You might have heard that an early morning run is the key to getting fit, but is this a fact? Let’s discover when is the best time of day to work out, and if timing affects performance.

When is the best time to work out

The media leads us to believe that the best way to start your day is with a run before work; suggesting that this will speed up your metabolism leading to more fat loss, and make your day more productive, as you’re now filled with energy.

The thing is, this isn’t 100% true, the fact is––some of us just aren’t wired that way. And that’s ok, the optimal workout time varies from person to person, and depends largely on a number of factors.

Here we’ll learn more about the pluses and minuses of working out at different times of the day and help you discover when is the best time of day for you to exercise.

Morning larks

morning jog

Coo-Coo! Hello there, early bird! If you like to rise even before the sun shines, we’re sure you’re convinced there can be no other alternative to getting in a workout before you head to the office.

But, just for the sake of the argument, let’s take a look at the benefits and downsides to morning exercise anyway.

Benefits of morning exercise:

  • Helps keep a consistent routine––if you plan to be in the office at 09.00am, you know you need to be on that run by 06.30am. Exercising in the morning helps you stick to your schedule and make it to work on time.
  • Curbs your appetite––exercise naturally releases hormones that suppress your cravings making you likely to eat less.
  • Reduces your stress levels––got a big meeting coming up? That morning routine could be the key to keeping you focused and relaxed to ensure your best performance yet.

Downsides of morning activity:

  • More likely to hit that snooze button––when that bed is so cozy, it can be difficult to pry yourself from under the covers, getting in that early activity could prove a challenge.
  • Less sleep overall––depending on your work/life schedule, rising early could prove detrimental to your sleep routine, if you’re naturally a late-to-bedder, this could lead to disrupted sleep; which isn’t good for your mood or health.

Afternoon angels


If you’re not a fan of the early wake-up, but you still don’t want to be getting all worked up in the evenings, that could mean that you’re an afternoon exercise angel.

Benefits of afternoon exercise:

  • Muscles are ready to go––by the time mid-day rolls around, your muscles have woken up and are prepared to be used, probably you’ll also enjoy the break from your computer, and are simply raring to get going.
  • Boost your mood mid-day––just like morning-time activities, a lunchtime workout can leave you feeling happier, healthier and, dare we say it, more virtuous too.

 Downsides of afternoon activity:

  • Time restriction––finding a solid hour can be a challenge, especially if your office isn’t near a gym, you’ll also be limited in the time you have to get there, get a workout in, and get ready for work again, which could leave you stressed not relaxed.
  • Lunch or a run?–– it’s a difficult choice to make, and sometimes you won’t have time for both. Do you choose a healthy meal and no workout, or a quick snack and a workout? Only you can decide.

Night owls


Do you live for sundown? Night owls come alive as the moon appears in the sky. If you are a nocturnal creature, all that talk of morning runs probably sounds like your worst nightmare. But, never despair, there is no good reason why you can’t push your routine ‘til after dusk; perhaps it’s simply the best time to exercise during the day for you.

Benefits of nighttime exercise:

Your body can adjust––if you’ve found a spot in your daily plan and you’d like to push your routine until after work, don’t worry. Your body is highly adaptable to new schedules, providing you keep it consistent.

  • Flexibility is on your side––By the evening your muscles are nice and supple, ready for all the world has to throw at them, and this makes you less prone to injury.
  • Better performance––At this time of day, your reaction time is likely to be at its peak, while your key body stats––blood pressure and heart rate––are at their lowest (aka optimal values), putting you in the best position for a workout.

Downsides of nighttime activity:

  • Working yourself up before bed––sometimes once you have those endorphins flowing it can be hard to slow down, so make sure you properly unwind before hitting the hay.
  • Proper nutrition––not a fan of eating at night? Well, that’s going to have to change, eating a small snack after a workout can help your body repair itself faster.

Is it better to work out in the morning or afternoon or night?

When it comes to working out, no matter whether you’re a morning lark, night owl or somewhere in between, the thing that is most important is finding the time YOU can successfully complete a workout.

Think which time of day makes you happiest, when will you be most free, and when do you think you can be consistent in your exercise routine. Focus less on the benefits of morning or nighttime regimes and go ahead and suit yourself.

Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
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