WHEN should you work out?

A popular question often fretted about is whether one should exercise in the mornings or evenings.

The short answer is that you should exercise whenever your body is ready for it. If you’re feeling exhausted and run down in the mornings, opt for an evening work out if you feel better. I believe in exercising intuitively and not forcing oneself, as this will only result in demotivation, a poor relationship with exercise, and reduced calories burnt during exercise (to elaborate: get to gym, tell yourself it’s only for an hour or two, drag feet to machines, do bare minimums just to get something done, have frequent rests, just because you don’t feel like being there).

My personal preference however, is the morning workout.

Morning workouts:

Pros:

  • Start the day having accomplished something;
  • Body releases endorphins during exercise which will keep you feeling good through the day;
  • Conquer the day with increased mental energy (debatable);
  • If you use a FitBit or Apple Watch, or some other kind of fitness tracker, you will smash your exercise goals before the rooster’s first crow;
  • You’ll probably make healthier food choices afterwards;
  • Great way to destress before work;
  • Coffee. Drinking coffee after 1PM could lead to a poor night’s rest for those of us who are sensitive to caffeine. Fueling a workout with coffee at the top of the morn’ means you can have your caffeine and burn more calories during exercise. Double whoop!
  • You burn more calories throughout the day when you work out in the morning (debatable);
  • The gym will be relatively empty, and squeaky clean. In my humblest (antisocial) opinion this is the biggest perk.

Cons:

  • It’s difficult to make that kind of commitment because life happens;
  • Sometimes you need a few extra z’s;
  • Traffic to work is too unpredictable;
  • Possible tiredness at work;
  • You’ll burn the same amount of calories working out at night;
  • Your gym buddies will be less keen to join you because of their schedules and sleep requirements.

Evening workout:

Pros:

  • Easier to commit to;
  • Results in a healthier attitude towards exercise;
  • Destress after work;
  • Social aspect: you will go to the gym at the same time as your gym buddies;
  • Results in the best night’s sleep you will ever have;
  • You’ll make healthier dinner choices after exercise;
  • Getting home from gym in a great mood;
  • Increased motivation to have a good workout based on the meals you had through the day; your gym buddies’s motivation; and the amount of caffeine consumed through the day;
  • You will be surrounded by fitspo because the gyms are packed

Cons:

  • Sweaty, smelly people;
  • Sweaty machines;
  • Having to wait for machines;
  • That person who tries to strike up a conversation while you are mid-plank;
  • Probably isn’t the best idea to fuel a workout with coffee;
  • Distractions such as post-work dinners; being stuck in traffic; last-minute date; etc.

Takeaway message:

There is no real answer to whether it’s better to exercise in the morning or evening. Exercise is good, regardless of when you get around to it.

x

Rai

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Post-gym snap from this morning. Still uncertain about whether this proves I made it to the gym.