Jack and I have always preferred to get up at 6am to do a morning workout than do one in the evening. We would rather change our sleeping habits and go to bed earlier. Taking science out of it, there are our numerous reasons for this. If we do a morning workout:
1. We feel energized and ready to seize the day - Carpe Diem. After all, exercise and productivity go hand in hand.
2. It’s most definitely a mood booster.
3. We snack less during the day - no idea why, but we both find that.
4. It’s done - you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. You also then don’t have to choose between an unplanned drink with a mate or exercise.
5. It gives the option to do something more chilled in the evening - our favourite is an evening stroll.
6. We love to spend that time early in the morning together. It’s a really lovely time to spend with your workout buddy. Yes, you might be half asleep when you start but you’ll be feeling great by the end.
7. If we don't workout in the morning, it is almost guaranteed that we won't sleep as well.
Is there a negative impact of an evening workout?
I have always been an advocate for a morning workout, lunchtime is also a great time to get some movement into your day too. However, I have never really thought about the negatives of exercising in the evening. Take the first point above (feeling energized) and flip that to an evening workout - how is that going to be conducive to getting a good night's sleep? All of those wonderful hormones rushing around your body make you feel energized and productive, for what? A good night's sleep? I’m not sure.
Does it make a difference if you are a night owl?
There is, however, another factor to consider. There is such a thing as a morning lark and a night owl. If you are a night owl, getting up early to train when your body doesn't want to and you don’t feel fully awake per
haps isn’t a good idea. Perhaps exercising in the early evening could enhance your day, leaving you worn out enough to sleep well. If you are a morning lark, use that energy in the morning to get your workout done. You will feel so much better, I promise.
I know there are a million other factors, like kids, early morning meetings, working across time zones etc. If you are a morning lark, even if it’s just a couple of times a week, try and do a morning workout and let me know how it makes you feel.
Exercise over sleep?
That being said, if you are not getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, the health benefits of good sleep overrides the health benefits of exercise and a good diet, according to Matthew Walker. So you exercise addicts out there, have a think about that too! if you’ve had a really bad night's sleep maybe ditch the early morning wake up for an afternoon run and catch a couple more zzz’s!
Then lockdown came & threw routines up in the air!
I have not listened to my own advice for the last six weeks and during lockdown we have gone to bed later and got up later than we ever did. Going to bed at about 11/11.30pm (I know we’re crazy), and getting up at 7.30/8am was rather novel. However, waking up that late we’ve wanted breakfast straight away, meaning we then can’t work out for 2 hours. Sometimes we’ll workout before lunch, sometimes we’ll workout mid afternoon. It’s all been a bit all over the place to be honest. This week, we’ve tried to put a bit of routine back in our days by getting up at 7am and doing our morning workout first - that could be strength training, running, yoga or joint training. Already, we are both feeling more ourselves with so much more energy throughout the day and we are sleeping way better!