Catalyst 4 Fitness

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Best Time to Exercise

If you exercise, you want to see the most results in the shortest amount of time. So, when is the best time to exercise to reach your goals quicker – to get stronger, leaner, more flexible, have more mobility?

best_time_to_exercise

Is it in the morning before work?
Could it be at lunchtime? Do you eat first? Or exercise and then have lunch?
Should it be immediately after work? Or right before you go to bed?

Admittedly there have been many research studies measuring a person’s endurance and strength when exercise is performed at different times throughout the day. However, my answer is much more simplistic and I believe more realistic.

You should exercise at whatever time of day that you can commit to making it a habit.

Personally, I enjoy working out in the morning.  It’s a great way to start my day, and should other commitments I have later in the day change, I know I have already exercised and kept my promise to myself.  It kickstarts my metabolism and gives me a rush of endorphins.  Booyah!

Not everyone is a morning person though.  Or maybe you have morning commitments that you can not re-schedule. Whatever the reason, if you find that your ideal time is at lunch, after work, or after your kids go to bed, that is good too.  Again, the key to this is setting a routine and keeping it.

Don’t allow yourself to be swayed to attend a happy hour or go to dinner, or see a movie or go to a concert. You have scheduled a meeting with yourself to exercise, and like all commitments, you will stick with it. Or, if you can rearrange your schedule that day to do both, then do both.

If you want to become a morning exerciser, these are my tips. You’ll notice that many of them can also be applied for midday or after work exercising too.

  • set your exercise clothes out the night before. Include your sports bra, socks, and shoes, and heart rate monitor
  • have your workout routine written out (yes, you should have a plan)
  • prepare your pre-workout drink or at a minimum take the container out of the cupboard and place it on the counter where you are sure to see it
  • prepare your post-workout drink or at least know what you are going to drink. Leave a post-it note near your pre-workout drink to remind you to take this
  • pack your lunch so all you have to do is take it with you. Write this on your post-it note too
  • if you are working out in a gym and won’t have time to come home to get ready for work, put together your gym bag with “work” clothes and other items the night before
  • double check you didn’t forget anything in the gym bag (do this until it becomes a routine), including your deodorant, hair dryer, dress socks and shoes, and your unmentionables
  • place your work bag in your car or near the door so you don’t forget it. If it’s cold outside, keep the bag in your house near the door. You’ll thank me for this if you forget just once
  • if you have time to come home before going to work, set your “work” clothes out so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to wear
  • set your alarm, two alarms if you need them (you know who you are) before you go to sleep
  • commit to trying this for 21 days. Know that your body may HATE you for the first few days, and you won’t want to get out of your warm and comfy bed when your alarm sounds
  • see bullet point immediately above this one and don’t give up

After 3 weeks if you still don’t enjoy training in the morning, then try it at lunch time or after work. Your goal is to find what works for you and that becomes the best time to exercise.

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