Man sitting in the gym

The Pros and Cons of Working Out in the Morning vs Night

Sep 14, 2020Rise Bar Team

Is there really a best time to work out?

While some people swear by their fat-burning morning workout, others get crazy without the post-work stress relief a night workout delivers.

So when should you work out?

Today’s guide covers the pros and cons of working out in the AM versus PM to help you decide the most effective time to schedule your sweat sessions.

Workout equipment on the floor

Pros and Cons of Working Out in the Morning

Let’s go over the pros and cons of working out before starting your day, beginning with the positives:

Pros of a Morning Workout Routine

Building a better morning routine with an AM workout may help you:

Start your day on the right foot. Completing a workout soon after you wake up sets a positive tone for the rest of your day. You’ve already managed to beat the snooze button and train hard.

So you may be more inclined to keep up the good work by eating better, taking more steps, practicing self-care, etc.

Boost energy levels and increase focus, so you’re more productive at work and ready to tackle tough challenges. AM workouts banish groggy feelings to usher in alertness.

Burn off stored reserves and calories. If you fast before an AM workout, you'll burn off calories from the previous day, which chips away at your deficit to inch you closer to a scale victory.

What’s even better is you can usually eat a protein-filled breakfast shortly after to fuel up and segue right into the rest of your day.

Even with these perks, a morning workout routine might not be right for you if the following cons are standing in your way:

Woman doing a sit up

Cons of a Morning Workout Routine

A few downsides to a morning workout include:

Lack of time and potential for stress. If you have to wake up early to get to work or get the kids off to school, you may not have time to schedule an AM routine.

Doing so could add stress before your workday instead of helping to alleviate it, especially if you’re racing around trying to get out the door on time.

Potential lack of energy and focus, which may cause injuries. Working out in the morning is hard if you’re a night owl battling fatigue or a lack of sleep. You may not be able to give it your all, making your workouts less effective.

Plus, if you’re not mentally and physically prepared, you could risk hurting yourself for the rest of the day (or longer).

Hunger pangs. If you’re hungry when you wake up and have a difficult routine scheduled, you may not have the hour or two it takes to eat and digest a full breakfast before your workout.

So you may not have enough energy to complete all your reps and sets. Or you may be distracted by hunger pangs that force you to quit.

The good news is that you can combat almost all of these situations if you really want to commit to a morning workout routine.

You can go to bed earlier or grab a protein bar before your workout so you’re prepared and properly fueled.

If you can’t change how early you start your day for work, you may want to consider a night workout routine instead.

Man sitting in the gym

Pros and Cons of Workout Out at Night

Here are the top pros and cons to consider if you decide to work out later in the day:

Pros of a Night Workout Routine

If you choose to workout in the PM, you may:

Have a higher chance of giving it your all. Rather than groggily going through the motions, an afternoon workout when you’re most awake will ensure your time spent sweating is worth it.

Find stress-relief after a hard day’s work. Post-commute workouts are amazing for combatting the stresses of your day. Getting out this energy instead of dwelling on the mentally draining and exhausting grind could help you healthily work through stress and anxiety. It may also promote better sleep.

Adequately fuel up beforehand. A PM workout gives you time to properly feed the muscles you’ll be working. Eat a full meal one to two hours before your workout or grab a protein bar with enough time to digest it.

Despite these advantages, there are still some downsides to consider if you are going to work out later in your day:

Treadmills in gym

Cons of a Night Workout Routine

Scheduling an afternoon or evening workout may cause:

Disruptions in your sleep. Since working out boosts your energy levels, doing so too close to bedtime could make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Poor sleep quality is a surefire way to ruin any potential gains you score working out.

Procrastination and excuses not to work out. If the stresses of the day get the best of you, a pile of excuses may cause you to procrastinate your PM workout or never complete it.

If this tends to happen to you, it’s better to just knock out your routine first thing in the AM before the craziness of the day (and the excuses) sets in.

Difficulties refueling. It’s harder to deliver the protein your muscles need after a PM workout if you’re too close to dinner or bedtime. Your refuel may interfere with dinner or be too much to digest as you’re trying to wind down for sleep.

A protein bar could be the perfect post-workout fuel to give your body energy without overloading it too much.

Two woman doing plank in gym high fiving

Final Thoughts on The Best Time to Work Out

After weighing these pros and cons and considering your unique schedule, you may have an idea of which time to workout is right for you. Now it’s time to see what works best using trial and error.

You may find that you can easily switch to morning workouts as long as you get to bed at a reasonable time and give yourself a buffer before work so you’re not racing around and stressing yourself out.

If you find you’re too groggy or sluggish to give it your all, a nighttime workout may be more effective for you. As long as you can commit to squeezing in a routine without disrupting your sleep cycle, you’ll be in good shape.

The key is to work with your body and your schedule, and choose the route that lets you stay consistent — that’s what’ll help you achieve your fitness goals and the best results.

Author: Devan Ciccarelli 
Instagram/Facebook Group: @behappynothangry/Be Happy Not Hangry

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