The Best Time To Work Out

Should you exercise in the morning, afternoon or evening?

We all have different goals and lifestyles. Therefore, we need to adjust our workout routines accordingly. In this article we will give you tips to help you decide when is the best time of day to exercise according to your goal and schedule.

This might seem obvious, but you should exercise whenever your schedule permits.

There are things we can't control. If you can't do your 6 am run, it's okay. Do it in the evening or the next day.

A quick workout is better than no workout.

Your body clock sets the rhythm for the day. That's why some people tend to wake up earlier or sleep later.

This also sets the rhythm of your vital organs (such as blood pressure, hormones...), which is why it is important to work out when you feel at your best.

We're all different and someone would feel better working out at 6 am instead of 6 pm. Your body will get used to the schedule you try to be consistent with.

A busy workout gym usually means a longer workout. Most people like when the gym is empty. It allows you to perform all your exercises in peace, without anyone giving you a weird look because you're taking three minutes of rest instead of two minutes.

Depending on where you live, the gym can be crowded at different times, but the gym schedule usually tends to be as follows:

  • 6 am to 7:30 am: empty
  • 7:30 am to 9 am: crowded (before work)
  • 9 am to 11:30 am: empty
  • 11:30 am to 1 pm: crowded (lunch break)
  • 1 pm to 5 pm: empty
  • 5 pm to 8 pm: crowded (after work)
  • 8 pm to 11 pm: empty

Some studies have shown that you will be able perform better with your anaerobic (strength training) and potentially aerobic (cardio) workouts in the late afternoon (after 4pm).

Your body will have a couple meals in, which will fill your glycogen stores. Therefore, you will be able to perform at a higher intensity. So if you are planning to do an intense lifting workout (heavy weight) or a very long run (1 hour or more), you may want to try exercising in the late afternoon.

If you're trying to find the best time to do your LISS (Low Intensity Steady State), HIIT (High Intensity Steady State) cardio or even a quick strength training workout (light/moderate for 30 mins or less), you should try exercising in the morning.

Since your growth hormone is at its highest in the morning (while fasting), your body will help you burn more fat.

Therefore, if you are planning to do a quick training session that is mainly focusing on fat loss, you should try a morning fasted workout.

If you're doing a more intense workout, try having a pre-workout snack.

Exercising regularly will help you reduce anxiety and stress, which can help you sleep better.

Some people tend to struggle sleeping after an evening workout, whereas others could fall asleep right out of the shower.

To be safe, you should try to avoid exercising (and eating... and pre-workouts) two to three hours before a workout.

Once again, we're all different, so experiment with your schedule and see what time of the day works best for you.

  • Work out whenever you can.
  • Listen to your body, and try to exercise whenever you feel at your best.
  • You may want to work out when your gym is empty.
  • If you want to build muscle, you should try exercising in the late afternoon. You will perform better.
  • If you want to lose fat, you should try working out in the morning. You burn more fat.
  • Working out may help you sleep better, but avoid working out right before your bedtime.
  • Chtourou H, Souissi N. "The effect of training at a specific time of day: a review."
  • Küüsmaa M, Schumann M, Sedliak M, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Malinen JP, Nyman K, Häkkinen A, Häkkinen K. "Effects of morning versus evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, muscle hypertrophy, and serum hormone concentrations."
  • Madhusmita Misra, Miriam A. Bredella, Patrika Tsai, Nara Mendes, Karen K. Miller, and Anne Klibanski. "Lower growth hormone and higher cortisol are associated with greater visceral adiposity, intramyocellular lipids, and insulin resistance in overweight girls"
  • Penelope Larsen, Frank Marino, Kerri Melehan, Kym J Guelfi, Rob Duffield, Melissa Skein. "Evening high‐intensity interval exercise does not disrupt sleep or alter energy intake despite changes in acylated ghrelin in middle‐aged men"
Share it

Weekly knowledge exclusively for people who want to improve their health, fitness and mindset.

First name