What's The Best Time To Work Out If You Want To Build Muscle?
What's the best time to work out?
Does it even matter? Or is it more important to show up and train hard, regularly?
This article delves into the research behind the best time to work out. So if you're concerned that when you train is affecting your gains, read on.
And if you'd prefer to listen to the audio version of "What's The Best Time To Work Out?", click the play button below.
Is The Best Time To Work Out Irrelevant?
The best time to work out is largely irrelevant. Because, if you're like most people, you don't have the freedom to choose.
More often than not, work, family life, and social commitments take priority. Often leaving you to squeeze workouts in wherever possible. And if you're in this situation, the best time to work out is whenever you can get it done.
Regardless of what the research says, the reality of life dictates when you should train. So don't overthink it.
But what if you DO have the luxury of picking the time you train? Or maybe you're curious if you're missing out on gains by training at 4 am?
Thankfully, the boffins have been hard at work.
This study from 2017 looked at strength, muscle growth, and hormone differences between those training at 7.30 am versus 4.00 pm. So let's delve into the results and conclusions of the research.
What The Research Says About The Best Time To Work Out
Maximal force and power are generally considered to be lower in the morning. So powerlifting is unlikely to be optimal at 5 am.
But specific analysis of whether this impacts hypertrophy is not 100% conclusive. However, this study provides insight and direction into the effects of training time on building muscle.
The study lasted 12 weeks, involving 25 untrained men, who were split into 3 groups.
- Morning group, training at 7.30 am.
- Afternoon group, training at 4.30 pm.
- Control group, who did nothing #lazy.
Each of the training groups worked out twice a week and followed a hypertrophy-style programme. Exercises included leg press, knee flexion, knee extension, and 5 upper body and core exercises.
The results were somewhat uninteresting. Although, they do provide clear direction on the best time to work out.
Strength increased in both groups, but with no significant differences. And there was also no significant difference in fatigue or muscle size. Added to that, there were no significant differences in testosterone and cortisol levels. However, anabolic signalling did see some differences. But this didn't appear to affect the amount of muscle growth.
Is There Any Other Research?
Other studies are looking at the best time to work out. But they have limitations. For example, this study from 2016 found greater strength and muscle gain training in the evening. However, this study looked at strength combined with endurance training. And may not have controlled for the impact of other variables.
Therefore, it's almost impossible to know if these differences were a direct result of the time of day or other factors.
So all-in-all the time you train is irrelevant.
The Bottom Line On The Best Time To Work Out?
Whether you look at the available research or your calendar, the best time to workout is whenever suits you.
Being consistent with your training is far more important than the time you work out. Turning your life upside-down to train at 5:47 pm, in the hope of building more muscle, is not worth it.
Therefore, the best time to work out is the time that allows you to be most consistent. So choose a time of day that suits your schedule and allows you to perform at your best. Essentially, going to the gym is more important than when you go.
And if you're concerned about the effectiveness of your workouts, focus more on other variables, such as nutrition, sleep, and mood. Fuel your training, optimise recovery and nourish your body with high-quality nutrients.
These are the things worth spending your time and energy on.
What are your thoughts on the best time to work out? Has this article put your mind at rest? Or are you still going to fuss about the time of day you train? Let me know in the comments below.
Here's The Next Step In Achieving Your Fitness Goals
After reading this article, you might be excited at the prospect of transforming your physique and fulfilling your genetic potential. And to do that, you need training, nutrition, and mindset to be aligned.
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