Ali or Tyson? Ruth or Mays? LeBron or Jordan? …
Working out in the morning or afternoon? Some debates are truly timeless.
While we’ll let you go 12 rounds with a friend over those first few, we did want to touch on the last one. You see, the morning-or-afternoon battle royale has been going on for quite some time, and while the neutral route that any time to work out is a good time is accurate. It’s not nearly as much fun, and you may be missing out on some valuable information that can not only help your argument but also help your health goals.
So, here’s a take-of-the-tape look at the pros and cons of both sides to help you in your debate.
- Improved mental focus and performance: Even a short, moderate workout in the morning has been shown to promote brain cell growth, especially in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory
- Improved sleep: Studies have found morning workouts help you fall asleep faster and get better sleep
- Improved fat burning: With nothing in your stomach, your body will have to use fat as fuel during your workout, burning double the amount
- Reduced sleep: While you may sleep better, if you need to get up earlier to fit a workout into your schedule, you could be robbing yourself of some important sleep
- Potentially worse performance: With nothing in the belly and your body needing more time to warm up and get flexible, morning workouts are often not when you’re going to perform your best
- Improved performance: You’ll often see better lifting capacity in the evening, with studies showing it can take as much as 20% longer to reach exhaustion
- Build more muscle: Not only can you lift longer, but with testosterone levels building all day, you’ll even build more muscle from each lift.
- Faster warmup: Even if you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re body will still be warmed up and more flexible in the evening than morning, which can reduce the chances of injury
- Can negatively impact sleep: After a hard workout, many find their body is too “awake” to get to sleep even hours after the workout
- Schedule conflicts: You’re rarely going to hurt your social calendar with a morning workout, but trying to fit in an evening workout around plans with friends or the sporting event you want to watch can cause issues
So, there you have it. Pros and cons for both. Which is better? That’s up to you, as some debates are truly timeless and may never be settled … though let’s be honest, it’s Jordan.