Exercise can help you get weight loss results faster but does it matter when you do it? Find out the best time to work out for weight loss.
Exercising can help you achieve a (bigger) calorie deficit. Some extra movement can also improve brain capacity, make you happier and help prevent all kinds of diseases.
What is the best time of day to exercise?
There a few factors that decide if morning or evening exercise is better. Some factors of these factors might be more important for you than someone else.
Willpower is an interesting aspect of humans. Sometimes you know you need to do something but for some strange reason you can’t get yourself to do it.
What’s also interesting is that willpower is something finite. You use it up throughout the day. The longer the day goes on the harder it becomes to make yourself do things.
Because of this exercising in the morning can be a powerful thing. You replenish your willpower during your sleep. This makes the chances of you doing the planned exercise that much bigger.
Sleep is a very important aspect of weight loss.
To be able to fall asleep your body goes through all kinds of processes. Some of these include slowing down your heart rate and lowering body temperature.
Those two things don’t sound like something exercise will help with.
In terms of sleep, it’s better not to exercise in the 3-4 hours before bed. If that’s the only time you can exercise, working out is probably worth doing anyway. The benefits will probably outweigh the downside of the reduction in sleep quality.
When you eat a hormone called insulin rises. Insulin is a hormone that puts your body into fat-storing mode. When the levels of this hormone are raised it is harder to convert fat into energy to exercise.
The longer you go without eating the lower your insulin levels go. Normally they are the lowest right before your first bite of the day.
While exercising in a fasted state shows certain health benefits, it’s not yet clear if it boosts weight loss too (1). Chances are that it helps you burn more fat instead of muscle. This would be helpful for long term weight loss.
So in theory exercising first thing in the morning would be best. However, it’s not completely clear if this is also true in practice.
Your friends probably don’t call you up at 7 a.m. to hang out. 7 p.m. is a lot more likely.
If you plan your workout in the evening it’s a lot more likely other activities will get in the way. Being consistent with exercise can be very helpful for losing weight.
When you first start working out again it might not feel like it but exercise can provide you energy throughout the day.
By exercising in the morning you get yourself ready for a day of getting things done.
Things like the best time to work out for weight loss depend on personal preference too.
Some people absolutely don’t want to exercise in the morning. If these people only plan morning workouts, chances are they won’t spend a lot of time exercising.
To find out which time suites you better you can try a few different times. Once you’ve tried each time for a week or 2 you can choose which one felt the best for you. You might be surprised at how easy it is to wake up early once you get used to it.
When you have found your ideal time to work out, try to keep it the same every day. It’s a lot easier to stick to working out when it becomes an ingrained habit.
If you both like exercising earlier in the day and later at night, exercising earlier is most likely better for weight loss.
The advantages of exercising are so big it is probably better to work out at night than to do no exercise.
Exercising before or after eating
Exercising fasted can provide extra health benefits but you don’t necessarily have to do it if you’re only looking to lose weight.
What you should at least do is try to limit eating to 3-4 hours before exercising. This way your body has some time to process the food you just ate before it needs to use energy to move a lot.