Go to just about any gym in the US of A between 5 pm and 7 pm on a weekday and it will be busy. It will be full of people who look like they lift and people who wish they looked like the lift. On the flip side, go to the gym between 5 am and 7 am and you will most likely have easy access to whatever fitness equipment you want to use. Are that many of us not morning people? Or do we just want to release all that stress from the work day on the iron so we can sleep better at night?
Benefits of Morning Training
Swole before Sunrise
Getting your swole on before the sun rises. Starting your day off with the hardest physical activity of the day has many benefits. If you walk into work knowing you crushed a personal record on deadlifts your annoying co-worker might be less annoying today.
Testosterone and Muscles
Research shows testosterone levels are highest in the morning. Think about it fellas. What is going up when you wake up? These elevated T-levels can be put to good use in the wee hours of the morning. Testosterone levels actually decrease as the day goes on, hitting a low point before bed time. Which kind of goes against the theory of shaking the sheets with your lady before bedtime.
Taking advantage of heightened testosterone levels is advantageous to building muscle. So if your goal is hypertrophy or bigger muscles training in the morning makes sense.
Accelerated Fat Loss
Everyone has most likely heard about fasted cardio and for good reason. If you do cardio in a fasted state, your body is burning stored energy. If you do cardio after eating you are burning off your last meal.
What about fasted lifting? For most of my training life I lifted after work. Lifting before work was not something I wanted to do. Having children changed that. If I wanted to be a good dad and still lift I had to switch to morning workouts while everyone else is dreaming. It took some adjusting to at first. I would drink coffee, some protein powder, and eat a banana prior to working out. My energy levels were okay, but could be better. Then, I switched to drinking an Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon, and Sea Salt mixture followed by coffee and my energy improved more. Training in a fasted state can certainly accelerate fat loss and deep down most of us want to be leaner.
Exercising in the morning could elevate your mood for the rest of the day. This can make you a more productive human being at work which can lead to more money or a promotion. Think about it. Do employers want a worker who is high energy and motivated or do they want someone who doesn’t wake up until half the day is over?
Not Letting Life Get in the Way
Training in the morning means getting it done with. When you know you got physical to start your day, you don’t have to worry about an unexpected event that ruins your workout in the evening. You also get to enjoy time with family and friends after work aka have a life.
Benefits of Evening Training
Coordination, Stamina, and Body Temperature are at a Peak
If you don’t think coordination is important to lifting weights….watch a beginner barbell squat. It is a scary sight. Endurance is improved in the evening which can help with higher volume training and rep personal records. Because body temperature is at its peak it is easier to get warmed up for action.
Strength and Flexibility are at their Best
The point of lifting weights is to get stronger. Isn’t it? You need flexibility to lift weights too. I’ve never seen a person lacking flexibility squat properly. It usually turns into a half squat or worse… a quarter (ego) squat. Training in the evening takes advantage of strength and flexibility. Which is why it is easier to set a personal record at 5 pm than it is at 5 am.
Blow Off Steam
Training after work can be a huge asset to your mental health. Chances are you don’t have a job where you love everyone you encounter on a daily basis. Maybe your boss is a jerk. You can use the iron as your own personal therapist without the copay. Take out your aggression of the day on some barbells and dumbbells. They can take it. Just remember punching people in the face is frowned upon.
No Pictures Please
Some people like an audience when they work out. They are motivated by other people’s eyes on them when they grab the barbell to deadlift. Many folks just want to show off to others. Other people are just motivated by the presence of others. This is why many people need to belong to a gym to workout rather than having a home gym. The atmosphere just gives them a boost. The crowd is always larger after normal working hours than before most people head off to work.
Thanks for the Info, but when should I Lift?
The honest answer is when you have the time to do it. Whether you work out in the morning or the evening as long as you do it consistently, intelligently, and you eat right you are going to make progress. A few things to consider are your goals (strength is improved in the evening, muscle mass in the morning), your life/work schedule, family and activities, your love/hatred for other humans, and when you can make time.