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Working out in the Morning vs. Night

I have watched so many YouTube videos on this theory. Is it better to workout in the morning or after 5pm? What are some pros and cons? What’s your experience?


  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 957 Member
    Which do you prefer? What fits into your schedule? It probably is better to be awake for a while before you train - But it really doesn't make much difference. Just do what ever works for you
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    I prefer to do at least some activity before noon so that I don't put it off later when I am busy or tired.
    I generally walk or do some other exercise in the hour after I wake up.
    I don't think it does anything magical to exercise in the morning vs evening. I think it is best to just do it when can.
  • ata1anta
    ata1anta Posts: 115 Member
    I work out before work. There is a gym in the building so I take advantage of it. My commute is over an hour each way, so I've usually had my first coffee by the time I get there.
  • lowcarbmale
    lowcarbmale Posts: 145 Member
    edited October 2018
    I've worked out early in the morning, late at night, in the afternoon and in the evening. For me it doesn't really make a difference but for consistency I prefer to work out in the morning. If you plan on eating a big meal after the workout I would not recommend to work out late at night unless there is some time between the meal and going to bed. I think this is a highly individual topic and agree with sijomial that experimenting with different times is probably the best way to go.
  • intrigame23
    intrigame23 Posts: 193 Member
    edited October 2018
    Workout at a time you will be able to consistently workout at. I don't think it matters if you burn 500 calories in the morning or burn 500 calories at night... it's the same 500 calories burned. Maybe I'm thinking too simplistically, but it makes more sense to just make sure we're exercising period.

    For me, I'd lose less weight and exercise less if I worked out after 5pm because all my energy is spent (work with kids and cranky adults at an elementary school) and I'm an emotional eater. Stress, tiredness, etc get to me and I eat like an *kitten*. Wouldn't work for me.

    What does work is getting up at 450am every day to get to the gym or walk. Stinks getting out of bed. but this is what I CAN do consistently. I have more energy to be productive during the day and take care of my family at night. And I sleep better.

    Find what works for you. 😊
  • MikePfirrman
    MikePfirrman Posts: 3,087 Member
    edited October 2018
    I have an incredibly busy schedule. I protect one part of the day just for me, at lunch. I work out Monday through Friday at lunch for around an hour. I add in a couple of hours on Sunday AM. I protect my lunchtime workouts like a fiend. What others have said, what works for you best. No right or wrong time, just when you will do it. I lift 2/3 times a week in the evening (or throughout the day), nothing real heavy, as I'm watching an hour or so of TV (about the only chance I get).

    Sometimes, I'll mix in my lifting throughout the day. I have a Heavy KB near my desk (I'm lucky enough to work from home). I might do 20/30 pushups, 25 KB swings and military presses (or Goblet Squats or one legged deadlifts) every hour for 5/6 hours. That adds up to a decent whole body workout a couple of times a week too.

    The hour at lunch is nearly all cardio, rower and Assault Bike, so the lifting has to get done in the other hours. I do hate early AM working out.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    Whenever it fits your schedule.

    I'm not a serious competitor in any sport so having a small advantage by exercising at one time of the day vs. another is less important than where it fits in my schedule.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,946 Member
    I mean, who cares? If there is a minor benefit in working out at a certain time of day, it's not like I'm going to alter my entire schedule to make that happen. I've got a lot of *kitten* to do, so I work out when it is convenient for me.
  • rsclause
    rsclause Posts: 3,103 Member
    I like to get up early and run. Traffic is light to non existent. I don't care about whether it burns another calorie or not. If I wait til after work it is to tempting to put it off and I don't like to drink scotch during my run anyway.
  • kd_mazur
    kd_mazur Posts: 569 Member
    I agree with those who say to pick the time that fits. I was always an afternoon/evening exerciser but as my children have grown and become more involved with evening activities I find it more stressful to fit it in at the end of a long day.
    In Aug, I started getting up an hour earlier, which in reality, is just getting up the first time the alarm goes off and not snoozing. I get the workout done and then I have time in the evenings to do stuff with the family without the additional stress of deciding when I will fit the workout in.
  • Sunshine_And_Sand
    Sunshine_And_Sand Posts: 1,320 Member
    You can find a lot of stuff on when is the best time to workout, but honestly the best time to workout is the time that you will actually do it.
    If 20 peer reviewed studies come out proving that 2am is the optimal time to workout, and you skip working out all together because you can't work out at 2am, then you've accomplished nothing. If you ignore it and workout when you actually can/will work out, then you've got your workout in.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    The best time to work out is the time you're most likely to do it. Even if there was evidence that working out in the late afternoon or evening was better, I would still exercise in the early morning because it's when I feel best and I prefer to spend time with my dogs and husband after work.

    Pick the time that you like best. Focusing on the "best" time to exercise may be worth it for elite athletes, but it's irrelevant for all us regular exercisers.
  • 4legsRbetterthan2
    4legsRbetterthan2 Posts: 19,483 MFP Moderator
    edited October 2018
    I think this is one of those topics where people are really trying to major in the minors. For the average person it really doesn't make much difference. Whenever you will get out and get going is when you should do it. Timing may have an impact for really high level athletes, but its not worth getting hung up on for most people.

    Personally, I do some shorter runs on my lunch break throughout the week and my longer ones are in the mornings on weekends. I run better on an empty stomach and I find I get side tracked by other things if I try to wait till the afternoon.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,768 Member
    Do it when you can do it...my schedule is variable...sometimes morning, sometimes evening, sometimes middle of the day. Doing it in the first place and being consistent with regular exercise is going to trump any kind of minor benefit that might come with timing of exercise.
  • jillybeansalad
    jillybeansalad Posts: 239 Member
    I cannot bring myself to workout consistently in the morning... unless mandated by some force. lol It sucks when I wait too long and it takes awhile to unwind, but I'm much more consistent if I do it at night.
    Consistency is the best benefit for me. It's definitely an individual thing, I'm a night owl.
  • JBanx256
    JBanx256 Posts: 1,121 Member
    I work 12-hour rotating shifts, so sometimes I work out at 2am and other times I work out at 2pm. If I could choose, I'd prefer morning workouts but that's just me.