Have you ever wondered what’s the best time to workout, in the morning or afternoon? Well, you already know the answer – a time that is going to consistently work for you. The great thing about a morning workout, however, is that you get to jump start your metabolism. You also get to focus more on your upcoming day knowing you don’t have to think about how and when you’re going to exercise. Another great point is you start your day off more energized and with a better outlook than if you did not exercise. On the flip side, research has shown that your body performs at a higher level during mid-day and late afternoon compared to early mornings. One reason is because your body temperature is at its highest around 4-5 PM and as body core temperature increases, muscles work better.
Dr. David Hill has stated that strength output is 5% higher around mid-day and that anaerobic performance (think sprinting and explosive-type movements) improves by 5% in the late afternoon. Additional research has demonstrated that aerobic capacity is 4% higher in the afternoon as well.
If you choose to exercise in the morning, it’s important to give your body time to wake-up and “turn on” the nervous system and start activating your muscles slowly in order to prepare your body for upcoming activity.
The following is a fast and efficient exercise routine that should be used as a template and adjusted according to individual ability and goals. This should also be tried after your body is sweating from 10-15 minutes of movement prep, light jogging, rowing, biking, jumping rope etc.
- Pull-up x 1-3 repetitions
- T-Push-up x 1-3 reps.
- Prone Plank (abs) x :30 seconds
- DB Squat x 1-3 reps.
- DB Hammer Curl/Squat to Press x 1-3 reps.
*DB = dumbbell
Repeat for 3 sets or circuits. You have the option of simply doing each exercise for only one repetition to get things started and apply that for all 3 sets if you choose. Then repeat the same group of exercises for another 3-5 repetitions for 3 additional sets. Finish with an easy 500 to 1000 meter row or something similar to cool down.
The by-product of this workout is an early boost in regard to your metabolism. To really take advantage of this, drink 16 ounces of water when you first wake up. Research shows this will speed up metabolism by 29% for the next few hours. Eat something light, perform the workout and follow up with a whey protein drink immediately post workout and you’re off to a good morning!
Hill, DW, Cureton, KJ, Collins MA, (1989). Circadian specificity in exercise training, Ergonomics 32(1):79-92.