of life.
We also know that regular exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of stress and anxiety.
Exercise has been proven to promote better mental health including improved focus and concentration. With mental health, your productivity increases so do your personal and professional relationships.
Furthermore, because exercising early in the morning boosts your energy levels, you’ll feel motivated and more focused to grind the day.
7. You Sleep Better
There is a reason why experts suggest that morning workouts are better for weight loss.
Well, one of the reasons is that you get better sleep quality when you exercise in the morning than in the evening.
How is that?
Well, you want your body temperature and heart rate in a rest zone before getting into bed. According to Sally White, a professor at Lehigh University, your body needs to fully get ready for sleep.
This simply means that when you exercise and eat too late, it prevents you from getting quality sleep.
According to White, eating and exercising late raises your body temperature and heart rate. These two don’t rhyme well with sleep.
So when you get into the habit of working out early in the morning, you’re at a lesser risk of developing insomnia.
Furthermore, poor sleep quality or not getting adequate sleep has been linked to obesity and other serious health complications.
Exercise early, get quality sleep at night! That’s the deal!
8.Healthy Meals all Through the Day
When you create a consistent morning workout routine, you’re less tempted to eat unhealthy foods at breakfast and throughout the day. You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go into waste after all, right?
This is unlike exercising later in the day where you might only be concerned about burning the calories you’ve eaten all day long.
Morning workouts keep you in total control over your diet. From breakfast to dinner, it will be easier to stick to healthy meals because you don’t want your hard work to go down the drain.
9. You Get to Avoid Crowds in the Gym
Most people often go to the gym in the evening after work- that’s from around 5 pm. During this time, most gyms often experience the most traffic.
Of course, working out with other fitness fanatics can get you all motivated. However, chances are that all the treadmills and other fitness equipment might be occupied.
Morning workouts help you avoid the crowds and even make your workouts faster and more efficient since you’ll have every single equipment at your disposal.
When Evening/Late Workouts are Great
Not everyone can afford to wake up early in the morning and workout. We all have different sleep times and those who work late might find it easier to exercise late in the evening than in the morning.
Exercising later in the day is also great and it comes with a few benefits as well.
One, your testosterone levels peak in late afternoons. Testosterone is crucial for muscle strength and growth. This means working out late in the afternoon or evening may make your resistance training much more effective compared to mornings.
Two, you’re bound to achieve better results with endurance workouts in the evening when your lungs are at peak efficiency. This is mainly because protein synthesis is at an all-time high in the evening, which makes it the perfect time for weight lifting and other resistance training workouts.
An exercise study was conducted by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences at John Moores University in Liverpool, UK, in an effort to identify the optimal time to work out for the day.
Participants in the study included soccer and football players performing cardiovascular training sessions during several hours on the field. The peak reaction time and aerobic capacity were determined between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Working out in the evening also means you’re more relaxed after a hard long day at work. You won’t be stressing about how your day at work will be. All you have to do is do a 45 minutes-1hr workout and go home.
Also, research indicates that you naturally burn about 10 percent more calories late in the afternoon compared to early mornings and during the night.
That said, evening exercise comes with a few rules. They include;
•Always eat your meals after working out, not before. It won’t be as effective as it would be if you exercise on an empty stomach. Furthermore, exercising with a full stomach will only slow you down as your energy levels at this point are pretty low
•Avoid exercising immediately after eating. This is a mistake that most people make, and they always end up being disappointed. Give your body time to digest the food and for your muscles to get replenished. Exercising at least one and a half hours after a meal should be fine
These are important rules to consider before afternoon or evening workouts to achieve better results.
Nighttime Workouts Have Some Advantages Too
Sometimes, working out in the morning or after work can be hard, especially if you have important things to attend to. But this doesn’t mean you can’t break some sweat and stay fit.
Nighttime workouts for weight loss can still be effective, as long as you’re not working out, showering, and retiring to bed immediately.
According to the Journal of Physiology, working out between 7 pm and 10 pm consistently can delay your body clock. This can lead to late sleep time. In other words, exercising at night won’t interfere with your sleep pattern as long as you stay consistent.
Experts recommend performing yoga as it’s a stress-relieving activity that can help relax your body and mind, helping you sleep much better.
Studies have also suggested that nighttime workouts may suppress your appetite by reducing the levels of Ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone. This can help a great deal if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
Wrapping It Up- Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss
Of course, any time is a great time to break some sweat and lose weight. However, morning workouts are best suited for those looking to lose weight. There is evidence that morning exercise leads to positive results and great consistency over time.
However, we all have different schedules and some people may find it hard to exercise in the morning. It’s all good. All you need to do is workout whenever it’s convenient for you.
As long as you maintain a healthy diet, workout on a regular basis, get quality sleep and generally lead a stress-free life, you should be able to achieve your weight loss goals.
Go ahead and find the most suitable time to workout!