So, you’re an early bird. You get up before the milkman, because it’s the best time of the day – the air is crisp, the birds are tweeting (no, not that kind of tweet…) and you kick off your day with an amazing workout. Hang on a second…that’s not you. You’re a night owl. You come to life as the day goes on, and that means working out in the late afternoon or evening, when all the woes of the day can be pushed aside and you can make them gains! Which one are you? And which one is best for exercise benefits? How does the time of day you workout matter so much, and why does the effect vary SO much? OK, this is the bit where you’re waiting to read the answer – the silver bullet that means you’ll know exactly the right thing to do, so you can put a big tick in the awesome box… Well, sorry, it ain’t coming. Or at least not yet… There are countless research studies telling us the advantages of exercise in the morning AND in the evening. Here’s just a few of the hottest tips and facts that might sway you to becoming a sun-riser, or a sun-downer:

  • You’re at your physical peak between 2pm and 6pm, when your body temperature and blood pressure are optimised, so schedule your workout for then!
  • Your learning, memory, and processing parts of the brain are turbo-charged after a workout, so an early morning blast will set you up for the day ahead!
  • Exercise stimulates your ‘happy hormone’, serotonin, which helps kick the backside of cortisol, your stress hormone. An after-work workout will help keep your angst at bay after a long day in front of the laptop!
  • Working out first thing will likely coincide with an empty stomach, which means your body accesses stored fats quicker for that longer-burning, lean-machine affect – result!
  • Doing an intense, monster workout in the evening, can actually help you sleep, during which your body gets even more human growth hormone (HGH) working on all your damaged cells, so you wake up a super hero!
  • Your appetite control is improved after exercise, so hit the gym in the morning and kick the cravings into touch for the rest of the day!

So…that’s cleared things right up…not. For every factor that persuades you to get up and at ‘em, there’s one that says “Hit the snooze button, you should exercise later”. Typical. Brain function, physical performance, hormone levels, appetite impact – they’re all really important to us, so would someone please just tell us when we should workout!? The answer is, whenever YOU want to, and whenever YOU can. At risk of stating the obvious, the only bad workout is the one that doesn’t happen, so even if you know you love your morning workouts, but that breakfast Zoom meeting is a roadblock you can’t budge, do it later. You’ll still feel all the benefits, but maybe – just on that day – they won’t be quite as tip-top as normal. At Retrofit, we get that you’re all different – and that’s why we love you! We also get that your lives aren’t predictable, so that’s why our club opening times and timetabled classes are spread throughout the day. We flex, with you. More important than the after-effects of exercise, is your commitment to doing the exercise in the first place. You know you’ve gotta be organised, have a support network, reward yourself, measure your achievements and all the other factors that mean you can develop a habit. And it’s this habit that will have the biggest impact on your life. There, finally, an answer