When is the best time to exercise and the worst?

When your training program is set up, this question inevitably comes to your mind one day: When is the best time to exercise?

Some do series of push-ups or sit-ups as soon as the sun is up, while others are still playing groundhogs. Many city dwellers go to the gym between noon and two, while others train after dark.

Who is right ?

What is the best choice ?

Yes, because sport is like a financial investment. We want to make the most of it. So, will you be fitter, more muscular or leaner by doing your sessions in the morning, afternoon or evening?

We'll answer that in a moment, but first...

SmartWorkout Elite

…Let’s take a little trip to Finland

You like to travel ?

Well, imagine that the scientists at the University of Jyväskylä asked themselves the same question.

Cultural interlude: Tell me what the inhabitants of Jyväskylä are called? (Answer at the end of the article).

And they found that late afternoon workouts (between 4 and 6 p.m.) produce more results than morning workouts.

But why?

Their research showed that body temperature is higher at this moment.

Besides, the body produces more testosterone during resistance training in the late afternoon than in the morning.

At the same time, heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels are all the way down.

Of course, the Finns are not the only ones to have given this information.

Their research is confirmed by several American studies, such as those of the American Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Why are these 5 scientific findings important to you?

That's what you'll understand in 2 minutes, but before that...

…let's talk rhythm.

You have the rhythm in your skin

I'm not talking about the musical rhythm, but about the circadian rhythm.

What is this beast?

the circadian rhythm corresponds to the functioning of our biological clock.

The best time to exercise according to the circadian rhythm
Source: Wikipedia

It dictates your waking and sleeping cycle in 24-hour periods. It also regulates your temperature, blood pressure, attention, etc.

Okay, enough technical talk, let's get down to business. What should you take away from this information?

Let's translate this information to determine the best time to exercise

These 5 factors explain why sessions between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. allow you to increase your performance…

…and therefore boost your results, whether to lose fat or gain muscle volume.

What do you mean ?

Adjustable dumbbells 40kg

The temperature rises

The best time to train is when the body temperature is high.

Have you noticed how hard it is to exercise in the middle of winter?

This is also why it is difficult to train early in the morning, when the body temperature is at its lowest just after getting up. But you will discover later that it is not impossible…

However, your temperature rises in the late afternoon until 7 p.m.

The force is with you

Is it the dark side of the force, I don't know.

Still, Dr. Hill's research revealed an increase in strength and anaerobic capacity of 5 % at the end of the afternoon.

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You are therefore more efficient between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

You are more enduring

Indeed, your endurance progresses by 4 % in this same period due to the improvement of your aerobic capacities.

Less risk of injury

As demonstrated by a NCBI study (in English), late afternoon sessions are best for injury avoidance.

The reasons are related to the points that you have just read just before.

These 3 factors are particularly involved in reducing the number of injuries:

  1. You are more alert due to the circadian rhythm
  2. Your muscles and tendons are more flexible due to your increased temperature
  3. Your muscles are stronger and more enduring

And the winner is…

So, to directly answer the question raised by this article:

The best time to exercise is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

best time to exercise at home
If possible, exercise between 4 and 6 p.m.

There, it is said.

But as you will see with the rest of this article, it would be foolish not to dig into the subject further.

Do each of you have the opportunity to play sports between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.?

Probably not.

So, let's take a shovel and a pickaxe, and dig a little...

If you can't train in this time slot

Well, that's fucked up...

Stop exercising immediately, and let yourself slowly die.

Get boozed instead and drown your sorrows in beef fat and fries.

No just kidding !

Do not go.

You will discover the incredible powers you have. Almost superpowers ūüėČ .

You can change the pace

Just because a situation is ideal doesn't mean it's the only one possible.

Especially since you can count on the your body's incredible adaptability.

Indeed, you have the power to adjust your circadian rhythm.

This is an important faculty for many professional athletes.

See what time most football matches take place.

Do you think it's because footballers prefer to play until 11 p.m. that matches are played so late? Wouldn't it be more for TV rights by any chance?

Your coping skills to your rescue

Studies have shown that we have the ability to adapt to our workout schedules.

This is why marathon runners often go for a run in the morning. Because marathons are usually held in the morning.

If a runner only trained in the evening, he would feel weak and sluggish during a morning run.

Researchers at the University of North Texas at Denton have noticed that we can alter our circadian rhythm through our habits.

For example, if you exercise regularly in the morning, you teach your body to be ready for that time.

And it will be, thanks to habit.

If you choose to do your morning sessions, for example at 7 a.m., you will end up performing better and less tired at that time.

So don't just focus on the best time to exercise if it's not within your possibilities.

The good news is your body can adapt to almost any situation. Including to bodybuilding sessions at a time that is not optimal.

You will discover in a few minutes the other possibilities available to you.

I will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of the different schedules. Here is a principle to remember in the meantime…

The important thing is to participate

This is what the famous Pierre de Coubertin said (it seems…).

And we can't blame him.

Why ?

Well, let's say it's more important to exercise when you can than not.

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Lots of guys and girls train early in the morning because it suits them. Or because their family or professional responsibilities require it.

It doesn't matter, in the end, as long as they take action for their health.

You have to find the best time to exercise according to your schedule.

The most important thing is that you are consistent. That is to say, you must choose the times when you are going to do your sessions and stick to it.

The other options

If you can't exercise between 4 and 6 p.m., what are your best options?

You may still have to choose between:

  • early in the morning (before work)
  • lunch break at 2 p.m.
  • late at night (after 7 p.m. for example)

Let's talk about it…

The morning workout

Honestly, it's not my thing. I'm not a late riser, but sports in the morning kill me.

Of course, if I had no choice, I would do it without hesitation. But now, I have a choice, so...

But it must be recognized that many people like to exercise in the morning. This may be your case. And this choice has advantages and some disadvantages.

Let's see which ones...


Training while the rooster is still in his pajamas has a few advantages.

Best time to exercise - Morning
Ouch! I didn't even have time to sing...

Here are a few :

  • If you train on an empty stomach, you burn 20 TP2T more fat. Mornings are therefore favored for fat loss.
  • the program of your day may be disrupted, without your session suffering from fatigue or being cancelled.
  • You will be fully ready to attack your working day.
  • Those who exercise in the morning generally sleep better at night.
  • You will be in a better mood thanks to the production of endorphins by your body.
  • Research has shown that those who exercise in the morning have an easier time sticking to their program than those who exercise in the afternoon or evening.


Morning training also presents some difficulties.

For instance :

  • For those who are not in the morning, the program may quickly fall into the water.
  • If you don't eat protein and carbohydrates before your workouts, you'll have a harder time building muscle. You will also need to eat after the session. This can be a lot of constraints before leaving for work.
  • Your temperature is low. You will therefore need to warm up more than for an afternoon session. The older you get, the longer the warm-up will take.
  • The risk of injury is greater because your body has not yet worked. To limit muscle problems, train with hanging straps and resistance bands .
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Sessions between noon and two

The midday meal break is the one chosen by many city dwellers for their sweating session.


This is not necessarily the ideal time for the body, but this time slot does not present any major biological disadvantage.

This habit has certain advantages:

  • Efficiency. In a busy program, we don't like wasting time. However, a session between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. allows you to have free time in the evening. If your sessions are short enough, you will probably have time to eat something before returning to work. However, be careful not to swallow anything.
  • You have reservations. Normally you have breakfast with protein, complex carbs and 25 % of fat if you plan ahead. If in addition, you had brought a snack for the 10 a.m. break (proteins carbohydrates), then you are at tec.
  • It's better than a coffee. A good session between noon and two goes wake up your body and your brain for the rest of the day. This increases your productivity and improves your mood. Your boss and colleagues will appreciate it!
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  • Tight schedule. If you have 2 hours break in the middle of the day, it will be fine. But for shorter breaks, you might run a bit for your session.
  • Organization of meals. You have to choose and prepare what you're going to eat for the 10 a.m. break and after training, or risk swallowing anything and ruining your efforts to lose weight.

Late sessions

When I say late sittings, I mean after 7 p.m.


  • You reduce the stress of the day. Even if you feel tired after a long day, a good bodybuilding or fitness session will relieve a good part of the stress of the day.
  • Your body has calories to burn. Since you have eaten several meals during the day, you usually have enough fuel left for a good session. Especially if you had a snack around 4 or 5 p.m. (fruit and dark chocolate, for example).


  • Sleep disturbance. Of course, relieving stress can promote a good night's sleep. But be careful, too late or too intense a session can interfere with your sleep. Also, avoid exercising within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Increase in temperature in summer. In the hottest times of the year, you may find it difficult to cool your body down after a big session. However, your body temperature must drop for your sleep to be of good quality. So, check this point so as not to sabotage the quality of your sleep.
  • The risk of procrastination (postpone until next day). Admittedly, after a long day of work, the risk is great to see your motivation to play sports collapse with you on the sofa in front of the TV. And there, you say to yourself: ‚ÄúIt doesn't matter, I'll catch up tomorrow‚ÄĚ. Except that tomorrow will probably be the same‚Ķ So you need a lot of self-discipline to train late and stick to it.

What you need to remember first

For your bodybuilding sessions or any other sport, the best time is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

You understand.

But in the end, what matters most is choose the time of day when you can really and sustainably train.

Whether morning, afternoon or evening. Avoid the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. slots anyway.

If you're really struggling to train regularly, take the time to analyze your schedule. Immediately look for a time slot that will allow you to train 3 or 4 times each week.

If you find this niche, now is the best time for you. Keep it !

Leave a comment at the bottom of this page before leaving and tell me: For you, when is the best time to play sports? How do you manage to stick to it? Or, on the contrary, why can't you do it?

Answer to the general knowledge question: 

People in Jyv√§skyl√§ don't call each other because they don't have a phone network ūüėÄ

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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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