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Training Time: When is the Best Time to Train?

Morning, afternoon, evening: did you know that the right training time can make a big difference?

There are a number of factors that influence when you train best – from your natural biorhythm to your daily schedule and your personal fitness goals.

In this article, we take a look at the different times of day and how they affect your training. You're guaranteed to find the best time for your workout!

Why does training time matter?

Man holding a cell phone in his hand

To make a long story short: Your body follows a circadian rhythm that affects your biological functions throughout the day.

Hormones, body temperature and energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. This means that there are times when your body is simply better prepared for physical activity.

The time of day you exercise can therefore have a significant impact on your physical performance, energy levels and motivation.

Hormone fluctuations

Your body produces different amounts of hormones at different times of the day.

  • Cortisol levels, a hormone that affects metabolism and energy production, are highest in the morning. This can be an advantage for morning workouts as your body can burn fat more efficiently.

  • In the afternoon and evening, testosterone levels rise, which is beneficial for muscle building.

Body temperature

Your body temperature also fluctuates throughout the day and is highest in the afternoon and early evening.

A higher body temperature can improve muscle function, increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.

Many people therefore find training at these times more pleasant and effective.

Energy and performance levels

If you think about it: When do you usually have a low point in the day? Probably after lunch, right? In fact, most people do.

However, this low is followed by an increase in energy levels in the afternoon. And this afternoon high can be a good time for intensive training, as your body is optimally prepared for performance.

When are most people at their best?

Female athlete after a home workout

Our body follows a natural 24-hour cycle. This influences various physical functions such as sleep, hormone secretion, body temperature and, of course, our performance.

During the course of the day, there are certain times when our body is particularly well prepared for physical exertion.

In the morning: The energy boost for early risers

Many people experience a natural energy boost in the morning. This is because cortisol levels - a hormone that makes us alert and ready for the day - are highest in the morning.

An early morning workout can therefore be very effective in boosting metabolism and starting the day feeling positive.

Benefits of morning workouts:

  • Higher cortisol levels support fat burning.

  • Improved mental clarity and focus after exercise.

  • The energy boost helps you to start the day productively.

Mornings: Stable energy levels

Most people's energy levels stabilize after breakfast. Many people feel most focused and productive between 9 and 11 am.

This can therefore be a good time for intensive training, as the body is ready for physical activity.

Advantages of morning training:

  • You're awake and your body is already warmed up a bit.

  • Your body is well nourished and ready for an effective workout.

  • You don't have to think about training for the rest of the day and can pursue other commitments in the afternoon or evening.

In the afternoon: Peak performance

For many, physical performance peaks in the afternoon, between 3 and 5 pm.

Body temperature is at its highest during this period, which improves muscle function and endurance. Reaction time is also optimal during this phase, which is particularly beneficial for sports involving fast movements.

Advantages of afternoon training:

  • Higher body temperature improves muscle strength and flexibility.

  • Lower risk of injury due to better warmed-up muscles.

  • Second wave of energy after the midday slump.

In the evening: strength and relaxation

Many people find that they have extra strength for a workout in the evening, after a long day. Muscles are warm and flexible, and workout performance can be particularly high at this time.

Plus, an evening workout can help relieve the stress of the day and clear your head.

Benefits of evening training:

  • Maximum muscle strength and performance.

  • Effective stress reduction and mental relaxation.

  • Time for longer and more intensive workouts.

Scientific studies on performance

Scientific studies support the observation that most people reach their peak physical performance in the afternoon.

This is also shown by the systematic review and meta-analysis in “Sports Medicine - Open”. Here it was found that physical performance varies depending on the time of day, but that most people reach their maximum muscle strength and endurance in the late afternoon and early evening. This is attributed to the higher body temperature and optimized hormone levels during this time.

How do I find the best training time for me?

Athlete training with two kettlebells

The optimal training time is just as individual as you are. The best time for your workout is therefore the one that works best for YOU.

Maybe you're an early riser who loves a kick in the morning, or a night owl who feels best in the evening. Or maybe you realize that you feel strongest in the afternoon. Everyone is different - and so is the best time to work out.

Here are a few tips on how to find the ideal training time for you:

  • Listen to your body: Everyone is different and your body knows best when it is ready for an intensive workout. Are you a bundle of energy in the morning or more of a morning grouch? Do you feel full of energy in the afternoon or do you only really blossom in the evening? Your natural energy curve will give you an initial indication of the best time to train.

  • Experiment with different times: To find out when your body works best, you need to experiment a little. Try training in the morning for a week and see how you feel afterwards. The next week, you can move your training to the afternoon and then try evening training.

  • Pay attention to your biorhythm: Your natural biorhythm plays a big role in when you feel most efficient. Some people are naturally early risers, while others have more energy in the evening. Listen to your inner feeling and find out when your body is ready to give its all.

  • Keep your goals in mind: Your goals also play a big role in determining the best time for your workout. Do you want to lose weight? Then morning training on an empty stomach could be particularly effective. Do you want to build muscle? Then perhaps the afternoon or evening is more suitable.

  • Adapt your training to your lifestyle: Not all of us have a flexible daily routine. If you have children, work or study, you need to integrate your training into your daily routine. Find the time that best suits your lifestyle.

  • Have fun: Last but not least: Your workout should be fun. If you have to force yourself to work out at a certain time, you probably won't stick with it for long. Find the time when you feel most comfortable and efficient - and remember that this can vary from day to day.

Different goals – Different training times

Athlete doing an overhead squat

Whether you want to build muscle, lose weight or improve your overall fitness, choosing the right time of day can make a big difference.

When is the best time to train to build muscle?

The optimal time for strength training could be in the late afternoon or early evening.

During this time, body temperature is at its peak, which improves muscle function and strength. In addition, testosterone levels, which are important for muscle building, are particularly high at this time of day.

Benefits of training in the afternoon and evening:

  • Higher body temperature: your muscles are warmer and more flexible, which reduces the risk of injury and improves training performance.

  • Optimal hormone levels: Testosterone and cortisol levels are well balanced at this time of day, which promotes muscle growth.

  • More energy: After a day full of meals and snacks, your energy stores are well filled, which supports intensive workouts.

When is the best time to exercise to lose weight?

If your main goal is weight loss, exercising in the morning could be particularly effective.

Exercising on an empty stomach can increase fat burning as the body is forced to draw on fat reserves for energy. In addition, a morning workout helps to boost the metabolism.

Benefits of exercising in the morning:

  • Increased fat burning: exercising on an empty stomach can utilize the body's fat reserves more efficiently.

  • Metabolic stimulation: A morning workout increases metabolism for the rest of the day, resulting in a higher calorie burn.

  • Regularity: Morning workouts are less likely to be interrupted by the events of the day. This helps you to establish a consistent routine.

Conclusion: When is the best time for you to train?

To summarize once again: The best time to exercise depends on your individual preferences, lifestyle and goals.

  • Try it out: Test different times and find out when you feel best. Every body is different and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the best time to exercise.

  • Stay flexible: It doesn't always have to be the same time. If you can't train in the morning, move it to the evening and vice versa.

  • The main thing is to keep at it: No matter when you train, the main thing is that you do it regularly. Consistency is the key to success.

Find a time that suits your life and keep at it!




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