Early Riser or Night Owl: Which Kind of Exerciser are You?

Everyone has their own fitness regime; some people are up and running by 5.30am while others prefer to end their day that way. But which time of day is best for weight loss and general fitness? Let’s break it down by pros and cons, so you can see which time of day is best for you.


1. Early risers: Some people say they’re “morning people” but it’s difficult to stretch your brain around that concept. Getting up in time for work is often a struggle for most of us; rising an hour earlier? For exercise?! Surely that’s impossible. Once you do drag yourself out of bed, you then have another hurdle to overcome; exercising on a totally empty stomach. Still there is a reason why people do their workout first thing in the morning, so let’s investigate a few pros and cons of morning exercise before we write it off altogether.


The pros include:

  • Your metabolism will be off to a flying start for burning extra calories all day long.
  • Your depleted glycogen stores will encourage your body to burn more fat for energy.
  • Your endorphin boost will help to stimulate you and cheer you up for the whole day.
  • The lack of distractions or hot weather in the morning will help you to focus on your workout.
  • You actually create time for exercise, instead of leaving it for later.
  • You’ll have more energy and mental power throughout the day.
  • There will be less air pollution in the morning.
  • You won’t have to wait for gym equipment.


Aside from the cons already mentioned, morning exercise can also:

  • Force you to exercise when you’re energy levels are low.
  • Cause injuries because you’re working out with cold, stiff muscles.
  • Use muscle as a fuel source because you haven’t eaten.
  • Increase your risk for a heart attack, as research suggests.


2. Afternoon Delight: According to research, the afternoon is, from a physiological perspective, the ideal time to exercise. However, there are still pros and cons to consider. Let’s start on a positive note with the pros:


  • Your body temperature, muscles and circadian rhythms are at their optimum at this time, which will enhance your performance.
  • You’re less likely to be injured as your muscles are warm and you’re more alert.
  • You can work off the stress that your body has accumulated during the day.
  • You’re less likely to perceive exercise as difficult, according to research.
  • It’s more convenient to workout on your lunch break or find a fitness buddy.
  • You’re less likely to overeat at lunch and dinner, which will help your weight loss wellness.


Afternoon exercise cons include:

  • The time limits of your daily routine may not allow for a full workout.
  • Distractions and other commitments get in the way of you exercising at all.
  • If working out at noon, this is when your lung function is at its worst, which could threaten your wellbeing if you’re doing hardcore aerobic exercises.
  • The gym will be packed after work, so you may have to wait for equipment and there may be a 20-minute time limit once you get it.


3. Night Owls: You may not want to spent your peak telly time on the treadmill or hitting the pavement, but some research studies have shown that your lung function, body rhythms, temperature and hormone levels are at their best for exercise around 6pm. Yet, as with any time of day, there are pros and cons.


Pros include:

  • Warm and flexible muscles.
  • Regulation of how much you eat for dinner
  • Fewer distractions than in the afternoon.
  • Fewer people around in the gym.
  • A great way to turn your brain off after a long stressful day.
  • Relaxation and a better night’s sleep.


However, consider the cons:

  • The evening is when social events often happen.
  • If the exercise energises you it may make sleeping more difficult.
  • The night is more dangerous than exercising outdoors during daylight hours.
  • You won’t enjoy the “after-burn” effect as your metabolism drops when you sleep.

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