Tick Tock Goes the Clock…When Should I Workout?

Hello, everyone! I’m glad to have the opportunity to “chat” with you while Joi is off vacationing (lucky little duck! Did you see how she spent the first half of her vacation?). Have fun Joi! Today I wanted to talk to you about the best time of day to workout. Not only does this interest me from a research standpoint but I often get asked this question. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and you need at minimum 30 of them to commit to exercise. But when should those minutes be?

Tick Tock Goes the Clock…When Should I Workout


Recent studies have indicated that you’re at your peak around 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm.  There was a study in Chronobiology International a journal focused on biological rhythm (think  circadian rhythms, shift workers, etc.) found that you can get your best moves in at 6:00 pm. Around this time of day, your core temperature is hottest, your joints are more supplest, nerves are firing, and muscle flow is strongest. If you want to lift, jump, run, skip or hop it seems that 6:00 pm is the best time to do it. Because testosterone is more responsive around these early evening times, it makes for a great way to pump some iron. Don’t worry, women! We don’t have enough testosterone to look like Arnold!

If only it were that easy though. Work out at six and then be done with it. There’s so much more that goes into than just picking a time based on what a study says. I myself am just walking in the door from work at six. The chances that I’m going to walk right past my family, dinner, and go to the gym are pretty slim. But if you wait too long then you’ll keep yourself awake because you have all those endorphins running through your body.

So then why not switch it to an early morning workout? Get the endorphins running and revved up for the day! This is actually a great idea for those suffering from insomnia. That way you let your body get some rest, slow down and get ready for sleep. If you have too many commitments in the evening, an early morning workout might also be for you. “Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” says Cedric Bryant, CSO with ACE (American Council on Exercise).

I read tons of other studies and at the end of the day, it still boils down to you needing to assess your life, your situation, and your likes and dislikes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you having fun? Do you like the type of “exercise” you’re doing? (Tip: don’t call it exercise if that leaves you with a negative feeling. Call it moving your body, playing your sport, anything but exercise).
  • Where are you working out? Do you need to drive there? Is it closer to work or home?
  • Do you enjoy group classes? When do they have the classes you like at the nearest gym?
  • Are you working out with a partner? What time of day will work best for both of you? (Tip: having a partner is a great way to push more and get more accountability).

But above all, you need to determine what is going to keep you consistent. It’s consistency in workouts, in your eats, in your sleep that will lead you to that body you want to show off at your next reunion, or on the beach, or just to hear your doctor say that you are the healthiest you’ve ever been.

What time of day works best for you? Do you have a partner or go to group classes? What step do you need to take to become consistent?

Real Into
My name is Carla Bruns. I’m a forty something fitness, food, and healthy living blogger living outside of St. Louis. I hold a BS in Psychology, am a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Spencer Pilates Instructor, Zumba Instructor and Brand Ambassador.  You can come live the healthy life with me over at Real Into. There you will find my latest obsessions in food, fitness, health, and all things fun.

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Hi this is Joi! Thank you for supporting Carli as the guest today!  Please chime in the discussion and answer her questions or show her some love!

If you are interested in guest posting here at Rx Fitness Lady, visit here and join the PFL community!

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Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

41 thoughts on “Tick Tock Goes the Clock…When Should I Workout?

  1. Oh how fun to see you here! I love it. Early morning is a great time because the temperatures are so tolerable here. Although this spring has been on the cool side so it’s been more flexible. I figure since the kids woke me up anyway, I can work out. In my version of a perfect world, I would sleep in but that’s not longer a possibility here.
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  2. Great post Carla (Carli). I agree. Around 6 pm when I get from work, I feel me core temperature hot, my joints are supple, and my nerves are definitely firing, but I always chuck it up to the stress of the evening 😉 . I work out at 5 am in the mornings. It’s the most convenient time for me. If I miss it, I’m toast. I’m pretty consistent because this is MY time and I really need and enjoy it.

    EnJOI your vacay Joi 🙂

    Read more: http://rxfitnesslady.com/tick-tock-goes-the-clockwhen-should-i-workout/#ixzz2WfR0eePm
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  3. Thank you for the scientific insight, Carla! I always appreciate learning from others who have study their craft well.
    I am a huge fan of working out early in the morning but with my 10.5month old sleeping next to me that time is out of the question. So now I workout immediatly after work at about 4:15pm. It’s not my most favorite time but I will take what I can get right now and so far it is getting the job done. 😉

  4. I love this post, I was wondering if I should change from after work to early morning workouts, but now I know that I am working out at the best time. I realize when I workout in the early evenings I am motivated to do more and go harder. In the morning or early afternoon I only want to do 30-45 minutes of exercise. But in the evening I can easily do a 1:30 – 2 hrs and I am still pumped for more! I just have to go immediately after work because if get relaxed I will skip it. That is what I am working on!
    Hope G recently posted…Pretty In PinkMy Profile

  5. Hiiiiii Carliiiii 🙂 I’m loving that you are here today!!

    I mix it up, 2 days a week I’m early 2-3 days I go during lunch. AM workouts are better because I don’t have a choice if I am out of the bed…but midday workouts can become tricky when work gets busy!

    Night workouts for me are so rare but when they do happen (like last night) I am SO damn wired, i can’t sleep! ugh!
    Nellie recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Dumbbell ReachMy Profile

  6. Love seeing Carli over here!!!
    Great post & tips for times and ways to make sure you have time to exercise!!!
    I’m a morning exerciser – even if it has to be at 4:30am!!!
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  7. Having worked out at many different times of days, I will say that during the evening is when I get the best work out. The only thing I hate is that the gym is always so crowded after work! Sunday afternoons is usually a ghost town and the time I enjoy the most, but the couch takes me hostage!
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  8. I yank myself OUT OF BED and get to the gym immediately – so I don’t think about it… JUST GO – If I give myself time to think, I will think about how much I don’t want to do it, and then working out will just feel so painful! Like today, I got up a little earlier than I needed so I told myself that I could sleep for 15 more minutes – MISTAKE!!! My work out was that much harder because I gave myself time to THINK! lol
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    • You can do it! Even if you need to break it up into small 10 minute time slots studies show that the cumulative effect throughout the day is just as good as doing it in one chunk. You just need to make it intense if you choose to do it that way!
      Carli recently posted…How to Detox After a Food BingeMy Profile

  9. Hi Carla, I am Joi’s mother. Thank you so much for posting on my first born site. I exercise alone at home early in the morning about 6:00 am I am consistent. I may consider group fitness in the near future . I have been inspired by Joi.

    • It’s so nice to meet you! I’ve heard many wonderful things about you. I’m also a first born and my mom visits my site quite often. 🙂

      Consistency is the key so that’s wonderful! I saw that you went to one of Joi’s classes in the past. I’m sure she’d love to have you back!
      Carli recently posted…How to Detox After a Food BingeMy Profile

  10. It depends on my mood… I have days where I feel like working out before work (like today, I got up at 5:30 AM to go to the gym before getting ready for work) other days I prefer working out after work…depends on what group class is offered at night. When I work out in the morning, I’m pumped up for work a lot more, but when I work out at night right after a hot shower, I just want to relax and enjoy the comfort of the couch. But I agree, either way get in at least 30 minutes of workout out of the day 🙂
    Rhea recently posted…{miscellany monday} mud run, clearance win, and a freebie!My Profile

  11. Pingback: How to Detox After a Food Binge | Real Into

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