A common question I get is, ‘what’s the best time of day to train?’
People are often disappointed when I tell them that there really isn’t a ‘best’ time, instead it’s about what works best FOR YOU. If I told you training in the mornings is most beneficial but you aren’t a morning person and feel terrible training then, well that’s not going to be best for you is it? Instead it’s about finding times and days to train that suit your lifestyle and when you have most energy and feel strongest.
Obviously there are any number of potential times you can train but the main times for most people tend to be before work, lunchtimes and evenings. I thought it might be helpful to go through the pros and cons for each of these times so you can work out what might work best for you.
- It sets you up for the day.
- Starting the day by doing something for yourself is important, especially if you spend a lot of time helping others.
- It’s less likely something will get in the way at this time and stop you training.
- Gyms tend to be quieter in the morning.
- Not great if you aren’t a morning person and struggle getting up early.
- Some people struggle work intensely in the morning.
- Often people find it difficult knowing if they should eat before or after a workout if training early and how to fit it in.
- It gives you a break from work.
- Provides a motivation boost for the afternoon.
- Time limit means you’ll keep your workout intense.
- Can mean that people don’t get to eat as they don’t have time to train and eat.
- Limited time can mean workout is effected.
- Easy for something to come up at work that means you have to miss it.
- Great way to switch off from a busy day.
- You have more time to workout.
- You’ve got a days food as energy.
- People often feel stronger later in the day.
- Easy to skip it if you’re tired from a busy day.
- If you’re tired it’s not often what you want to do.
- It can mean you end up eating late.
- The gym tends to be busier in the evening.
You’ll see that there are pros and cons for all of these times and there’ll be things I’ve listed that are more important to you than others. For example, if you are really anxious about going to the gym then going when it’s quiet is probably way more important than going when you have most energy. Your goal will also play a part. If you are really focusing on strength then you need to prioritise when you feel strongest over things like when the gym is busy.
It’s also worth baring in mind that this can and will change. If you have a particularly stressful time at work, or you’ve just had a baby these are things that will effect when you can train. At times like this it’s less about when is best and more about if at all, and it’s often a positive just getting to the gym.
Weekends can also be a great time to catch up on workouts you’ve missed, train at a more leisurely pace or at a time you prefer so consider these too when planning your workouts.
Just remember that there’s no ‘perfect’ time to train and just do what works for you.