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This is the superior time of day to work out

The best time to workout is really whenever you can grab time, experts say.

It’s well known that some people are morning larks while others relish their role as moon-seeking night owls. Everyone has their own pattern. This being said, balancing your day in a way that best suits your circadian rhythms can potentially help optimize your health. For example, many people who like to stay active find there’s a time of day they like to work out and other times that don’t really suit them. If you’re a night owl, you might find that waking up for a 5AM workout isn’t your thing. 

Is there a time to work out, however, that’s truly best? Here’s what science says. 

Exercising in the morning may help you burn more fat

Exercising in the morning on an empty stomach is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. According to, Anthony Hackney, a professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, this is when your hormones are set up to do this. Your body is primed for fat metabolism at this time. 

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If you want to feel more alert in the morning, exercising early can also help. It can shift your body clock earlier. Getting active in the morning can also help reduce your stress levels throughout the day and prime you for better mental productivity.  

All of this being said, some people may find that exercising in the morning makes them extra sleepy come afternoon. It can also make you more hungry and if you don’t have adequate post-exercise fuel to consume, and this can lead to lower energy levels before lunch. It’s all about balance. 

Exercising in the afternoon can also be beneficial

Research shows that exercising between 1 and 4 pm can also help shift your body clock to earlier sleep times. It’s also been found that your body may naturally burn more calories in the afternoon and so, by getting active during this time, you can potentially burn extra calories, if that’s your goal. It’s also been found that your body may produce more testosterone in the afternoon and thus, working out in the afternoon could potentially lead to better muscle gain and strength. 

Do you prefer exercising in the evening? If it works for you and doesn’t perk you up so much that you can’t wind down to get to sleep, no harm done. Light exercise like yoga can actually help you sleep better.

The takeaway? If working out in the morning suits you, this may be best. But everyone is different and the human body is complex. It could be that later-day workouts are better for you. Do what works for your schedule and allows you to get the best night’s sleep possible. Some say that exercising at 7 a.m or later between 1 and 4pm is best but it’s up to you. Ultimately, you want to get some exercise in and wherever you can fit it in is truly optimal.

photo credits: mimagephotography/


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