man riding bicycle on a forest road
man riding bicycle on a forest road

Why the timing of a training session is so important

When it comes to working out, most people tend to focus on the actual exercise routine itself. They spend hours and hours researching the best exercises, practising perfect form, and trying out new activities. 

However, what most people fail to realise is that the timing of their training session can be just as important, if not more important, than the actual structure and content of the session itself. In this blog post, we will explain why the timing of a workout is so crucial and why you should pay more attention to it the next time you are planning your training. We also share some top tips to help you do this, so keep reading!

Optimising your circadian rhythm

Firstly, the timing of your workout can affect your body's natural rhythms. Our bodies have a natural daily cycle called our circadian rhythm, which is a roughly 24-hour cycle that regulates various bodily functions, including sleep, hormones, energy levels, focus, and metabolism. 

When you exercise at the wrong time (this is entirely relative by the way), you can disrupt your natural body clock. For example, if you work out intensely, late at night, it can dramatically interfere with your sleep, making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Much the same as eating a large meal too close to bedtime or if you have consumed caffeine in the afternoon and evening too. These, in turn, can have negative effects on your recovery and subsequent performance.

woman kneeling down to tie up laces of running shoes before going for a run

Get up and GO!

As we mentioned earlier, the timing of your workout can also affect your energy levels and performance. Now, depending on when you work out, you may feel more energised and ready to tackle your workout or on the other hand, you may feel more sluggish and lethargic. 

For example, if you work out in the morning, you may feel more alert and focused, which can help you perform better during your workout. When you work out late at night when you're already tired from a long and busy, you may not be able to push yourself as hard, and your performance may suffer as a result. 

More importantly, performing movements or activities that require a lot of focus and attention at night, like lifting heavy weights or riding a bike, might actually become quite dangerous if you are tired and unable to properly focus on what you are doing. Resulting in a training session that could result in causing more harm than good!

Thirdly, the timing of your workout can affect your appetite and food choices. When you exercise, your body burns calories and uses energy. If you work out too close to a mealtime, it can affect your appetite, and you may end up eating more or less than you need to. 

Additionally, if you work out when you're hungry, you may be more likely to choose unhealthy foods or overeat later in the day. By paying attention to the timing of your workout, you can better plan your meals and make more appropriate food choices.

Lastly, the timing of your workout can affect your social life and relationships. If you work out at a time that conflicts with your family or friends' schedules, it can be difficult to balance your fitness goals with your social life. 

For example, if you always work out in the evenings, you may miss out on family commitments or social events with friends. By finding a workout time that works for you and your loved ones, you can maintain your relationships and your fitness goals.

small group of men and women running along a seafront promenade footpath

Each to their own

It's important to note that the optimal timing of a workout can vary from person to person, depending on their individual circumstances and preferences. For example, someone who works night shifts may find it more beneficial to exercise in the morning, while someone with a busy schedule may prefer to work out in the evenings. The key is to find a time that works best for you and your lifestyle.

To determine the best time to work out, consider your goals and priorities. If weight loss is your primary goal, you may want to consider working out in the morning on an empty stomach. This can help boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day. On the other hand, if you're looking to build muscle, you may want to work out in the afternoon or evening when your body's testosterone levels are higher.

It's also important to listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel during and after your workout. If you feel tired and sluggish during a morning workout, it may be a sign that you need to switch to a different time. Similarly, if you have trouble sleeping after an evening workout, it may be a sign that you need to move your workout to an earlier time.

In addition to finding the optimal time for your workout, it's important to establish a consistent routine. This can help your body adjust to your workout schedule and improve your overall fitness. By sticking to a regular workout routine, you can also make it easier to stay motivated and achieve your fitness goals.

By paying attention to when you exercise, you can better regulate your body's natural rhythms, improve your energy levels and performance, make healthier food choices, and maintain your social life and relationships. So, the next time you plan your workout, don't just focus on the exercises. Consider the timing as well. 

By finding the optimal time for your workout and establishing a consistent routine, you can improve your energy levels, performance, and overall well-being. You may be surprised at the positive changes you see in your body and mind. That's it for this addition to the U Perform Knowledge Hub, if you liked this article, be sure to share it with a friend/ training buddy who you think will benefit from it too! The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other. 

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