When Is The Best Time To Workout? Here’s What Science Says (+Workout Schedule Template)


Written by: Spencer Higgs - Feb. 22, 2021

Best time to workout  

Between picking the kids up from daycare, and grabbing last minute ingredients from the supermarket, finding time to exercise can be challenging. And if you’re trying to fit a social life in there somewhere, you can forget about that ambitious two hour workout goal. 

If your schedule limits you to exercising for just a short chunk of your busy day, then figuring when the best time to workout is more important than ever. To answer this question best, I’ve relied on the source that knows best: science. The extensive data and research observations from exercise scientists, will tell you everything you need to know to decide when the best time to workout really is, and how to create a workout schedule template that fits your lifestyle.  

Morning vs Evening Workout

Everybody, and every body has their own specific needs, requirements, and restrictions. Morning and evening workouts each have their pros and cons, and the benefits for both vary from person to person. This is based on many factors including work schedules, body type, natural sleep patterns, responsibilities, health, and, of course, fitness goals. Essentially, the best time to workout may have as much to do with you as it does science. 

Morning Workouts

There’s a lot of physiology at play when it comes to morning exercise routines—and a lot of data supporting morning time as the best time to workout. Mainly, crack-o-dawn workouts burn more fat. One of the main reasons for this, is that our hormones are better suited for burning fat in the morning. Not a morning person? Science also has suggested that AM workouts can increase the stress hormone cortisol if exercising on an empty stomach. Let’s look more closely at the pros and cons:

Pros of morning workouts

  • The best time to workout for weight loss
  • Significantly burns stored fat
  • Increases morning energy
  • Boosts metabolism 
  • May reduce appetite throughout the day, aiding weight loss [2]
  • Can help reset your body’s internal clock earlier
  • Morning accomplishments lead to successful and sticky habits [3]

Cons of morning workouts

  • May increase cortisol levels
  • Difficult for many schedules
  • Difficult to get motivated (and stay motivated)
  • Limits evening and night time energy
  • Results may be limited if you’re too tired for vigorous exercising

Evening Workouts

Are you a night owl? Then this section is for you! Exercising in the afternoon may help people maximize their workouts, muscle function, and gains. This is because exercising in the afternoon in a neutral environment (i.e. NOT in blistering-hot temperatures) affects your body similarly to a pre-workout warm-up. [4

Pros of evening workouts

  • The best time to workout for muscle building
  • Reaction times increase
  • Oxygen uptake is highest
  • Evening workouts DO NOT disrupt sleep patterns [5]
  • Yoga exercises may induce easy sleep
  • Over time, can reduce the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and reduce cravings

Cons of evening workouts

  • Not as effective for weight loss
  • Not as effective for burning fat
  • Not as effective for early mental energy
  • May increase before-bed appetite

The Verdict: The Best Time To Workout

While there may not be a single, one-size-fits-all best time of day to exercise, when comparing the data from studies conducted, it’s clear that morning workouts tend to be the most favorable for the average person. 

That said, not having morning availability is no excuse to not workout. If you can only make it to the gym in the afternoon or evening, do it—exercising late is still better than not exercising at all. And you’ll more than likely still see major improvements in your health, body shape, and fitness level.

1. Go to bed and wake up with a committed intention to workout. Understand that your goals ARE within reach.

2. Design your wakeup routine around your workout routine.
For instance, place your alarm across the room so that you HAVE to get out of bed and set your workout clothes out the night before.

3. Drink an energizing pre-workout supplement.
Many pre-workout supplements, or healthy superfood drinks, add more energizing value than just caffeine alone. Super Youth Skinny Greens, for instance, is loaded with key essential nutrients that wake your body up while improving exercise performance, increasing metabolism, and elevating your focus. 

4. Use the buddy system.
Accountability is an important, if often overlooked, factor in committing to health goals. [6] Buddying up with someone to help you stick to your exercise schedule can keep you motivated throughout your fitness journey. 

5. Create a workout schedule template that revolves around your specific objectives and best time of day to exercise, based on your free time. Below a workout schedule template that will help you get started.

Workout Schedule Template

Designing a workout schedule to match your daily obligations may be easier with a workout split. A workout split is a schedule that targets different muscle groups on different days. This helps maximize acute exercises, and many find the change up keeps them motivated. 

Here’s a workout schedule template you can use right now. Following it will kickstart your exercise mode and help you figure out your personal best time to workout. 

  • Monday: Full body HIIT
  • Tuesday: Arms & Abs
  • Wednesday: Legs & Glutes
  • Thursday: Stretch / Rest
  • Friday: Full Body HIIT
  • Saturday: Pick a fun activity or try a new fitness class! (i.e.: Hiking, spin class, yoga, etc.)
  • Sunday: Stretch / Rest

And if you’re looking for longer-term workout motivation, plus the added benefit of accountability, checkout the Super Youth Community, where people just like you looking to get and stay healthy while supporting one another.