• Research on the best time of day to workout and get the most bang for my buck


    Q:  Hey Gale –

    Do you know of much research out there regarding exercise and "time of day".... for instance: like is a 6-mile, 1-hour run at *5am* the equivalent benefit to the same run done at *5pm* -  assuming all other variables are the same? 

    Just wondering if you had any insight on the topic. With limited time in my day I'm always curious about what can give me the best 'bang for my buck'! – TM

    A:  Hey TM, 

    I am not aware of any studies that say one time of day is "best" for fitness gains. For many, morning is good because after work it is often hot and they are tired. Also, lots of things can come up during the day to derail after-work workouts. But..some people feel stiff and unable to go fast first thing in the morning. 

    Noon is good because it's a time pinch – people are in a hurry and they “get ‘er done.” For them, noon is time efficient.

    For others afternoon or evening is best. Not only do they feel fully awake and able to go fast (on fast days), after work is great for relieving stress and letting the office stay away from home. 

    Finally, for some people working out too late interrupts good sleep.

    I think some good questions for each person include:

    • Is improved performance the main goal of workouts, or is the main goal fitness? (Cardiovascular, strength, stress relief, etc.)
    • What time of day would you be most likely to complete your planned workouts?
    • Do friends help you be more consistent with your routine? (If so, what time of day is best for all of you?)

    All things considered, select a time that is most likely to meet your performance and lifestyle goals.

    Hope that helps! 


    Be sure to see if I have an easy-to-use training plan for you on my site to help you reach your goals. And, there are more options on the TrainingPeaks site.


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