The answer to this question depends on what goals you pursue when doing sports. Do you want to build muscle mass? Do you intend to lose weight? Or maybe you train to sleep peacefully? Before reading further, give yourself an answer to this question.
Lose weight: morning and evening workouts
When it comes to sports for the sake of losing weight, when choosing between morning and evening workouts, you need to take into account, first of all, your age.
In 2010, a study was published in one of the American journals devoted to sports medicine. According to him, evening sports more than morning, contributed to the loss of weight and fat mass of postmenopausal women. It also turned out that evening workouts change eating habits: women began to eat more at breakfast. And you probably know that if you do not neglect breakfast in the morning, it reduces the likelihood of obesity, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and even suppresses appetite later in the day.
At the same time, a study from the same 2010, but already published in the Journal of Physiology, proved that classes before breakfast help to achieve greater weight loss, since energy for training arises from burning a large amount of fat accumulated by the body, and not from carbohydrates eaten at breakfast. In addition, in this work it was proved that for losing weight, training on an empty stomach is more beneficial than exercising after eating: it charges the body with energy and improves glucose tolerance against a background of a diet rich in fats. Morning workouts seem to program the body to burn fat throughout the next day.
So, if you are engaged in order to lose weight, the choice of time of classes is entirely up to you. The main thing is that then you can provide yourself with regular workouts at your chosen time of day.
Increase Muscle Strength: Evening workouts
It has been proven that muscle strength is at a minimum level in the morning, and then gradually increases, reaching its peak value in the early evening.
An article published in 1998 in the American Medical Journal investigated how the time of day affected muscle efficiency in a group of untrained men aged about 20 years. The men performed a series of muscle strength exercises at different times of the day: 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 16 p.m. and 20 p.m. The result was as follows: the muscles worked better in the morning only in those exercises that included fast, rapid movements. In other words, the maximum muscle strength varies depending on the time of day and depends on the speed at which your workout takes place.
Increase muscle volume: Evening workout
Fitness fans are constantly tormented by the question of when it is better to practice in order to quickly build muscle mass and get rid of the hated fat. The answer is found! A study by American scientists published in 2009 proved that evening classes contribute to this.
Scientists observed a group of young people who were engaged in sports for 10 weeks with a period from 17 to 19 hours. Then the amateur athletes were divided into 2 groups. And over the next 10 weeks, one group changed their schedule and began to train in the morning — from 7 to 9 in the morning. And the second part continued sports at the same hours as before — from 17 to 19 hours. The good news is that the researchers found that eventually all men from both groups increased the strength and volume of their muscles. However, the devil, as usual, lies in the details: the evening group received an average increase of 3.5%, while the morning group increased their muscles by an average of 2.7%.
The fact that in the morning there is also an increase in muscle mass, although not as intense as in the evening, scientists explain by a recently discovered phenomenon called «temporal specificity». This phenomenon has been confirmed by repeated experiments: with regular training at the same time, your body makes certain settings that allow you to develop the maximum possible productivity of physical activity at this time.
From this, it was concluded that regular evening workouts combine both phenomena — maximum muscle strength and endurance in the early evening, plus a temporary adjustment to training at this time. And this allows you to achieve the best result for those who do sports for the sake of building muscle mass.
Improve performance: training in the afternoon
To improve your productivity, especially if you often experience a decline in strength in the afternoon, work out at noon. A 2009 study shows that classes deliver more energy to those cyclists who pedal, for example, at 6 pm, and not at 6 am. So the middle of the day is better suited not for walking or hiking, but for high-intensity workouts such as running, swimming or cycling. This is partly due to the fact that the body temperature is higher during the day — which means that the muscles and joints are already stretched and better ready for training, and thus there is less risk of injury during the day.
Improve sleep and reduce stress: Morning workouts
Paradoxically, setting an alarm clock in the early morning for the sake of training can improve night sleep, as well as reduce stress. In 2011, American scientists tracked the blood pressure level of amateur athletes aged 40-60 years. Each participant worked out on the treadmill at a moderate pace for 30 minutes three times a week — at 7 am, 1 pm and 7 pm. As a result, it was found that participants who were engaged at 7 am, on average, had a 10% decrease in blood pressure and a 25% drop in blood pressure at night.
Morning workouts also improved sleep quality: unlike those who practiced at other times of the day, these volunteers slept longer during the night and fell deeper into sleep. In general, the morning group spent 75% more time at night in the deep sleep stage. Early risers not only improved their cardiovascular health, but also reduced their anxiety and stress thanks to sound sleep. Because the more time the body spends in deep sleep, the more time it has to recover.