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Day or Night Workouts—Is One Better?

Is there a better time to workout? According to this Huffington Post article, there is. If you are looking to accomplish a particular goal, that is. Quoting different studies, things like weight loss and strength gain, sleep enhancement and consistent improvement in a particular discipline can be more successful if exercise happens during a certain time of the day.

Yet, some exercisers feel drawn to getting the workout in while the sun is coming up, while others prefer to do it when it’s on its way down. And there’s a reason for that. It’s called the circadian rhythm. Based on the earth’s rotation and the 24-hour cycle, it governs your body’s biological processes. And it’s something you can’t avoid. But you can reset its timing, according to this sportsmedicine.com article.

So if you are deciding which schedule works best for you, here are few things that might sway your decision-making process.

Up and At ‘Em

Studies by the American Council on Exercise suggest early workouts are better for weight loss. Having an empty stomach means that a pre-breakfast routine will dip into the fat reserves first. It also keeps the calorie burn going longer, which increases the daily caloric expenditure.

Morning is statistically the time of day that encourages consistency too, with fewer distractions creeping in at that hour. So if you are looking to go down a pant size or two, a sweat at dawn seems to be your best bet.

Early Bird Tips

Warm up. This becomes more important, and should last longer, for early routines. Your body temperature is lower and your muscles have been dormant for the duration of your nighttime slumber. It means that the synovial fluid (the stuff bathing your joints and keeping them moving smoothly) is a little more like old motor oil than high-performance gas.

This seems simple advice, but get a good night’s rest. Apart from getting the reparative benefits, this AskMen article suggests that REM sleep might even help refine your exercise form through workout dream rehearsals.

Late Bloomer Fitness

Most of us, despite our time preference, are better suited to working out in the afternoons. Body temperatures are at their optimal point and we are likely to have better strength and endurance (aerobic capacity). There is also less risk of injury as the muscles and joints are warm enough for peak performance, and by and large we are most “awake” then.

Night Owl Considerations

If you are working out later in the day and you’ve just had a meal, wait an hour (or 90 mins if it was a big meal) before hitting the gym. This gives your body time to reroute the blood used for digestion back to the muscles.

There are conflicting reports about how late afternoon or evening workouts affect sleep patterns. Although exercise generally helps with (and improves) sleep, some scientists maintain that exercise (and eating) will increase body temperature and heart rate. This then interferes with the circadian rhythm by bumping your body out of the “rest zone,” which is the precursor to restorative sleep. However, other research suggests that a good workout before bedtime has no effect on the night’s sleep.

Experts do agree on this though—make it a habit. Regardless of the time of the day you choose, make sure it will consistently work for you, and that it becomes a routine that your body (and mind) are comfortable with.

Having a space that enervates exercisers to make it to their next session is another important factor of encouraging a routine. At enerG wellness we dedicate our company’s energy and resources to creating fitness facilities that meet and exceed our clients vision for a unique space. Adopting a 360º philosophy, we manage the entire process from design to implementation to maximize the health and vitality of your fitness facility as well as your ROI.

Contact one of our experienced representatives in the Mid-Atlantic to see how we can help you differentiate your business from the competition and drive real profits to your bottom line.

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