When is the Optimum time of Day to train?

March 12, 2023 4 min read

When is the Optimum time of Day to train?

Exercising - Morning, afternoon, or evening?

Some opt to exercise early, while others favor a midday session; many prefer to go to the gym in the evening to be able to focus and relax.

Have you ever wondered what the most effective time might be to exercise in order to achieve your desired results?

 This question has scientific responses which can be adapted to suit your lifestyle and exercise requirements. Various training objectives necessitate particular times of day for optimum results. Ultimately, exercise timing is contingent upon individual targets and individual predilections, so the key lies in careful consideration of one's own needs.

  •  Mid-afternoon is the optimal time for training to maximize testosterone levels and bodily temperature for muscle-building.
  •  To maximize weight-loss results, early morning is ideal as the cortisol peak (6-7am) and growth hormone (GH) work together to boost lipolysis (fat burning).

 However, this is not an absolute, and it is essential to consider how this relates to your individual lifestyle.

  • Begin the day afresh and invigorated by waking up in the morning.
  •  Afternoon: A mid-day respite is highly valuable, affording an opportunity to review progress and refresh for the remainder of the workday.
  •   Evening: can be beneficial in aiding with the changeover from work to home and eliminating the anxiety accumulated over the course of the day.

 Your muscles being already warmed and pre-activated from the day's activities helps you transition smoothly into your workout, thus aiding your metabolism. Let's dive into the science-backed rationale and dissect the points above with a more analytic tactic.

 Biological Clock ( Circadian Rhythms)

You may be familiar with the term 'biological clock', but you may not be aware that its cycle governs more than just your lifespan - it is also influenced by seasonal, monthly, lunar and daily rhythms, as chronobiology reveals. 

Circadian rhythms and their effect on temperature and testosterone levels are noteworthy.The circadian rhythm - which is 24 hours long and regulates the body's functions according to the hours of the day and night - predicts changes in body temperature and hormone levels throughout the day.

 Body temperature typically derives an early morning minimum and an evening maximum between 5-8 p.m. A higher temperature harnesses a more effective utilization of carbohydrates as an energy source and amplifies muscle contractility without a fever.

 Physiologically, each hormone exhibits a maximum and minimum peak, varying between increasing and decreasing phases. When differentiating catabolic and anabolic hormones, testosterone and GH are particularly notable with regard to muscle development. Catabolism is primarily focused on yielding single substances and supplying energy, while anabolism is dedicated to building.

 Testosterone has demonstrated the ability to induce protein synthesis in the musculature, thus augmenting muscle growth. Physiologically, blood levels of testosterone show:

  •  a peak that reaches its maximum in the early morning hours.
  • experience a daily decrease that progresses steadily.
  • A second surge in the mid-afternoon.
  • a minimum peak around 6 p.m.

The afternoon testosterone peak is less precise; testosterone's rhythm is contingent upon the functioning of other primary metabolic systems.

 In contrast, GH (also known as growth hormone) possesses an anabolic effect, aiding in muscle and bone growth in adults.It is optimal to schedule sleep such that the early hours align with 11pm/12am, when GH secretion -

- which is pulsatile -- is at peak levels and can therefore most effectively augment muscle mass.

  Train and stimulate hormones for optimal results.

It is essential to consider that, while hormones can affect training, exercise can also shape hormone levels. Early stages of a workout promote anabolic hormones while continuing beyond 45/60' heightens the production of catabolic hormones, like cortisol, and adrenaline.

 What time is optimal for exercising?

For increased muscle growth, adjust training to the afternoon if possible to capitalize on rising testosterone, body temperature, and the nocturnal GH surge integral to restful sleep.

 If the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, released during exercise, do not prevent restful sleep and a pre-bedtime routine that allows for an early bedtime, one could also shift their workout to around 7pm to capitalize on the body's highest temperature.

 If, on the other hand, you do not have the opportunity to train right now, don’t despair! You can still get results in terms of muscle mass like that:

  • Perform a warm-up to increase bodily temperature for optimal performance.
  • Do not exceed one hour of training to reduce the release of catabolic hormones.
  • Achieve a restful night's sleep.

 Concluding Thoughts

Make the most of your weight loss goals by exercising in the early morning. Take advantage of the cortisol and GH peaks (6-7am) to increase your lipolytic rate for ideal fat burning. Exercising during the fasted nighttime state further enhances the process of fat mobilization.  

Recognize that no two people are alike due to their distinct genetic makeup and lifestyle choices influencing their metabolic rate. This makes it important to have a personalized routine tailored to you and your body. Ineffective routines could lead to unnecessary strain, reduced lipolysis, and decreased fat burning potential.

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