What is the best time of day to train?
One athlete might swear results are more achievable when training in the morning, while another may insist afternoon or evening sessions are best. The fact is, the real focus should be on whether or not you need food to fuel your workout or not and what best fits into your lifestyle and schedule. If you are consistently missing training sessions because you struggle to get out of bed in the morning or you find it difficult to guarantee that you will leave work on time, then you need to rethink the time of day you train.
Training for weight loss… the early bird burns more fat
Many people believe mornings are best, because it ‘gets it out of the way’ or ‘they have more energy in the morning’. If you goal is to lose weight, research suggests exercising in a fasted state will burn more fat. A fasted workout means, training when you have not eaten for several hours e.g. training before breakfast, when carbohydrates are depleted and your body is more reliant on fat as fuel.
Training for endurance… afternoons might suit you better!
If you are training to improve endurance your focus will be on training as hard as possible to develop a capacity for speed, high power outputs and high exercise intensities. This type of training should not be done in a fasted state (empty stomach) and a meal 2-4hours prior to exercise is beneficial. Under these circumstances an afternoon training session would suit you best, allowing enough time to eat a nutritious meal and fit in appropriate snacks prior to training.
Training for power and strength… morning or evening sessions can work for you
All strength and power sessions require fuel before training. The type of session you have planned (weight lifting or conditioning drills) will determine what form of fuel is best. Lighter workouts require less fuel e.g. Musashi Bulk Shake is sufficient. While more intense and longer duration workouts require more fuel e.g. pasta 2-hours before training and then top up energy levels up with a small snack e.g. Musashi 100% Whey protein shake, 20-minutes before you start. Moderate and heavy sessions should always be followed by both a recovery snack (e.g. Musashi Bulk protein shake) within 30-minutes of finishing and then a meal within 2-hours.
The recovery meal is also very important and this is where it can get tricky. If you are training for strength in the morning before breakfast, a recovery protein shake post-training is important asap, followed by breakfast later on. Add Musashi 100% Whey protein to a fruit smoothie – for recovery when leaving the gym and then eat breakfast (e.g. eggs on toast) a couple of hours later (mid-morning).
If you train in the afternoon/ evening before dinner then have a Musashi Bulk Protein shake within 30-minutes of finishing (on your way home) and then within 2-hours eat a healthy dinner (e.g. chicken, steamed veg and steamed rice).
Training more than once a day… both morning and night!
Some athletes like to split training into two sessions in the one day. It is key to plan meals and replace fuel before your 2nd session. Breakfast is extremely important giving you a good start to the day and helps you to fit in the required calories. After your first session sufficient carbohydrate (50g) for recovery and protein (20-25g) for repair are a top priority. Musashi Bulk Protein shake alongside a banana will fulfil these recovery needs. Allow time for a nutritious lunch, which again should contain both carbohydrates and protein (e.g. tuna and salad wrap and a piece of fruit).
It is important to train when you feel the most motivated and your schedule allows. Consistency, quality nutrition and a good fitness program tailored to your goals, plays a larger role in determining results than whether you should train in the morning or afternoon. Selecting a preferred time of the day and scheduling your commitments around it, is the best ways to develop a long-lasting exercise habit.