Is It Better to Work Out In The Morning or Night?

Is It Better to Work Out In The Morning or At Night?

When you're first introduced to the fitness community, it can be confusing. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how you can get the best results from your workouts.

For example, a lot of people argue about whether it's better to work out in the morning or at night.

Some people insist that morning workouts are the best way to go, and they swear by its benefits. Many others prefer evening workout sessions, and will try to convince you they are better.

It makes you think ... is there actual science that supports which one is better than the other? Or, is there no real difference, and when you work out is all up to personal preference?

The truth is, there isn't a best time of day to work out. It would be much more accurate to say that certain times of the day have specific benefits and drawbacks.

It’s ultimately up to you to choose what time of the day works best for you. However, I'll give you all of the facts to help you make that decision!

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Whether you’re trying to build muscle, lose weight, or anything in between ... being consistent is what matters most!

That’s why the bottom line is to pick a time you can commit to, and form a habit out of. That way, you can see the progress you want to see, and work out at whatever time you prefer the most.

Because really, without being able to consistently put in the work, you won’t earn the results you're after no matter what time you choose to work out.

So, let's talk about the perks to both morning and night workouts. That way, depending on your goals, lifestyle, and schedule ... you can choose the time that works best for you.

What Are The Benefits of Working Out in the Morning?

Let's start with the benefits of working out in the morning first. Does it pay off to be an early bird? Here are the facts...

Morning Workouts Can Provide Greater Focus For Your Day

Exercising in the morning can help you focus and improve on how quickly you can recall things from memory [1]. So, if you like getting after a good workout in the morning, your attention span will thank you.

Even a short, moderate workout in the morning has been shown to promote cell growth in the hippocampus [2]. That is the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.

It sounds like moving in the morning is a great way to start your day on the right foot! This could potentially help you stay motivated for the rest of your daily tasks too.

I know it helps me stay more focused, and keeps me in a better mood.

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This is because exercise can boost levels of endorphins in the body. These “feel-good hormones” can help you feel more relaxed and generally improve your mood.

You'll also get a surge of energy hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, from the workout ... both of which can help energize you while the endorphins put you in a feel-good state.

Even if you have a hard time getting going in the morning, a workout can actually improve your entire day. By starting your day with a workout, you get the right chemicals activated, and set yourself up for success!

Ultimately, morning workouts can help you be more alert throughout your day. That way, you are more productive, happy, and motivated!

Morning Workouts Can Help You Get Better Sleep

When you wake up early to exercise, you may sleep better at night.

One study found that working out in the morning helped people sleep more calmly [3]. They also felt more refreshed after waking up.

Sometimes, falling asleep can be more difficult when you exercise too close to bedtime. The workout makes you experience a burst of energy-inducing hormones, and that can keep you up.

On the other hand, a morning energy boost can be a welcomed start to your day and help you accomplish your goals.

If you want to wake up less, fall asleep faster, and sleep more effectively, a morning workout could be your best bet.

Morning Workouts Can Help You Make Better Decisions the Rest of the Day

Something about working out in the morning can really give you some positive momentum for the day. This is something I can personally attest to.

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When I work out in the morning, I feel more confident in myself because I did something that is good for my body.

That makes me want to keep the streak of making good decisions going. In my opinion, doing things that you know are good for you can make you happier and more confident in yourself.

Studies have even shown that morning workouts can help you make better food choices the rest of the day. Not just that, but you may eat less calories too [4].

Trust me on this one. If you work out earlier in your day, you will feel better, and you’ll want to keep that good feeling going.

It’s pretty remarkable how different you can feel just from moving your workout to earlier in the day.

What Are The Benefits of Working Out at Night?

Now that we've talked about morning workouts, and the benefits they can provide ... let's transition to night workouts!

Are there any benefits to working at night? Let's discuss...

Night Workouts May Lead to Better Muscle Gains

Some studies have found that people who work out in the evening can potentially gain more muscle mass than those who work out in the morning [5].

Now, do I believe you’ll gain more muscle just because of the time of day? Personally, I don’t think that is the only factor that may have led to more muscle in this study.

I believe it could have something to do with their ability to eat more calories throughout the day. This could give them more energy to fuel a more intense workout.

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On top of that ... when you’re well-rested and alert instead of tired from getting up too early, you'll likely have more energy and strength to work with [6].

The extra few reps or intensity could ultimately be what led to increased gains in muscle.

It could also be that they were able to lift heavier weights due to their body being more warmed up from the day.

But regardless, the study did show better muscle gains in evening workouts vs morning workouts. So, it's definitely possible it could be the same for you.

Night Workouts May Help You Better Manage Your Stress Levels

After a long day, you may be a little worked up from the stress of the day. Letting off a little steam with a workout can be an effective stress reliever.

It certainly helps me!

Creating this habit can also eventually signal to your body that it’s time to stop working. Conditioning your body and mind to this could help you relax for your personal time.

Now, this is all my opinion, but I'm sure a lot of people would agree. What I'm saying is, there isn't any scientific evidence to support this, it's all anecdotal.

But, whether it's a tough day at the office, home, or in general ... I find that working out at night can help. It’s the perfect time to work out your frustrations and give it your all at the gym.

Are There Drawbacks to Working Out In The Morning or At Night?

Most everything in life has its pros and cons. The same can be said about working out in the morning and working out at night.

So, before you make the decision about what time you think is best for you to work out ... you may want to consider these drawbacks as well.

What Are the Drawbacks of Working Out in the Morning?

Of course, morning exercise routines aren't perfect. This is especially true for the night owls out there.

While a morning workout may be more beneficial for you and your goals, it’s always good to consider the flip side.

Morning Workouts May Require More Time To Warm Up

It’s always important to stretch and get your muscles loose to prepare your body for a workout. This is especially true if you exercise first thing in the morning.

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If you work out in the morning, you haven't been moving around for very long yet. That means it will take your body some extra time to warm up.

It’s not the end of the world, but it does add more time to the workout itself.

Without warming up though, you can risk injuring yourself, which isn't ideal at all!

So, if you’re working out in the morning, you may require a little extra time to loosen up for your actual workout. If you have to work early in the morning too, that could mean waking up even earlier to account for this.

Either that, or sacrifice some of your time to burn calories and break down those muscles.

You Won't Have As Much Energy For Your Morning Workouts

Anytime I say this, I have a lot of people who come back and say: "That's not true, I feel great in the morning!" If you do, that's awesome, but I'm not talking about your mental energy or alertness.

Since you use some of your stored energy while you're asleep, you can wake up more depleted. This leaves you with less fuel to push yourself.

When you work out later in the day after having a few meals, you have more energy to fuel your workout. So, morning exercise for some people can make them feel like their workout wasn’t as good.

Does that mean you can’t get a good workout in the morning? That is absolutely not what I’m saying.

I get great workouts in the morning, and I prefer them. I just make sure to eat breakfast first to get the fuel I need ... while some people prefer to train later, and that’s okay.

It’s all up to your personal preference.

Morning Workouts May Not Work As Well For Your Schedule

This may be obvious, but morning workouts may not work as well for some people because of their schedule.

For as much as early exercising can help with your sleep, everyone has a different sleep schedule. Not every sleep schedule can support early workouts either.

Everyone is different, and if you have to get up so early that it disrupts your sleep, it could do more harm than good.

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I like to think of parents with newborns here.

They may have to get up regularly in the middle of the night. Losing more sleep to crush a workout before work might not be the best time for them.

Sleep is essential for the brain and the body. It’s not worth sacrificing sleep to fit in a quick, low-energy workout.

Although, if it’s the only time you can exercise at all, a quick workout is better than no workout.

Still, waking up early for a workout isn’t for everyone, but that's about it when it comes to drawbacks!

What Are the Drawbacks of Working Out at Night?

Again, while there may be some great benefits to working out at night ... there are also some things that could discourage you from working out at night. Let's talk about those as well...

Night Workouts May Lead to Interrupted Sleep

Some people can work out right before bed and be nice and sleepy for the night. However, not everyone feels this way. It's pretty common for others to feel pretty wired after a workout.

This is especially true if you like taking a pre-workout with caffeine for your night workouts. But, that's not the only reason you may have energy after a workout.

The energy spike that comes with exercise is largely due to hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The more intense a workout, the more you may struggle to fall asleep.

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So, don't forget to take this into consideration. If you sleep well like me, it may not be a big deal. If you don't, perhaps morning workouts will be more your thing.

Night Workouts May Affect Other Parts of Your Life

Your typical evening routine may not really support your fitness goals and routine.

For example, an evening workout routine may push back your evening schedule. If you’re like me, and need to unwind for a bit after dinner, you may end up heading to bed later than you'd like.

In situations like these, working out in the evening can still result in less sleep, and if so, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

If you have kids, the majority of the time you spend with them is likely after work or school. Working out in the evening would have to take away from that time as well.

That, or you'll have to force a late-night workout after your kids go to bed.

Again, a really late workout can push back bedtime and force you to get less sleep. Less sleep is never ideal for any health or fitness goal.

Working Out at Night Vs. Morning: How To Decide

At the end of the day, when you work out should be based on your lifestyle and goals. Knowing the good and bad of both morning and evening workout routines can just help you make the best decision.

What time of day will you actually stick with consistently without falling off?

When do you actually enjoy working out the most? That matters a lot too.

What time feels like you get the most out of your workout?

These are the most important questions to ask yourself because the best time to work out is the time you can commit to long-term.

Plus, you can always make adjustments to improve your sleep, schedule, or energy levels!

But honestly, when it comes down to it ... if you still don’t know when, try experimenting to find out what works best for you. Try both out for a little while and ask yourself what you enjoy more, and what would be easier to stick to.

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Heck, maybe you can work out in the middle of the day. In that case, why not try that too?

Now, if you have big goals, but don’t know where to start regarding how to work out or what to eat, let us help!

We created a tool called the 1st Phorm App to teach you the basics and give you the support and accountability you need to crush your goals!

Don’t know what or how much to eat for your goals? We do, and we’ll teach you.

Not sure what workouts to even do when you do find the right time? We have TONS of workout programs to choose from, and we’ll help you pick.

Have a bunch of questions you don’t know the answer to? You get a personal advisor in the 1st Phorm App to answer your questions, and walk you through everything you need to know.

We’re here to get you real and long-term results! If you have any questions or need help, reach out anytime. That’s what we’re here for!


[1] Kawabata M, Lee K, Choo HC, Burns SF. Breakfast and Exercise Improve Academic and Cognitive Performance in Adolescents. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 13;13(4):1278. doi: 10.3390/nu13041278. PMID: 33924598; PMCID: PMC8068805.

[2] Erickson KI, Voss MW, Prakash RS, Basak C, Szabo A, Chaddock L, Kim JS, Heo S, Alves H, White SM, Wojcicki TR, Mailey E, Vieira VJ, Martin SA, Pence BD, Woods JA, McAuley E, Kramer AF. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 15;108(7):3017-22. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108. Epub 2011 Jan 31. PMID: 21282661; PMCID: PMC3041121.

[3] Ramos-Campo DJ, Ávila-Gandía V, Luque AJ, Rubio-Arias JÁ. Effects of hour of training and exercise intensity on nocturnal autonomic modulation and sleep quality of amateur ultra-endurance runners. Physiol Behav. 2019 Jan 1;198:134-139. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Oct 31. PMID: 30389476.

[4] Schumacher LM, Thomas JG, Raynor HA, Rhodes RE, Bond DS. Consistent Morning Exercise May Be Beneficial for Individuals With Obesity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2020 Oct;48(4):201-208. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000226. PMID: 32658039; PMCID: PMC7492403.

[5] Küüsmaa M, Schumann M, Sedliak M, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Malinen JP, Nyman K, Häkkinen A, Häkkinen K. Effects of morning versus evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, muscle hypertrophy, and serum hormone concentrations. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Dec;41(12):1285-1294. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0271. PMID: 27863207.

[6] Douglas CM, Hesketh SJ, Esser KA. Time of Day and Muscle Strength: A Circadian Output? Physiology (Bethesda). 2021 Jan 1;36(1):44-51. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00030.2020. PMID: 33325817; PMCID: PMC8425416.

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