By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Which is better, working out first thing in the morning or later in the day? Early workout proponents say that exercise before breakfast “tricks” the body into burning stored fat. Others say that working out later allows the body to fuel up for an optimal performance.
A topic of much debate in the fitness world, the timing of one’s workout may not make a huge difference.
Garrett Bacher, personal trainer with a master’s degree in exercise science and nutrition, owns ATR Fitness in Webster. He doesn’t see much benefit in the early workout time.
“I believe the best time for an individual to work out would be the time that best fits their schedule and allows them to be the most consistent,” Bacher said. “Consistency is the key to obtain the physique a person desires.
“Consistent workouts and proper meal planning will ensure results. For the average person timing will not make a difference.”
He likes to work out at 5 each morning because it ensures he fits his workout into his busy schedule and “it makes me feel fantastic throughout the day.”
Kaitlyn Vittozzi leads yoga classes at Finger Lakes Yogascapes in Canandaigua. She also believes that listening to your own body’s needs and energy levels makes a difference.
“You should take note of how you feel,” she said.
The activity and the intensity of the movement involved also makes a difference.
“It may require a different energy level to lift weights than go for a run,” she said. “If you don’t have a lot of food in your stomach, you’re less sluggish.”
But on the other hand, a very vigorous workout may need you to fuel up first.
“Don’t push yourself so you’re so hungry that you can’t complete the workout,” Vittozzi said.
Early birds should also make sure they plan to get a good night’s rest before their workouts. Staying up too late will make it much harder to workout at sunrise.
Those who work out later should take care that their exercise doesn’t hamper their sleep.
“Resting is a process and it does take a bit to wind your body down,” Vittozzi said. “If you want to go to bed at 10, you have to start the process a couple hours before.”
Vigorous workouts before bed can hamper good sleep, so allowing enough time to relax after an evening workout can help ensure better rest.
“If right before bed is the only time you can work out, look at something like yoga or barre that’s less stressful than a high energy class like spinning,” Vittozzi suggested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends engaging in 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity per week, such as walking, biking or swimming and performing muscle-strengthening activity twice per week, such as lifting free weights, using exercise bands, performing body weight exercises or using a weight machine. The activity doesn’t need to take place all at once; however, as Bacher said, consistency is vital for promoting good health.