Benefits of Morning vs. Evening Workouts

Wearing JoyLab (a new cool workout gear line at Target) Color Block Leggings & JoyLab Cozy Layering Sweatshirt

Some of us are pretty flexible when it comes to our workout schedules, but if you’re anything like me, there’s a specific time of day you dedicate for this kind of activity. Personally, I like to workout later on in the day—I savor cozy mornings in PJs, and always feel like I have more energy to work out after work.

A lot of my friends—actually, most people I know—are the complete opposite of me, and love to workout first thing in the morning. I hadn’t really thought that there might be different benefits to working out at various times of the day, but it turns out there are!

Benefits of morning workouts:

Increase your energy – If you’re looking for some extra energy (sans caffeine), try the a.m.. Exercising in the morning wakes up your body, both physically and mentally, and will actually give you more sustained energy throughout your day. If you’re really looking to maximize your morning workout, take it outside. There’s no better wake-up call than getting active with some sunshine and fresh air on the side first thing in the morning.

Boost your metabolism – Exercising in the morning boosts your metabolism and will help you burn more calories during your workout and throughout the day. When you first wake up, you’re coming off a fast of probably somewhere around 8-12 hours without any food. When you work out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, your body has to use its own stored fat as energy during your workout. This means you’ll be burning more of your body’s energy (fat!) vs. any food you just ate.

Improve your mood – This is because working out gets your blood moving and muscles activated, triggering feel-good hormones in your body. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap this benefit—even a quick morning walk will release them!

Benefits of evening workouts:

Fall asleep easier – Tiring your body out in the evening is a great way to prepare for a deeper sleep. If you have a hard time falling and staying asleep, one thing to be careful about is the type of workouts you’re doing in the evening; it’s probably better to opt for a more calming activity, like yoga, if possible. Doing any type of cardio in the evening might give you unwanted energy (at that time of day).

You’ll workout harder – Since you’re most likely still pretty groggy first thing in the morning, chances are you’ll work harder during an evening workout. Because of this, it might be a good idea to save those tougher workouts or weight training for after work, and do more mindless activities (like running) first thing in the morning.

Decrease stress – Since working out requires you to focus on the activity at hand, it will take your mind off the stresses of the day—especially if you had a stressful one. Physical activity has also been shown to produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers.

Have you noticed any other benefits from working out in the morning vs. evening? I’d love to hear!

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  1. If I’m doing an intense workout, I’ll save it until the evening so that I’m not tired all day at work and wondering where I can take a nap! I also leave yoga until the end of the day, but if I just want a workout for the purpose of making me move and sweat, I’ll move that till the morning!

  2. I like going to my barre classes after work because I’m not a morning person at all. The few times I’ve tried a morning workout (and it wasn’t even super early, my class was at 9:45am!), I’ve felt stiff and tired and like I can’t push myself as hard.

    Regardless of the benefits of morning vs. evening workouts, I think any time that works best for you and makes it easy for you to exercise consistently is the best time to work out!

  3. Thanks for this useful post! I’ve tried working out both in the morning and during the evening, and I’m glad that there are benefits to both types of schedules. I think evening workouts provide more of the benefits I’m looking for, and I’m with you on wanting to savor a few extra moments in my pjs.


  4. Thanks for this post I like to work out in the am after breakfast.I find when I work out at night I have trouble sleeping .Yoga is great later in the day it helps me sleep.

  5. Thanks for this post I like to work out in the am after breakfast.I find when I work out at night I have trouble sleeping .Yoga is great later in the day it helps me sleep.

  6. Thanks for this post I like to work out in the am after breakfast.I find when I work out at night I have trouble sleeping .Yoga is great later in the day it helps me sleep.

  7. DIY workouts are a love of one of my friends. The only thing that she is confused about is when in the day she should be doing these different exercises. She would love knowing that doing it in the morning will drastically improve her mood.

  8. I love that you mentioned that doing workouts in the evening will take your mind off the stressful things that have happened to you during that day. With that in mind, I think I might have to do it at night when I start working out next month. It will help me a lot, I think because the kind of work that I have needed a lot of thinking and composing which makes me stressed every day. Thanks for the tips!

  9. I’ve started doing evening workouts while the long daylight hours allow it, because I’m tired of the disruption to my day that most of my workouts are. It’s not often feasible to get out first thing so typically I would wait until breakfast was settled and I was at a stopping point with other things to head out. This means breaking up a longer block of time that I might have spent on a particular project, with the changing in and out, pre- and post-workout stretching, driving to the park or the pool, and cleaning up afterward. Then I’m so tired and sleepy for the next several hours that I get almost nothing done the remainder of the day. I have noticed a higher calorie burn from pre-breakfast workouts, but most mornings I dedicate my time to something else (not sleeping) for which mornings are best; and even after an early workout I still just want to go back to bed. (Where’s all this post-workout energy I’m supposed to have??) So it seems I have to choose between burning the most calories versus having the time and energy to get things done during the day.

  10. Karen,
    Are you low iq? The points in this article are correct. As i visualize you right now, i think of some stay at homer who is scared of vaccines and doesn’t trust proven medical techniques.

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