A few years ago (before SparkPeople), when I realized that I was becoming overweight and knew that I was out of shape, I joined the gym that I now belong to. I had a group of friends who were members, one of whom was big into fitness.
My friends convinced me that early morning was the best time of day to work out. Apparently, the thought at that time was that exercise in the morning was a great jump start to your day. It "woke the body up" in a sense and sharpened the mind, similar to a cup of coffee. According to my fitness friend, the fitness community thought at that time that working out in the morning had the most positive benefit to the metabolism, and that working out later in the day could actually have a negative effect.
Since I wanted to improve my metabolism, I forced myself to climb out of bed at 5:15 so that I could be at the gym by 5:40. I worked out from 5:40 to 6:40, then showered and got dressed for work in the ladies dressing room. I'll admit that I did learn to enjoy spending time with the same group of ladies 3-4 mornings a week as we would do our strength training together or work out on the elliptical or treadmill, but honestly, I never loved climbing out of bed an hour earlier than my night-owl body wanted to. Also, I discovered that I had to have my cup of coffee before going to the gym in order to be awake enough to not hurt myself on the equipment. After nine months of working out 3-4 mornings a week (but not watching calories), my body felt more tone, but I had not lost (or gained) any weight, nor had my more tone body caused me to drop a pants size; therefore the body wasn't much tighter, as I would have hoped. Eventually, I quit going to the gym, and at the end of that year's membership, I let it lapse.
About six months later, I joined SparkPeople and got serious about losing the weight through healthy eating and nutrition with calorie tracking. When the weight-loss plateaued, I joined an afternoon exercise class and suddenly discovered that this was the time that my body seemed to love to exercise! The remainder of my weight came off and my body got tone. I ultimately dropped 3 pants sizes with the 25 pound weight loss. Since then, I've rejoined Healthtrax (our local gym) and participate in a different exercise class up to 5 times a week. Though they have a 6 a.m. class, I always go to one that starts at 4:30 or 5:30 PM, and continue to love the way the late afternoon classes give me the energy I need to complete my evening work, but still be ready for bed when our home shuts down for the evening.
I'm a night owl and it makes sense for me to not try to push myself early in the morning when I'm trying to "slip into the day." Plenty of people love the morning, and face each day with a smile and lots of energy. I'd love to hear your experience. When do you prefer to exercise? If you post a blog entry about your favorite exercise time, please send me the link. Otherwise, I'll enjoy reading your comments here.
For your interest, I'm linking a CNN Health article below. It is titled: Experts disagree on ideal time of day to exercise.
Have a great week, Spark Friends!