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Myth-Busting Fat-Burning: Do A.M. Workouts Work Better?
by: Shawn Ferrando
Not seeing results? Rearrange your schedule.
Not seeing results? Rearrange your schedule.

Q: Does it matter if you exercise in the morning versus the evening?

-S. Hawthorne, Trabuco Canyon, CA

A: Starting a fitness routine is hard enough, but having to decide on doing your exercise first thing in the morning or later in the day can vary the outcome of your results. There have been numerous studies on whether a.m. workouts or p.m. workouts are the most beneficial. Remember, exercise at any time is better than no exercise at all!

Here are some of the pros for morning exercisers:

  1. Morning exercisers stick with it: Studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to still be exercising one year later, when compared to those who exercise at other times of the day.
  2. Morning exercisers have more energy: Although you may have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, the energy you create by exercising in the morning will sustain you through the day. You will have more energy to go to work, take care of the kids, or do whatever it is you do all day.
  3. Morning exercisers sleep better: Exercising in the morning will help you sleep better at night. By getting up earlier, you will go to sleep earlier, hopefully finding your natural sleep cycle. Working out in the evening hours can create an adrenalin rush that may be hard to come down from and get adequate sleep.
  4. Morning exercisers eat better: A psychological and nutritional benefit that comes with morning exercise is a day of eating better. When waking up early to exercise, and spend an hour or more actually exercising before doing anything else, you will approach eating with a different mentality than if you exercise in the evening.
  5. Morning exercisers are in a better mood: Another added benefit of a morning work out is enjoying the positive mood you have created. You will be proud of yourself for getting up an exercising. You will feel clear and calm and feel like you did something for yourself to jump-start your day.

If you can’t wake up earlier for exercise, or it just doesn’t work into your schedule, don’t fret. Research is proving that those who exercise later have just as many benefits.

Here are some of the latest specific research findings:

  1. Late afternoon is best for exercise: Research shows that the optimal time to exercise is when our body temperature is at its highest, which, for most people is 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (body temperature is at its lowest just before waking).
  2. Strength is greater in the afternoon: Strength output is 5% higher at around mid-day; anaerobic performance, such as sprinting, improves by 5% in the late afternoon.
  3. Endurance is greater in the afternoon: Aerobic capacity (endurance) is approximately 4% higher in the afternoon.
  4. Injuries are less likely in the afternoon: Afternoon exercise is the best if you want to avoid injuries for many reasons. We are most alert; our body temperature is the highest so our muscles are warm and flexible; and our muscle strength is at its greatest. These three factors make it less likely that we will get injured.

Bottom line is to find the time for exercise (which is half the battle) that you can stick with consistently, you will be much more likely to train regularly and get better results.

The good news is that you get to decide the best time for you to exercise based upon your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. Ideally, you will pick a time that you are able to stick with consistently and make part of your daily or weekly schedule.

949.292.1799 | 30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd. # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA 

Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine. To contact Shawn directly, please email her at

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