One of the most common questions that comes up when discussing workout practices has to do with timing: Are morning workouts better than afternoon or evening sessions?
At first, it seems like it might not even matter. After all, a workout is a workout, right? Also... mornings are hard.
As it turns out, though, there are some pretty solid reasons to consider working out in the mornings.
First thing in the morning – usually within the first two hours of waking up – some pretty key hormones are at their daily peak. Specifically, we're talking about testosterone, growth hormone (GH) and cortisol.
Testosterone and GH are pretty common topics in the health and fitness world for pretty obvious reasons: they provide energy, increase athletic performance and encourage muscular development.
Scheduling your workouts at a time when these hormones are at their highest levels, then, just makes sense.
But, what about cortisol? Usually known as “the stress hormone” people typically take a pretty negative view of this particular hormone. Which is unfortunate because the truth is that, when it is circulating at healthy levels, cortisol actually stimulates a reduction in belly fat.
It's not until cortisol levels get too high, through chronic stress, that the hormone causes you to gain weight. And, would you like you guess when cortisol levels are hovering in that sweet, fat burning spot? Within the first two hours after you wake up.
Easier to Prioritize and Plan
Another reason to consider exercising in the more has to do with time-management.
Generally, people find it much easier to plan their workouts for the early morning since the other demands of the day haven't crowded in on them yet. At this point, you can focus on your workout, get it out of the way and move on.
However, exercising in the morning also means that – if you work out at a gym – you likely will have much less competition when it comes to equipment.
And, if you're looking to cram in some supersets and other high-volume training techniques, an empty gym will make things much easier for you.
Many people also feel strongly that exercising early in the morning helps them to have more mental energy and focus throughout the day. This is entirely anecdotal, however.
Still, it makes sense. Getting up and destroying your workout before you do anything else does logically seem like it would be a pretty empowering way to start your day.
However, there is one major downside to morning workouts:
They're in the morning. For some people, that might be enough to keep them away from the gym until later on.
Of course, the issue might also be beyond your control; you might simply not be able to get to the gym in the morning. And, in reality, the performance-enhancements and other benefits associated with morning workouts are relatively small and will likely go unnoticed by most people.
The best time to work out, then, is when you work out. Whenever you decide to workout, making sure you have the protein your muscles need is crucial. You can see all of Naked Nutrition's protein powders here.