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Should You Work Out in the Evening or in the Morning?

Should You Work Out in the Evening or in the Morning? 

Early birds. Night owls. Supposedly we are one or the other (although many folks identify as neither). The same dichotomy appears in the fitness community: some athletes swear by their early morning workouts, while others prefer to get their sweat in after a long work day. Which time is more ideal for working out?

Close up of woman's legs mid stride while running.

It turns out it depends on the person who is working out. For some, morning workouts are the most ideal, while others can’t bring themselves to lace up before they start their day. If you’re wondering which workout slot is best for you, read on for the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Morning Workouts

For many, a first-thing-in-the-morning workout is the best way to start the day. You achieve something right off the bat, and you start your day energized and full of endorphins - you might not even need that cup of coffee! Morning workouts also leave you with freedom for the rest of the day, not worrying about when you’re going to squeeze in a workout. Parents often prefer morning workouts so they don’t miss out on after school functions or evening family time. And for those in warm areas, a morning workout can be the only way to escape the heat of the day.

However, for many of us that 5 a.m. alarm is just too unrealistic. Sometimes our bodies are stiff and weak in the mornings, making it hard to build fitness. Plus, the prospect of the rest of the day makes you more likely to push off your workout, saying, “maybe I’ll do it later.” If you struggle with motivation to get your miles in, a morning workout may not be the best choice for you (so go ahead and tap that snooze button).

Evening Workouts

Alright, night owls. If the prospect of hitting the hay at 9 p.m. in order to squeeze a morning workout into the next day makes you queasy, you might be an evening workout type. Many office workers prefer this method, as they can burn off stress from work or a long day between closing time and dinner. You also work up an appetite on an evening run or ride, so you can treat yourself to a hearty meal afterwards. After an evening workout, you’ll find yourself freshly showered and ready for a relaxing sleep - and you might notice you rest better after working up that evening sweat.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to evening workouts too. If something comes up midday that gets in the way of your scheduled workout, you already missed your window to hit your training goals that morning. Evening trail time can also cause you to race the sunset, possibly causing you to push yourself too hard or cut your workout short in order to stay out of the dark. Plus, if you have a grueling workout planned, you can spend all day dreading it instead of celebrating your morning success.

Woman riding bike on gravel road while sun sets.

We’re all unique in our fitness pursuits and we’re all unique in when we prefer to get active. The best workout is the one you make it through - regardless of time of day. Let us know if you’re a morning workout person or an evening workout person on our social channels!