Ah, yes, the age-old battle between getting up early and sleeping in. After all, we all know that that’s what it comes down to when someone is debating whether or not to get up for a workout. We’ve all been there. We’ve either stayed up a little late on Sunday night, or our sleeping patterns went to overall hell over our weekend/rest period and because of that, we’re on the struggle bus first thing Monday morning when it comes to motivation to do our morning workout.
Awhile back I used to agonize over not being able to get up for a workout in the morning because I was obsessed with optimizing my metabolism as much as possible. I REALLY wanted to lose weight. Now that I’m not really in the weight-loss mindset (no, I didn’t lose the weight, just changed my thoughts toward the need to lose the weight in the first place) and have more or less learned to accept myself, I’ve come to the point in my life where my number one goal or priority when it comes to working out is feeling good.
If my alarm clock goes off in the morning and I have to begrudgingly go to turn it off and get ready for a workout I’m not in the mood to do purely because of the time of day it is, I’ve come to realize that it’s better to commit to doing the workout at a later time. In the past it was really hard for me to forgive myself when I didn’t manage to do a workout early in the morning because I didn’t think afternoon/evening workouts were optimum or best, but now I’ve seen the light.
It really doesn’t matter what time you choose to workout, so long as you work hard when you have the energy and feel good doing it. After all, if you manage to get up in the morning to do a workout, but you feel like crap, how likely are you going to keep up the behavior? You’re not. Eventually you’ll have flexed your willpower muscle one too many times and it’ll be back to the drawing board for you.
I’m all for morning workouts, which include benefits like:
- Boosting your metabolism throughout the day so you can burn more calories and fat. [PHYSICAL]
- Allows you to focus on other tasks throughout the day because your workout is out of the way, reducing stress and anxiety on a larger scale. [MENTAL]
I’m also for afternoon/evening workouts, which include the following benefits as well:
- Since you have more energy later in the day and are naturally more warmed up, you’re more likely to be able to do more vigorous or intense exercise and protein synthesis peaks later in the day, allowing for maximum muscle repair and recovery. [PHYSICAL]
- Allows you to focus more purely on your workout later in the day because you’re more likely to have all your other commitments taken care of. [MENTAL]
At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to decide which benefits resonate more. Honestly, you don’t have to workout at the same point in time each and every day. It’s insanity to expect yourself to be able to. If anything, there are equally promising benefits from working out at either time. In my opinion, the trade-offs are actually equivalent between the two times so long as you feel good about your choice to workout at said time mentally. It’s your brain that allows you to maximize your workout enough to achieve those physical benefits in the first place.
I do believe that it is most convenient to workout in the morning if you can because it is your first opportunity in the day to do something just for yourself, but if you’re not well-rested enough to fit it in or just plain not feeling good, it’s actually worse in the long-run to force yourself through this workout. You don’t know how you’ll feel later in the day, so it’s definitely worth waiting to exercise if you can.
It’s OK to miss a morning workout by doing an afternoon workout instead. You aren’t a failure if you cannot be 100% consistent. It’s also OK to miss an afternoon workout by doing a morning one instead. Remember, neither is technically superior over the other so long as your state of mind is a “positive” one.