If you can make it work, the benefits are clear.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
I will start this article by saying I KNOW that this is pretty difficult for most people due to work schedules and various commitments with kids and other things, so all of those individuals that want to read this and point that out to me, there’s no need.
I definitely get that and if there is no way for you to work out twice a day, then I am not telling you that you should re-arrange your entire life to do so. The best time to work out is really whenever you can, as doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
However, I do feel like because of the pandemic, more people should be able to do this than ever before due to the increased flexibility that companies are now allowing to their employees based on how COVID has changed everything.
For that reason, more companies seem to understand that it’s not where and even when you do the work, as long as it gets done.
This is what happened to me in regards to how I stumbled upon this phenomenon.
Since I was pretty much confined to my home for the first six months of COVID when the world was trying to figure everything out, I had to figure out a new workout plan.
Since the gym was no longer an option, I stumbled upon calisthenics and put together a routine that allowed me to do 30 minutes of calisthenics in the morning for strength building and 30 minutes in the afternoon for skill-building.
What I discovered over time was that this workout schedule worked much better for my overall lifestyle for a number of reasons.
It got me going in the morning
I’ve been working out first thing in the morning for about as long as I can remember.
I’ve done it for so long because it’s just a tremendous way to kick start your day and ensure that your metabolism is ready to work at a very high level from the outset.
When you work out in the morning, it tends to wake you up, as your body gets a boost of energy from the oxygen and nutrients that travel to your heart and lungs as you exercise.
A study by the British Medicine Journal showed participants who did 30 minutes of morning exercise performed much better on cognitive tests, as well as demonstrated improved attention, visual learning, and decision-making.
There’s also the added bonus of being able to work out without any distractions, as there is much less activity at that time of the day with so many people choosing to sleep in instead.
For those who have kids, this is almost a no-brainer to get this out of the way first thing in the morning and have one less thing to think about as the day goes on.
It kept me focused to finish the day strong
Now, on the flip side of this, when you work out in the afternoon, it allows you to somewhat “wash” off all the negative aspects of the day that may have frustrated you or gave you room to pause.
Working out allows you to work off much of that steam before it leads to anything that could be a major issue, as releasing stress is an important benefit of exercise and getting it out of your system before you sit down to rest and relax for the night should allow you to do it much easier.
Some of the other natural benefits of working out in the afternoon are that it could allow you to sleep better at night by regulating your circadian rhythm (as long as it’s not too late), train harder because your glucose levels tend to be higher in the afternoon, and just overall give you a little jolt of energy to finish the day with more fervor instead of fatigue.
However, the main reason I subscribe to the evening workout schedule is that it keeps me focused on not doing anything between lunch and that time that could ruin my focus and hinder my workout.
In the past when I only worked out in the morning, I would pat myself on the back and anything that came my way during the evening that I wanted to do, I would typically just do it.
This often turned into afternoon happy hours or eating the rest of the office sweets that someone decided to bring that morning as my afternoon snack.
Now, knowing that I have an evening workout coming up at the end of the day, I have the strength and the discipline to refuse those things because I don’t want my workout to be harder than it needs to be.
Even if you don’t practice alcohol consciousness as I do, this could still allow you to go to happy hours with your friends and decide to not drink so you can make sure you are at your optimal self when working out a few hours later.
Having that carrot at the end of the day can be a strong motivator to make positive decisions, so you will ensure you get the most benefit across the board from that evening workout.
It seemed to keep my metabolism burning fat at a constant clip
It is pretty well known that working out in the morning keeps the body burning fat through the rest of the day.
Due to naturally having elevated levels of cortisol and growth hormone in the morning, your body will draw more energy from your fat reserves that will help with weight loss.
However, various studies show your body will get a kick start to its metabolism regardless of what time of day you exercise. It could be for as short as 15 minutes or as long as 48 hours.
For this reason, there appear to be benefits to both working out in the morning AND in the evening to keep your metabolic burn rate steady throughout the day to maximize how many calories you burn.
By bookending your day with two 30 minute workouts instead of just one 60 minute workout in the morning or afternoon, you are increasing the chances that your body will respond positively by keeping your metabolic rate consistently high throughout the day and at night when you lay down to sleep.
By keeping this consistent schedule, it increases the chances the body will continually adapt to make a higher metabolic rate your baseline for burning calories all day and night.
To make sure that you maximize each of these workouts and push your metabolic burn rate to its highest degree, you should do a combination of both weight lifting and HIIT training whenever possible to create the optimal environment for calorie burning throughout the day.
And while the question of morning versus afternoon has been debated by some, as shared in the intro the truth remains that whatever time works best for your schedule to actually allow you to do it consistently and stay committed IS the best time.
However, if there is any way that you could squeeze in both, the benefits are many and that would be even “bester.”