Exercise When it’s Right For You
What time of day is the best time for your workout routine? With the popularity of the home workout routine, people have more flexibility than ever to exercise at different times of the day. Here is a rundown of how to schedule your workouts to get the most out of them.
1. When you’ll actually follow through – duh.
Obvious right? Don’t get hung up on the details. Exercise and healthy eating will always trump all other advice. Unless you’re injured, sick, or overtrained, exercising is better than not exercising. Schedule your workout routine when you are confident that you’ll do it.
2. When you feel like it.
Nothing trumps the psychological edge you have if you feel like exercising. As simple as this sounds, effort equals results more than any other one factor. This means that if you’re a night owl, work out at night. Morning person? Work out first thing in the morning. Any time you’re in the mood to really Bring It will work because, by far,the biggest physiological changes happen to your body when you push yourself further than you’ve pushed yourself before.
3. When your glycogen stores are full.
This one’s a bit more technical. Your body can push itself anaerobically longer and harder if you begin your workout with a full tank of muscle glycogen. This will let you lift more weight, jump higher, move faster. Glycogen is mainly recharged by carbohydrates, and is extinguished very quickly with exercise, brain activity, and most other tasks. This means it is always highest immediately after you digest a meal containing carbohydrates.
At night, your body can store glycogen, meaning that it’s possible to wake up and train in the morning before you’ve eaten and still have enough energy to get through a workout, but this is a theoretical scenario. Most of us, especially when we’re training hard and not eating a ton, will burn through glycogen recovering from the prior day’s activities. The result is that those early morning workouts can lead to something called “the bonk,” which is what happens when your body runs out of glycogen. Essentially you lose the ability to push your anaerobic realm, and you feel like you’ve hit a wall.
Bonking is not one of those “good pain” times. When your body is out of glycogen, it starts to break down muscle tissue and you quickly begin to offset the fitness gains you’ve made. It’s inevitable that it will happen to you at some point. When it does, don’t try and push through. Instead cut your losses and get on the recovery program by eating, resting, and then reevaluating your eating schedule and/or choice of workout times.
If exercising when your glycogen stores are low is the only time of day available, you can fix the situation nutritionally. If it’s first thing in the morning, eat a half or a whole banana, If that helps, try adding another serving of complex carbohydrates to your evening meal and then skip the banana. If that doesn’t work (you’ll know if it doesn’t—bonking isn’t subtle) it means you’re on a nutritional edge and aren’t eating enough calories to recover from your workout program. It’s time to reevaluate your daily caloric intake.
4. In the morning on an empty stomach.
If you do your workout program in the morning before you’ve eaten, your body is forced to utilize its fat stores for energy. You can train your body to be efficient at doing so, which is cool. You’re also “burning fat,” which sounds even cooler (although it’s not nearly as effective as “burning glycogen” when it comes to losing body fat). While fantastic, in theory, it’s not if you force your body into a situation where you bonk.
5. At night before bed.
This time of day is last for a reason. Unless it is really the only time you will work out or the only time you feel the best, you should probably avoid it.
Many people do a home workout routine because they are busy and can’t go to the gym, but working out directly before bed can affect your sleep. Most people have a hard time getting to sleep after a workout because exercise can throw off your melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, among other things. This isn’t ideal because sleep is very important for recovery. It’s when your body naturally produces most of its own performance-enhancing drugs in the form of hormones. Anything that hurts your ability to sleep should be eliminated if possible.
Exercise also utilizes a lot of nutrients, which are further depleted at night. If you’re on a strict diet, perhaps trying to lose weight, you run further risk by training and then not eating to recover from the workout prior to bed.Post originally appeared on www.beachbody.com
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