The best time to hit your main workout of the day is whenever you have the time for it and will stick to it, as long as you don’t do it too close to bedtime and interfere with your sleep.
That being said, many people find there are advantages to getting it done first thing in the morning before
the day can get away from you. It gives you an energetic wake-up that sends you sailing through the rest of your day.
- Using your cortisol for good — Your body naturally produces more cortisol in the morning. Yes, that’s the stress hormone that many of us want to avoid like the plague, but it’s also the one that gets you rising and shining with the sun, so you’re more likely to be more alert and ready to tackle the challenges you should be setting for yourself than in the evening.
- Elevating your mood — You’ll probably be happier throughout the day because your endorphin levels will be sent to the stratosphere as you pump your arms, legs and heart. The high spirits and excitement will be great for elevating your mood and performance for the rest of the day.
- Setting a good example — Working out first thing gives you extra motivation not to undo all the good you did for yourself with bad habits later in the day. It’s another reason to be careful about what you do and don’t eat, to not be too sedentary and to commit to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Forming a habit — It’s not only harder to get distracted from your workout routine early in the morning, it’s also the time of day tied to most of your other routines — we usually wake around the same time, have the same breakfast, bathe, etc., so pinning your exercise to the morning can help keep you on track.
- Sleeping more soundly — Getting moving in the morning eliminates the risk of all that cortisol and energy building up in the evening and interfering with your slumber, but many experts recommend ending your high-intensity activity 90 minutes before going to bed, which allows plenty of time to exercise in the afternoon or early evening.