We all know that any time is a good time to work out. After all, the only workouts you regret are the ones you don’t do, right? But let’s face it, we aren’t all at our most energetic 24 hours a day. Some of us struggle to get out of bed for an early morning workout but are bounding with energy for a lunchtime session. Others find they perform best when they hit the gym after work. But did you know that there are particular times of day that are best suited to certain types of exercises? We asked personal trainer, founder of Better Being and author of Sweat Equity Greg Stark, to give us the low down.
“Many people don’t consider doing specific types of training at different times in the day. But when you train can actually have a significant effect on your health outcomes. As a general rule you should be doing high-intensity training earlier in the day and lower intensity in the evening.”
So if you’re going to do a HIIT session hands down the best time to do it is first thing in the morning. You could also do a high-intensity session at lunch. However, there are many reasons why a morning high-intensity session is the ideal option. When you raise your heart rate it increases your circulation including blood flow to your brain. After high-intensity exercise your ability to focus is increased and you’re able to retain a lot more information. So a high-intensity session first thing will set you up for a productive morning at work!
Many people also find it hard to switch off at the end of the day. Most of us are on the go all day long and bringing your body back down to a resting state, where you can get to sleep quite easily, can be a challenge. So you might think doing a high-intensity session in the evening would be a great way to release some stress. However, it is actually going to have the opposite effect of what you desire, in that it might keep you up for hours. Even people who usually don’t have a problem going to sleep, often find it tough to switch off and go to sleep after they’ve trained hard. So it’s important to control those things when you can.
Lower intensity exercises are a much better option in the evening. One of the things I love to do when I get home is to go for a long walk. Of course when it’s cold and dark in winter this can be a less appealing option than in summer! But it’s still definitely worth the effort and a good way to unwind. Yoga is also a great option to do at night.
The other thing to remember is that you can do both high and low-intensity sessions in the same day. So you can train really hard in the morning, go for a walk at lunchtime to refocus for the afternoon and then go for another walk at night. Or you could do a high intensity session in the morning, yoga or Pilates at lunch and a walk after work. Doing a combination of both low and high-intensity sessions like this is only going to have a positive impact on your wellbeing.”