Although there is no conclusive evidence that a certain time of day is more optimal for burning calories, there is probably a better time for you to exercise based on how you feel.

There are different factors which impact a person as it relates to the best time of “if and when” to exercise.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Have you heard about the Circadian Rhythm?

The circadian rhythm is based on the 24 hour pattern reacting to the earth’s rotation.  Your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and hormone levels are affected by this rhythm and how your body gets ready for exercise. Some people plot their daily activities around this rhythm and use the downswings as exercise avoidance markers.

  • Do you feel well rested?

Lack of sleep can set a person up for overtraining.   It could be staying up late the night before or an ongoing case of insomnia.  With this habit you are not allowing your body and your mind to adequately recover.

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  • What about the time of day?

When do you feel your best?  Morning, noon or night?  I would recommend training on different days and trying out each point in time to see how your body responds.

Try to keep a log about how you feel during the different workout times and how you feel afterwards.  Remember, with more responsibilities in your life, you will have to look at balancing out exercise with your commitments.

  • Are you trying to establish an exercise habit or are you training at random? 

Assessing which time of the day works best for you also aids in helping you establish an exercise habit.  So in essence one supports and compliments the other. 

  • How do you function in the morning on an empty stomach?   

If you take an approach to an easy to moderate workout then you potentially set your body to burn fat, if that is your goal.  But if you take an approach where you are working out hard and staying within the anaerobic threshold, you will be burning your glycogen stores.

This could lead to a state where you “hit the wall” and your performance during the workout would decline.

  • What about training at night before bed? 

For most people training before you go to sleep can affect your recovery.

During your sleep cycle your body produces hormones, lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on the release of the hormones and their role on your body’s recovery. For the most part you should try to avoid this time period for training.  Your body goes through a natural depletion of key nutrients and if you train late at night your appetite can become suppressed and this will also impact your body’s recovery.

There are some people who can train late at night and they follow certain protocols that are directed to nutrition, and find that they are benefiting from this type of regimen, but since this is the exception and not the rule, stick with not working out late at night!

So, in conclusion, we all are unique and respond differently to stimuli.  Since we all have individual goals and with it come individual variables with unique requirements. Your individual physiology and psychology are intertwined and your psychology is the driver when it comes to working out.

Pay close attention to your performance and log the results, then plan accordingly!

Read more from Jim Cleveland.

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