SunUp or SunDown?
Most people exercise at the same time every day. What works best for your particular schedule is going to be your optimum workout time. The worst time, is not exercising at all! Early in the morning is most beneficial because appointments and other distractions usually fall after 9:00a.m. If something does come up that you have to take care of, you're more likely to reschedule that task than you are to reschedule (and follow-thru) a later workout. If you are a runner or participate in other outdoor activities air pollution and most pollens are going to be worse later in the day. Also, as humidity increases it's more difficult to breathe and will slow down even the most fit and experienced runner. Higher temperatures are also a factor that will effect your performance if it's not relatively the same environment that you have trained in.
Exercise increases brain activity. Another great reason to workout out in the morning is to kick your brain into gear! However, it is a common misconception that vigorous exercise right before bedtime disrupts sleep. Research has shown that exercise within 2 hours of bedtime improved or had no effect on sleep for most individuals. If you're in a high stress job or suffer from anxiety, a late night workout can actually help you to get to sleep, by moving the stress or anxiety related energy out of your body. Since evening is most convenient for many people, you would need to experiment and see if exercising in the evening effects your own sleep pattern.
Research seems to suggest that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to stick with the program. They get their workout out of the way and do the same the next day. Later in the day when you're tired or have tasks come up that need your attention, you may decide to "skip a night" which leads to two nights, a week, a month and before you know it, you're making that New Year's resolution to "stick to your workout" all over again!
Running on Empty
While exercising on an empty stomach does allow for maximum fat burning it also causes maximum muscle loss and it's imperative to preserve your muscle mass. It's best to have a small snack (100-300 calories) before you workout. This snack should include both carbohydrates and protein (egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt). Your body requires carbs to utilize fat and by eating a small snack you will use less protein from your muscles. Your body requires a protein source every 8-10 hours. The amount of time it needs before a protein boost is going to depend on your height, weight and how often you exercise. If it doesn't get a new protein source after 8-10 hours it will use its own lean muscle mass. By not eating before you workout first thing in the morning, you are aiding the loss of lean muscle that you've worked so hard to build and maintain.
So when is the best time to workout? It's when you have the time to set aside every day to dedicate to your health, both physical and mental well being. See what works best for you and hopefully some of the ideas mentioned will help you to find your best, personal time.
Thank you for reading. I hope you found some useful information in this guide.