Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Lift & Burn

The Pros and Cons of Morning and Evening Workouts

There are pros and cons to working out at different times of day, so deciding when to train isn't all that simple.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

One of the best ways to create a healthy, consistent routine is to go to the gym or work out at around the same time everyday.

Obviously, everyone’s schedules vary, so you exercise when you can or when you prefer. But are there distinct benefits to working out at certain times of the day? If you haven’t found your rhythm yet when it comes to the time of day you work out, consider the following pros and cons of exercising in the morning versus those of working out in the evening.

Morning Workouts

Pros

  1. If you work out in the morning, you might opt to do so on an empty stomach. The effects of this vary depending on the person, but studies report that fasted exercising leads to more rapid fat burning. Harvard Medical School says that when a fasted body uses energy, it taps into stored fat and turns that into sugar or turns protein from muscle into sugar.
  2. Exercise is proven to release endorphins, therefore working out in the morning may put you in a good mood and set you up for a productive, positive day.
  3. When you work out in the morning, you have the rest of your day free for everything else in your schedule.

Cons

  1. Early morning workouts mean you could be waking up at an ungodly hour. If you don’t get to bed early enough the night before, you’ll be losing essential sleep.
  2. You’ll need extra time to warm your body up before you hit the weights. If you don’t give your muscles enough time to loosen up, you risk injury.

Evening Workouts

Pros

  1. According to the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, peak muscle performance happens in the early evening due to core body temperature and hormone levels.
  2. Because you have a full day of eating under your belt, you might feel more energized. A study from England’s University of Birmingham reports that the average athlete can work out for 20 percent longer in the evenings.
  3. A common misconception is that night workouts will disturb sleep, but that’s not necessarily true. Sleep Medicine writes that vigorous exercise in the evening benefits sleep schedule, leading to quicker muscle recovery.

Cons

  1. One study released in 2019 shows that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stay consistent with their workouts compared to those who work out in the evening.
  2. In the evenings, you may lose the ability to do things such as outdoor running and cycling.
  3. The later you work out, the later you eat dinner. This isn’t true for everyone, but sometimes eating later at night can disrupt your sleep cycle. You also might be more inclined to choose unhealthy choices late at night.