Who among you, my dear readers, can relate to this? I have had many a conversations with my friends who want to get fit and shed the unwanted fats, but when you tell them what they need to do, they suddenly whine and say they don’t have the time. So, who should adjust? If you want to commit to getting fit and healthy, there is no other way but to get your butt out there and exercise. You. Must. Make. Time.
But, for those of us who have actually made time (and effort) and want to make sure that we maximize the benefit of each gym session, each hour it takes off our precious time, many of you have been asking, what is the best time to burn fat? Today, I am going to answer that very interesting question.
Our time is precious. You can’t buy time. You can’t extend it, you can’t shorten it. That’s why we have to spend it wisely.
Many people want to lose weight, but only a few want to make time and effort. So, today let’s tackle which the best time is to exercise.
Not to be partial, but I trained myself to exercise in the morning. I am a morning person. I must admit that it was extremely difficult to get used to it. Waking up at 5 in the morning, dragging yourself out of bed, and heading to the gym. But there are some very good reasons to exercise in the morning, especially since you are in a fasted state.
Morning exercise can:
- Definitely WAKE YOU UP!
- Send your metabolism into a zoom that will help you burn calories all throughout the day.
- Morning exercise burns more fat because you do not have glycogen stores since you are in a fasted state. In effect, your body will turn and burn fat for energy.
- Change your mood, especially if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It produces endorphins.
- Personally, I feel like I get more things done because I am forced to start my day early. Right after working out, I proceed straight to work and find that I have more time to do other things.
- Discipline us. I find that even on days when I don’t work out, I still wake up early and get to start the day right away too.
- Give you energy for the rest of the day. Contrary to what others might think, exercising in the morning gets you ready for whatever you may encounter during the day. It boosts energy!
- Give you the mental capacity and energy for the day.
- Let you work out on clean machines. Let’s face it, if we work out early, we get the first dibs on our favorite treadmill. There’s no need to wait for your turn. Plus, time limits don’t apply!
As ideal as morning exercise sounds, it also has its fair share of disadvantages:
- We are forced to work out with less than optimal energy. Coming from sleep, we are still trying to get our wits together, much more our energy.
- We risk injuries because of cold, stiff muscles. This can be easily remedied through stretching properly.
- We risk using our muscle as the fuel source. As mentioned in my previous post, our muscles are also used as an energy source.
While some people think that morning exercise is the best, some studies have shown that the ideal time to exercise, physiologically-speaking, is in the afternoon. Let’s find out why.
Afternoon exercises can:
- Improve exercise performance because our body temperature has adjusted and our muscles are at peak strength.
- Prevent injuries since the muscles are all warmed up.
- Release all the stress build up during the day, especially if you are working out during lunch hour.
- Exercising during lunch hour also makes it very convenient.
- If you work out during your lunch hour, it also decreases your food intake. It will make you less likely take a heavy meal. Otherwise, you waste all that effort at the gym.
Some potential disadvantages of exercising in the afternoon are:
- If your gym has time limits, then they may impose it due to the volume of people who work out in the afternoon. Thus, you may not get a full workout.
- Because of the number of people, you may have to wait for your turn on the machines. This is the worst part because time is wasted.
- Your schedule might not permit it. Let’s face it, most meetings take place in the afternoon.
For some people, exercising in the evening is perfect because it gives them something to look forward to. Some studies on body rhythm and temperature, lung function, and hormone levels have revealed that the most ideal time to work out is around 6 pm.
Evening exercise is most ideal because:
- The body temperature and hormone levels peak at 6 in the evening.
- The muscles have been stretched and used throughout the day, so they are all warmed up and flexible.
- It can control the amount of food we eat for dinner. As you know, our digestion and metabolism slow down in the evening, so we are encouraged to eat like a pauper at night.
- Late night exercising will help you keep focused as other gym members may have gone home already. Or if you work out at home, people are already winding down.
- It can de-stress you and help your brain relax after using it the whole day.
- The exhaustion from exercising will give you a better night’s shut-eye.
However, evening exercise has negative effects, too:
- Conflict with engagements you may have in the evening. Be it a meeting, a party, evenings get pretty busy.
- Energize you, so for some, they might have a hard time sleeping.
- When you exercise at night, you do not benefit from the “afterburn” effect because your metabolism drops when you fall asleep.
If you ask me, there is no “best time” to burn fat. What’s important is you feel comfortable when you work out. I cannot stress this enough, too, but please, DO NOT RUSH. Spare yourself the injury. Working out should be your “Me Time”.
Remember: The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.