When’s the best time of day to exercise?

The Chapel in Tunbridge Wells is house in a 19th Century church

Should you be setting the alarm an hour earlier or should you fit in fitness after work? Jaime Cooke, director of SPN has this advice for finding your prime workout time…

First things first, exercise shouldn’t be a chore. If you’re begrudgingly dragging yourself to any fitness class, you’ll end up hating it and giving up before the benefits start. The best thing to do is find the time that works for you and schedule it in, and by that I mean write it in your diary and plan your week ahead.

The best time to exercise depends on what you prefer. If you are a morning person who’s up and at ’em with the dawn chorus, then you are more likely to burn more calories in an early workout. It’s a fact that if you have more energy in the morning then you will probably end up exercising more vigorously and of course a vigorous exercise session such as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will burn those calories during and after you’ve worked out.

If you find that you couldn’t possibly face a cardio session before midday, then a PM workout would be best for you. Let’s not underestimate the benefits of a later workout. After all you’ve already consumed most of your daily calories so your body is ready to burn off those reserves and you’ll be warmed up and flexible, as you would have been moving around all day. You’ll also probably find that your muscles and joints won’t be as stiff as they are first thing.

Whether you are exercising when you get up or working out after work, you’ll need to fuel your body properly to burn more calories. Give yourself an hour to digest and absorb the food you’ve eaten before you exercise. So, if you’re booked onto a 9am class, have a light breakfast of about 300 calories, such as a slice of smoked salmon with half an avocado on rye bread, no later than 8am. If you’re planning an early evening session then you can have a larger meal of 500 calories or more at lunch as long as you’re exercising three to four hours later.

My top tips:

  • Don’t make it a chore
  • Exercise when you have the most energy
  • Plan ahead
  • Fuel your body


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