We are busy; we have to cram study, work, social life, family time, house chores, sleep, and relaxation time into 24 hours. That’s why we like efficiency, and try to get as many things done as possible within the short amount of time we can spare. So it’s natural that many of us have wondered when is the best, most efficient time to exercise in order to get better results.
There are 2 answers for this frequently asked question: the scientific answer, and the realistic answer.
The answer based on scientific theory
With the increasing demand for efficiency in our everyday life, there is a lot of research conducted worldwide to figure out when is the best time to exercise.
The topic is still relatively new, and there are different opinions. Although the answer is still not super clear, specifically talking about fat burning, your body burns fat better when you exercise first thing in the morning.
Some research says that this increases your metabolism throughout the day. Others say it somehow activates the fat burning system in your body, and burns fat more efficiently without changing calorie consumption. Again, there’s a lot of room to investigate, but this is the answer we have today.
“Science says that morning is the best time to exercise in order to burn fat.”
The problem with the scientific answer
Ok, now you know what the most efficient time to put your running shoes on is. However, there are some problems with this logic.
This research has limitations due to the nature of cross-sectional studies; This type of study looks at data from a population at one specific point in time. For example, thisthese research collects data from 500 participants and conducts the study for a whole day to record their metabolism. Alternatively, they track participants for 16 weeks to see how much fat they actually lose. After statistical calculation, researchers assume that results from the 500 participants can be applied to the general population.
The limitation with cross-sectional studies is that they do not address what happens afterwards. Realistically speaking, even if you have an efficient workout one day, you don’t lose your christmas fat gain just from one workout. Or, even if you get lean from the 16-week workout programme, your effort will go in vain if you completely stop after the programme finishes.
Even though science says morning is the best time to exercise, if you are a night owl like me who likes to snuggle up in the bed until the very last minute possible before leaving for work, a morning workout is nothing but torture. It just can’t happen. That’s really not my thing.
I could probably manage to finish the 16-weeks programme, but I would still hate starting my day with a workout so much that I can imagine my stress hormone would go up so high I’d have a heart attack just by thinking about the morning.
This scientific answer is perfect for early birds, but it’s not so realistic for many of us.
“Scientific logic is sometimes not logical for some people.”
The realistic answer
Weight control and a healthy lifestyle should last longer than a day, or 16 weeks. It has to be manageable so you can keep it up for the rest of your life. Efficiency is important, but there is no point in efficiency if you can only maintain the lifestyle for a short time.
Consistency is a priority. You need to find an efficient way to exercise that is also sustainable. There are many other ways to make your workout more efficient without changing the timing of it; You can sleep longer and better, eat better, reduce stress, or change the type of workout. Trying any of those is better than forcing yourself to do what doesn’t suit you and quitting straight away.
“Without consistency, even the world’s best exercise cannot bring you results.”
So, think about what time works the best in your schedule. When do you feel more energetic and happier to put your gym gear on? When can you create a gap in your schedule?
Science gives you a guide to follow, not an answer that you have to follow. If you don’t like waking up early for a workout, relax and find another better way to make your workout more efficient.
The best time to exercise is the time that suits your schedule the best.