Timing Matters: When To Work Out

Do you have a set workout routine?

Do you work out every morning before work or every evening after work?

No matter what your current routine – below is some additional information on how to find your optimal workout time…


This Is Bio-Logical…

Ever heard of a ’biological clock’ – it’s not just something that refers to females wanting children.

In fact, scientists reference your biological activity or circadian rhythm as something that has a major impact on your overall health, productivity & – the effectiveness of your workouts.

According to Bayesian Bodybuilding, this circadian or biorhythm can be used to optimise your workouts & increase muscle growth by 84%.


The Basics…

Without looking closely at your own hormones, genes & core body temperature throughout the day you can still go by a typical schedule that will improve performance & efficiency.

There are a couple of things to consider when deciding your optimal workout time:

  • When is your cortisol (stress hormone) at its peak;

This would be between 6am – 12pm (midday).


So, bearing in mind that in order to have a good workout you need adequate amounts of cortisol, this would make a good time.



  • When do you feel most awake, have the energy to get a great workout, while at the same time have the space in your schedule;


For most people the free time to workout will come in the evening between 6-9pm after work


By this time you may have also had time to eat & drink so that you are optimally fueled for the workout.


This time period could work for you for different reasons.


In my opinion it is best to workout before midday.

The reason is that if you follow the natural circadian rhythm of your body, then the most stressful part of your day should come at the beginning, & begin to tail of in the afternoon leading to a relaxing evening.

This is the cycle you want to follow if you want long-term, uninhibited results with your health & performance.



Your Personal Patterns…

The truth is however, you have your own personal pattern that identifies optimal timing even more specifically.

You function best on a precise amount of sleep & better when that sleep is during certain hours.  You have a ‘peak’ awake time & a natural ‘low/tired’ part of your day….

To begin figuring out what yours is, start to keep a journal of how you feel at certain times throughout your day. You can keep this info handy in your phone.

Record when you go to sleep, how long you sleep, what time you get up & when you feel most alert.

You could also record your core temperature & heart rate to see when they peak – this will represent the optimal time of day for you to work out.

You wont have to do this for long until you get a picture of your natural rhythm. 5-7 days should do it.

Once you know how much sleep you need to feel rested, when you feel most up for a workout, when you’re hungry throughout the day, when you’re most focused – you can then plan your day in line with this data.

Things will appear easier as your energy & focus will be aligned with that task.


Bottom Line…

The earlier you workout the better.

The earlier you sleep the better – ever heard the saying ‘that an hour before midnight is worth two hours after?’ This saying has some truth to it.

Late night workouts & falling into bed exhausted is not a healthy way to approach your long-term success.

In my experience this is a fast track to burn out.

Get the intense periods of your day handled as early in your day as possible for you – then go & have restful evenings with good food, low natural lighting, good music & loved ones.


To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Reilly T, Atkinson G, Edward B, Waterhouse J, Farrelly K, Fairhurst E. (2007). Diurnal variation in temperature, mental & physical performance, & tasks specifically related to football (soccer). Chronobiol. Int. 24:507–519.


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