What Time of the Day Should I Work Out? 🏋️

Early birds hitting the gym at 6am versus strong minded people crushing a heavy session after work… Every one has a different lifestyle and work out at a different time of the day.

I myself am a morning gym junkie, and everytime I have no choice than training at night, it represents a massive mental challenge to me. On the other hand, my brother, hits the gym every night at 8 p.m after a long shift, and would feel sick if he had to workout in the morning.

While your workout time is a matter of convenience and made out of habit, it might be useful to know at what time your body responds the best to training.

Working out in the morning

On the logistical level, working out in the morning presents many pros.
Giving you more free time at night, to cook diner, chill or catch up and enjoy some time with your loved ones.

But it also has a big positive influence on the body and mind. Ticking off your training from the list when you didn’t even start your day, is a very powerful mood boster. After your brain has secreted endorphins to inhibit pain while sweating, you will still benefit from their “feel good” effects when you move on to the next step of your day.

Getting it done before work will leave you with a massive accomplishment feeling. Not many people are able to say they already crushed a workout when it’s only 9 a.m, and that would give a big boost to your ego.

Furthermore, studies have shown the positive sleep effects of training early on. People working out in the morning have a better sleep quality than the ones training in the afternoon or night. (The morning group of people invoked a greater dip in nocturnal systolic blood pressure and a greater time spent in deep sleep).

Working out fasted

Intermittent fasting is everywhere and many people working out on an empty stomach report getting full benefit from it.

Is fasted training good or bad?

For muscle gain

A very common argument is that training without fueling your body will induce muscle breakdown.

However, specific research shows that training on an empty stomach does not create muscle loss. Actually, you can even fast for a few days without having any change on your muscle mass.

The fasting-induce spikes in Growth Hormone (GH) protects the muscle from breaking down. And since GH highly stimulates muscle growth, you’ll be setting your muscle gains in a good standing.

Because fasted training increases the anabolic response, your body will be more efficient to use protein, thus to grow your muscles bigger and stronger.

For performance

You will inevitably perform better if you’ve eaten something prior your workout.

In a non-competitive training practice, let’s look at at it from another angle. If fasted training becomes your new normality, then think about how you’ll perform the day you’ll be training fed: you’d perform better as you’d feel stronger. So this could be a very interesting strategy on the journey of getting fitter and better.

Working out in the afternoon

While morning work outs clearly appear to be ideal, working out between 2 p.m and 6 p.m might also be very beneficial, to your performance.

Your body reaches its highest temperature between those times. This would mean that you’d be training at a time where your body is the most ready to sweat.

The late afternoon is also when your blood pressure and heart rate are naturally at the lowest, reducing the risk of injuries while improving performances.

Working out at night

High chances are you’ve already heard about the negative effects night time training has on sleep quality.

But actually, further research needs to be done to consider this statement. It rather seems that our individual chronotype should be the criteria, when about to decide if wether or not we should be training at night.

Research shows that evening exercise may negatively affect sleep quality for early birds, but not for night owls.

BUT, it still appears that people working out 90 minutes or less before bed had bigger difficulties falling asleep and a poorer sleep quality.


There are no right or wrong time of the day to workout, as long as it’s not 90 minutes or less before you go to sleep.

Your training time should depend on whenever it feels the most right to you. And from what training time you recover the most efficiently.

If you have no idea at what time of the day your body responds the best to training, do some experiments. Try to work out in the morning for a week and see how you feel after your workout: pay attention to your feelings related to food, to your sleep quality (if you feel rested or not when getting up), to your mood and your ability to focus. Then switch to an afternoon or evening workout routine for a few days and notice the differences.

Leave a Comment