What is the best time of day for working out?

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working out in the morningSeriously, I don’t know why this question gets asked so much. There is really no cut-and-dried answer, nor a single solution for all people. The time of day you work out has more to do with your personal schedule than it does with workout type or effectiveness. It’s really up to you to decide when you will be most effective at your workout, rather than your workout being effective for you at any given time of day.

Back when I was in Iraq, we used to do cardio in the early morning and strength training before lunch. That was before I started using bodyweight exercise as a workout staple. Now, I prefer to do it all before breakfast, the baby wakes up and I have to start work. I find that it gives me more energy throughout the day and improves my mental focus, especially in the early afternoon right after lunch. I really tend to fade at that time. But, I’m a morning person and getting an early start on the day makes me happy.


Some things to think about when choosing your preferred work out times. First, don’t do strength training that requires focus when you are tired either mentally or physically. Your form and thus workout will suffer for it. If you’re in a stressful job, do your cardio in the evenings after work to get the benefit of exercise’s stress relief factors.

The best thing about an early morning workout, is I can do it at home, in my living room. No trip to the gym, or any hassles. Simply do my exercises, shower and start the day. I can usually be finished with the hard parts before the coffee pot is finished (mine’s kinda slow).

Early Morning Workout Plans


Exercising at home early in the morning not only gets your workout out of the way before the kids and neighbors wake up, the phone starts ringing and you risk being late to work, but they also set the tone for the day. However, if early in the morning is the time you usually head to bed, morning routines might not be the best for you.

Benefits of Early Morning Workouts at Home

Exercising in the morning at home eliminates the need to fight for machines and space as you would in a gym, especially in the evenings. Your mental focus is higher in the mornings too, before the stress of the day wears you out. Trying to exercise after a work day is difficult because most of your energy is gone. Another benefit to using early morning routines is that you won’t risk missing a workout if you end up staying late at work, going out to socialize or from getting stuck in traffic. Plus, an early morning workout will help you start your day energized and you won’t have to worry about a late night energy boost from an evening workout making it harder for you to fall asleep.


Getting a good night’s sleep increases the chances of getting a good workout. Your focus and energy levels are too low to get your best workout when you are tired, either from lack of sleep or because you haven’t completely woken up yet. A morning workout doesn’t mean pumping iron the second you roll out of bed, unless you are one of those people who wakes up completely alert. Start your workouts after you are fully awake so you can focus completely on what you are doing.

Home Strength Training Plan

Early morning workout routines can serve two basic purposes: strength-training and cardio-training. Cardio training is easier to do at home because almost anything that gets your heart rate up counts as cardio, whereas most people use equipment for strength-training. You don’t need equipment, though, and other people in your home or the person in the apartment below you will appreciate not hearing dumbbells hit the floor or weight stacks clang early in the morning. An example of a strength workout includes side bridges with abduction, single-leg squat touchdowns, bent-knee pushups, opposite arm and leg raises, windshield wipers and supine rows. Start with two sets of eight to 12 reps per exercise. Work up to three sets.

Home Cardio Workout Plan

You don’t need to buy expensive cardio machines for your home to get a cardio workout in the morning. Most machines are somewhat noisy anyway. Exercising without them is quieter and just as easy. An example of a cardio workout you can do in the morning begins with a three- to five-minute warm-up to warm up your body and get your blood flowing after a night in bed. Warm up by marching in place. Then alternate between 30 to 60 seconds of high-intensity moves like jumping jacks, lunges or squat jumps and 60 seconds of recovery from jogging or marching in place. Finish the work by slowly walking in place for two minutes. Complete the workout in 20 to 30 minutes.

About This Author

Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.



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