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When Is The Best Time To Workout To Lose Weight? Let’s Reveal 2023
Regular exercise can be pivotal if losing weight would benefit your overall health. According to the most recently published Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the average healthy adult needs approximately 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of strength training weekly.
Sometimes living a busy and full life means squeezing in your workout whenever possible. But if you have lofty health and fitness goals, carving out a set time for your workouts may be necessary. Just as you would take your fat-burning products in a timely manner, research indicates you need to be timely with your workouts as well.
So, when is the best time to work out to lose weight? This article will break down the science behind circadian physiology and its role in weight regulation so you can decide the optimal time for physical activity.
When Is The Best Time To Do A Workout To Lose Weight?
If only there were one straightforward answer to that question. You’re not alone if you’re wondering when you should work out to make the most of your sweat sessions. However, current research indicates that many factors play a role in determining your most opportune workout time. Men and women may benefit from exercising at different times, and different exercise times may offer different benefits altogether. Still, whether you prefer morning or evening exercise, regular physical activity supports your overall health.
Best Time To Workout To Lose Weight
If you’re wondering what’s the right time to go to the gym, you’re not alone. Is it better to work out in the morning or at night? Since no two bodies are the same and we all have unique health and wellness goals, it would be surprising if there were just one answer to that question.
Researchers analyzed the science behind exercise timing and its effects on weight management and body composition. They have compared morning workouts to afternoon exercise, evening workouts to early morning exercise, and everything in between.
A 2022 study examined the effects of morning and evening exercise and found that male and female bodies respond to physical demands differently. Researchers followed 30 male and 26 female participants as they completed four workouts per week over 12 weeks.
Since weight loss is not a linear process, researchers found that there are many variables as important considerations when finding the best time to exercise. Let’s break it down:
According to the 2022 study, researchers determined that women experience more fat burning during morning exercises. In addition, they found that morning exercise helped with abdominal fat loss and blood pressure reduction compared to women who took part in evening exercise. Furthermore, the study found that morning exercise can help women increase their lower body muscle power.
Some morning exercisers like to work out in the early hours because they prefer to exercise on an empty stomach. What we eat before a workout can greatly affect the body’s responses to exercise. Eating too much before working out can leave you feeling sluggish since your body is using its resources to digest your food instead of meeting the increased energy demands of your full-body workout.
Furthermore, researchers have found that early exercise may significantly impact women’s weight loss by supporting appetite control and balanced calorie intake.
Our body temperature is usually warmer in the late afternoon, meaning afternoon workouts may support muscle-building more than morning and evening exercise. A 2021 study found that afternoon exercise may lead to more profound metabolic adaptations in metabolically compromised individuals. Researchers uncovered that afternoon workouts helped to improve insulin sensitivity more than morning workouts, and insulin resistance is a cardinal feature of metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, some people turn to an afternoon workout for its stress-relieving properties. Long day at work? Cardio exercises or lifting weights might be just what you need to clear your mind. And by exercising several hours before bedtime, your sweat session is less likely to disrupt sleep patterns.
Remember that 2022 study we mentioned before? While it showed women tend to burn more fat when exercising in the morning, it found that men experience higher fat oxidation when exercising at night.
Additionally, men who participated in evening exercise time experienced lower systolic blood pressure and fatigue. Evening exercise still benefitted women, however, because it was linked to improved upper body strength, power, endurance, and overall mood.
Another study examined the effects of morning and evening workouts on glycemic control and serum metabolites. The study followed 25 participants as they consumed high-fat diets and exercised at consistent times. Researchers discovered that those who exercised in the evening saw improvements in glycemic control and a reversal of their diet-induced changes.
Things You Need To Pay Attention To Lose Weight
The most important thing to recall is that losing weight requires consistency in physical activity and nutrition. No matter what time of day you schedule your exercise. However, you can’t outrun or outlift bad dietary habits. Thus, consistency in a healthy diet is just as crucial an ingredient to health as consistency in exercise.
Ensure you’re fueling your body well and meeting your nutritional needs regularly. Of course, we must create a calorie deficit to experience weight loss, but we should try to avoid over-restricting calories. Our muscular performance and metabolism will suffer without enough energy in our system.
Additionally, your body clock, sleep, and hormone levels play significant roles in successful weight management. Adequate sleep is critical to your body clock. Research has shown that evening exercise doesn’t disrupt sleep but can help improve sleep efficiency. Your evening workout might even help you fall asleep faster if finished more than an hour before bedtime. So don’t let your exercise performance suffer because you’re missing out on your zzzs.
Staying physically active does more than just burn calories. It offers many other benefits beyond weight loss. For example, consistent exercising can improve metabolism, boost your overall mood, build lower and upper body strength, and support your sleep hygiene. So, when is the best time to have a workout to lose weight?
While research points to different benefits or better performance at certain times throughout the day, the optimal exercise timing to hit the gym is a personal decision. Find a consistent time to consistently exercise that fits your busy schedule, and keep yourself accountable to your goals. When exercising empowers you, it can bring greater health benefits overall. Whether choosing morning, afternoon, or evening, exercising at all is the key concept.
Consider meeting with your doctor to design a workout schedule that fits your health status. Not sure where to start in the gym? A certified personal trainer can help you navigate all that the gym has to offer so you can maximize your workouts and reach your weight loss goals.
+ 9 sources
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- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. [online] health.gov. Available at: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf.
- Arciero, P.J., Ives, S.J., Mohr, A.E., Robinson, N., Escudero, D., Robinson, J., Rose, K., Minicucci, O., O’Brien, G., Curran, K., Miller, V.J., He, F., Norton, C., Paul, M., Sheridan, C., Beard, S., Centore, J., Dudar, M., Ehnstrom, K. and Hoyte, D. (2022). Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men. Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 13. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.893783.
- Rothschild, J.A., Kilding, A.E. and Plews, D.J. (2020). What Should I Eat before Exercise? Pre-Exercise Nutrition and the Response to Endurance Exercise: Current Prospective and Future Directions. Nutrients, [online] 12(11), p.3473. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113473.
- NHLBI, NIH. (2022). What Is Metabolic Syndrome? [online] Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/metabolic-syndrome
- Mancilla, R., Brouwers, B., Schrauwen‐Hinderling, V.B., Hesselink, M.K.C., Hoeks, J. and Schrauwen, P. (2020). Exercise training elicits superior metabolic effects when performed in the afternoon compared to morning in metabolically compromised humans. Physiological Reports, [online] 8(24). doi:https://doi.org/10.14814/phy2.14669.
- Childs, E. and Harriet de Wit (2014). Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 5. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2014.00161.
- Moholdt, T., Parr, E.B., Devlin, B.L., Debik, J., Giskeødegård, G. and Hawley, J.A. (2021). The effect of morning vs evening exercise training on glycaemic control and serum metabolites in overweight/obese men: a randomised trial. Diabetologia, [online] 64(9), pp.2061–2076. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-021-05477-5.
- Renoir, T., Hasebe, K. and Gray, L. (2013). Mind and body: how the health of the body impacts on neuropsychiatry. Frontiers in Pharmacology, [online] 4. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2013.00158.
- Stutz, J., Eiholzer, R. and Spengler, C.M. (2018). Effects of Evening Exercise on Sleep in Healthy Participants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, [online] 49(2), pp.269–287. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-1015-0.