Is there something as the ‘best time’ to exercise and does it really make a difference with your fitness level, weight loss and muscle mass? It could be any time of day like 6am or 6pm but daily exercise  will keep you healthy and fit.

However everyone has their various premises and preferences on what would be the best time of day to work out; it all depends on why you are working

It is important to know your fitness goals as it will help you along, below are the best times to work out.

Weight Loss: Morning/Evening Workout

This is a tricky one as when it comes to shedding those kilos; it’s a tie between morning and evening workouts. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, found that going on evening walks led to women losing more weight and fat mass than women who went on morning walks.

As evening walks were also found to change dietary habits; by eating more in the morning and having a hearty breakfast it can reduce the likelihood of obesity, keep blood sugar levels at a constant and serves as an appetite suppressant later on in the day.

Conversely, another study conducted in 2010 and published in the Journal of Physiology differs as it found that those who exercised before breakfast helped dieters achieve better results when it came to weight loss.


“Body burns a greater percentage of fat for energy during exercise rather than depending on carbs from food. Morning workouts prime the body for an all-day fat burn.”

Keep in mind, that to lose weight it boils down to when you have the most free time and commitment to a regular workout.

Boost Muscle Strength: Evening Workout

A rule-of-thumb is that muscle strength tends to be at its lowest in the morning, and then increases gradually until it reaches peak levels in the early evening.”

A study conducted in 1998, published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise looked at how the times of day affect muscular performance in a unit of untrained men; all in their early 20s.

These men performed a series of strength tests at various times-( 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm) They found that muscle strength was greater in the evening, however only during exercises that incorporated faster movements.

Meaning that, muscle strength varied with the time of day and on the speed of the workout.

Boost Muscle Size: Evening Workout

Many fitness fanatics all want to know one thing; whether an evening or morning workout will help them gain more muscle and lose fat faster.

A 2009 study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that there are significant gains in muscle size when trainers worked out during the evening.

The study?

“A group of young men were trained between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the first 10 weeks of the study. Then, for the next 10 weeks, the men were divided into two groups: a morning group (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and an afternoon group (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

The researchers found all men gained size and strength, but the afternoon group gained an average of 3.5 percent more, compared to 2.7 percent more in the morning group,” said Medical Daily.

Coined as ‘temporal specificity’- in laymen’s terms if you are consistently training in the evening, it will improve your muscle strength in the evening.

Boost Work Performance: Afternoon Workout

Suffering from an afternoon slump? Try working out in the afternoon as a 2009 study, published in the journal Chronobiology International found that it will boost your work performance.

According to Medical Daily, “Exercises delivered more of an energy boost to cyclists who worked out at 6 p.m. rather than 6 a.m. The afternoon is better for high-intensity exercises, such as swimming, running, or biking, rather than walking.”

As your body hits core temperature in the afternoon, your muscles and joints are readier for exercise as well as a lower risk of getting injured.

Improve Sleep and Reduce Stress: Morning Workout

Want to get some quality shut-eye? Set your alarm clock for early morning workouts as it could give you a good night’s rest and reduce your stress levels.

This study was conducted in 2011 and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Researchers monitored blood pressure levels and sleep patterns in participants aged 40-60.

“Each participant exercised moderately by walking on a treadmill at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. for 30 minutes three times a week.

The researchers found that all of the participants who exercised at 7 a.m. experienced an overall 10 percent reduction in blood pressure and a 25 percent drop in blood pressure at night.”

Working out in the morning also gave volunteers longer hours of sleep and they experienced deeper sleep cycles when compared to exercising at other times of the day; with 75 percent had more time in the deep sleep stage at night.

They also saw increased levels of cardiovascular health but it also lowered their stress and anxiety; all thanks to a good night’s rest.

Not forgetting that it also gives the body more time to recuperate. However, regardless of the time of day that you workout, one thing is vital and that is consistency.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses that 150 minutes of regular exercise per week is vital; be it moderate to intensity aerobic activity.

Go ahead and work out, as it seems that anytime of the day comes with its own benefits. It’s just about your specific fitness goals.


Sources: Medical Daily, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Chronobiology International,the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness,

Alice Paulse