While the early birds vouch for the benefits of exercising at the start of the day, those who exercise in the evening list its plus points too. Srijan Maharjan, trainer at Fitness Paradise in Imadole, Lalitpur says it doesn’t matter when you exercise as long as you make sure you don’t entirely skip it. “Find a time that works for you and complements your work schedule and stick to it,” he says adding that doing so will promote a long-term commitment to fitness.
According to Maharjan, exercising is more about being realistic, consistent and, above all, feeling good and it shouldn’t matter when you do it. There is no right or wrong time as long as it fits nicely into your schedule. Be it in the morning, afternoon or evening, each of these sessions has its own unique perks. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when you are working out and these things are definitely time specific. Here Maharjan guides you through some basic pointers you need to know according to when your workout session is scheduled for.
For the early birds
Working out in the morning leads to more fat burn. This is because our bodies have low blood sugar level in the morning and is forced to turn to other sources for energy. As a result, unwanted fats are converted into the required energy. This also fires up your metabolism making it easier to burn calories throughout the day. It is also easier to be more consistent when you work out in the morning. Afternoon and evening timetables are more likely to conflict with other unexpected appointments as you go about your workday. If you work out in the morning then your exercise session won’t be hampered by anything.
If working out in the morning is what suits you best, just make sure you get enough sleep at night. You want to make sure you are fresh when you exercise so that you can push yourself a little extra. Also make time for a bit longer warm-up session as your muscles are usually cold and tight from sleep and require more time to heat and loosen up.
Having done your workout in the morning turns your whole day into a recovery period. So don’t forget to supplement your workout with good, nutritious diet throughout the day. And to carry out intense exercises, protein-rich breakfast beforehand is very important in order protect your muscle mass. Have a little something, a banana or a fruit shake will do, half an hour before your workout session.
Mid-day exercise session
While the benefits of a morning exercise routine are aplenty, don’t fret if you can’t squeeze in a session in the wee hours of the day. Since our body temperature automatically rises in the afternoon because of our movements throughout the morning, higher body temperature makes you quite a bit more flexible than usual and reduces chances of injury. After meal exercises also mean that there’s a proper amount of fuel (glucose) in the body. Hence, afternoon exercises are more beneficial for those who are aiming to increase their muscle mass.
When you exercise in the afternoon, you can stick to a shorter warm-up session. However, make sure you never skip it entirely. Also remember not to exercise immediately after a meal to avoid problems of indigestion and an upset tummy. Allow a break of at least one to two hours post lunch before jumping on the treadmill. But when you work out in the afternoon, there are high chances of you skipping it to meet other appointments. Maharjan suggests you fix a certain time to work out and stick to it no matter what. You are your first priority, he says.
Winding down with workout
If waking up early or hitting the gym in the afternoon do not agree with your timings, then you can always fit in exercise when you are done with work and don’t have other commitments at the end of the day. Granted that you might feel tired after a hard day at work and you might just want to take it easy and cuddle up on the couch, but a good workout session will make sure you end up getting a good nights’ sleep.
Maharjan mentions that, in both men and women, since the level of testosterone is higher in the evenings as compared to mornings and afternoons, it is an additional advantage for those looking to build muscles and increasing strength and stamina. Similarly, exercising at end of the workday can help alleviate stress you and make you feel rested. Participants at an evening zumba class in Lalitpur confessed to feel a lot better and happier after an hour-long dance session at the end of the day.
While exercising in the evening, a two-minute warm-up session is more than enough before beginning a rigorous workout. Working out in the evening also gives you the added advantage of regulating the length of your session according to how much you ate during the day.
However, if you plan to exercise in the evening, make sure you do it at least three to four hours before bedtime. If you exercise too close to bedtime then your body will not get the opportunity to enjoy the ‘after burn’ effects as your metabolism falls when you go to sleep.