The Best Times Of Day To Exercise
The Best Times Of Day To Exercise

The Best Times Of Day To Exercise

While working out at any time of the day is undoubtedly better than doing nothing, research shows certain times are more efficient than others. If you want to make the most of your workout, here’s what you need to know…
By Tor West

High-Intensity Sessions Are Best Suited To The Morning

If you’re into spinning, running and HIIT, you could get more out of a workout if you schedule a morning session, says PT Luke Worthington. “Our body has a natural cycle of hormones, which help regulate energy, mood and sleep every 24 hours – this is known as our circadian rhythm. Stress hormones are greater in the morning, and this is what wakes us up and gets us out of bed. These stress hormones also help to increase a state of alertness and have been shown to improve physical performance.” 

For this reason, Luke says high-intensity cardio, bootcamps, circuit-style classes and spinning are best suited to the morning. “These types of exercise are highly stressful for the nervous system and increase production of stress hormones, so do them in the morning to stay in sync with your hormones. On the flip side, more rhythmic exercise such as yoga, Pilates and barre produces fewer stress hormones, so can be done at any time.”

A Morning Workout Can Also Keep You On Track…

Experts agree there are many perks of exercising in the morning. For starters, according to David Wiener, training specialist at Freeletics, there’s research to suggest people who train in the morning tend to make healthier food choices for the rest of the day. “Studies also show you’re productive when you’re active, so along with an energy boost from endorphins, exercise also increases your brain’s production of serotonin, which can help you to think more clearly and enhance focus. Research has also linked morning workouts to improved sleep, lower blood pressure and an increased metabolism.”

There’s research to suggest people who train in the MORNING tend to make HEALTHIER FOOD CHOICES for the rest of the day.

…And Help You Lose A Few Pounds Faster

If weight loss is a goal for you, studies show a morning workout could have the edge. One major study found participants who exercised soon after they woke up lost more weight than those who did the same amount of exercise later in the day. However, Luke is insistent this has nothing to do with exercising on an empty stomach. “The notion of fasted training aiding fat loss is a myth,” he tells us. “It’s been disproven in lab studies many times over. When it comes to weight loss, it’s about total calorie consumption and expenditure over a whole week, or fortnightly period, not hour by hour. Working out on a full – or empty – stomach is purely down to personal preference and comfort.”

HIIT Can Supercharge Focus

If you have a busy day on the cards, stick to HIIT to keep your mind and body firing on all cylinders. “HIIT causes what’s known as an afterburn effect. This is because the intensity of the exercise causes an increased need for oxygen, so you end up with an oxygen shortage,” David explains. “This means your body must find more oxygen to recover. This, in turn, boosts your metabolism and burns more calories, and will keep productivity levels and energy topped up so you avoid any mid-afternoon energy slumps.”

Lift Weights Later In The Day

If you’re looking to build lean muscle, save the weight training for later in the day, when your muscles are primed for action. “Between 2pm and 7pm, the body has its fastest reaction time, best co-ordination and best muscular endurance,” says Beth Crivelli, lead instructor at Sadhana Live. “Body temperature and blood pressure naturally rise in the evening – around 6:30pm – and studies have found this can increase muscle compliance and metabolism, meaning a better workout.” 

Your muscles are better fuelled later in the day too, which makes them more responsive to training, and there’s a reduced chance of injury. “If you have a choice of when to incorporate resistance training into your week, I’d steer clear of an early morning weights session and do it later in the day. Not only are muscles more responsive later in the day, but we tend to wake up mildly dehydrated, which can increase your chance of injury.”

HIGH INTENSITY WORKOUTS can disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, meaning an intense evening session could AFFECT SLEEP.

If You Struggle With Insomnia, Avoid A Late Workout

Luke suggests working out in the morning may aid a better night’s sleep, and science agrees. One study found that exercising at 8am can shift your body clock earlier, improving your alertness in the morning and making you sleepier in the evening. “High-intensity workouts can disrupt the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, meaning you might struggle to fall, or stay, asleep,” he adds.

Ultimately, Find What Works For You

“Science is constantly evolving, so what might be proven as the best time to work out today, may be proven different in a years’ time and again in five years’ time,” says Beth. “Just remember that exercise at any time is better than doing nothing at all. If you only have time for a session in the late afternoon, then go with it.” 

If you can bear an early alarm, a morning workout is the gold standard, Beth finishes. “Humans have evolved in a way that means in the morning on an empty stomach, our hormonal profile is predisposed for a more efficient metabolism of fat. And in terms of other benefits, it’s a great way to start the day, clear your head and focus on the day’s tasks with renewed energy.” But if you only have a short gap in the evening, that’s fine too. “If it’s been a stressful day, a low-impact afternoon or evening workout could aid a restful night’s sleep, which in itself has countless benefits.”

For more, visit, & Also follow @LukeWTraining for training advice and inspiration.


DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily