Alright, this is it. I’m going to answer this age old question once and for all.
I’m here to cut through the pseudo-scienc, debunk the myths and give it to you straight.
Are you ready? Here it is: the best time of day to workout is … it depends.
Sorry. Not Sorry.
I’ll apologize a bit for the fake-out, but the truth is that there is no “best time of day” that we can live by. Like most health and fitness-related questions, the answer has lots of implications and moving parts that make it dependent on many factors.
Don’t Let AmbiguityPrevent Action
So, you may not like that answer, and I get it. We want a definitive answer so we can follow THE most effective plan that will provide THE most amazing results in THE fastest time possible.
Irregardless of the fact that most of us can’t stick to stringent guidelines, I’m convinced that such guidelines don’t even actually exist. Want proof? Take a minute to go Google the answer. I’ll wait….
See what I mean? You probably found wildly different answers from seemingly credible sources, many of which conflict with each other. The reason is that we are a people with a complex mix of biochemistry, physiology, backgrounds, habits and lifestyles. What works for one person may not work for another. This extends past exercise and applies to nutrition and pharmacology as well. In fact, one person’s medicine can literally be another’s poison.
So in practice, any “absolute rule” you find may do you more harm than good for not just your health, but also your happiness. For example, let’s say you read an article that says 6 a.m. is the best time to workout. And since you want THE BEST strategy you can to lose weight, you start figuring out how to fit a 6 a.m. workout into your life.
You start by getting up an extra 2 hours early at 4 a.m. to get to the gym and still be able to hit your desk on time.
You schedule an Uber to take the kids to school.
You figure you can spend some time with your spouse on the weekend because going to bed 2 hours earlier means you don’t see much of each other anymore.
Now, how likely are you to stick to this radical lifestyle change, and will you feel like a failure when you don’t?
Find YOUR Time
At the Bodysmith, we have successful members that chose to exercise at wildly different times of the day. All of them have their rhythms and have settled into a schedule that works with their lives and still allows them to hit their goals. Here’s a snapshot of how different workout times work for our various members.
- 5:30-6:30 a.m. The early risers are usually professionals and like to get their exercise done before the office. They typically feel that a workout gives them a boost of energy to start their day or want to just “get it over with” first thing. “You do you,” I like to say. An added bonus: if your day gets out of control you can’t cancel your workout because it’s already done.
- 8:00-10:00 a.m.This is prime time for retirees that want to start their day a little slower or for stay-at-home parents. So, after the daily morning family duties are out of the way these members spend a little time on their own self-care while enjoying the social aspect of our gym environment.
- 12:00 p.m. The “noon crew” takes a break from work, hits it hard, and are back in time to finish the day strong. This bunch is hard-working, likes to get down to business and be efficient with their time.
- 4:00-6:00 p.m. The after-work population makes it work by committing to exercise and knowing how to say “no” to everything that pops up toward the end of the day. I tip my hat to these warriors that have learned to prioritize their health over their work. Not an easy thing to do.
- The “Randoms” We have a few members that need to fly by the seat of their pants and tend to show up randomly when their time allows. They are committed to the gym and find ways to make it in despite their ever-changing schedules. Bravo. As a bonus, these members get to experience the gym at different hours and meet all of the staff and other members.
In a nutshell, what I mean to say is the best time for YOU to workout is the time YOU can make it happen. Consistently. No amount of scientific evidence or marketing should be allowed to sway you from the truth of this quote adapted from General George Patton.
“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
How about you? Are you ready to execute a plan?