Does training first thing in the day or in the afternoon have more benefits?
Exercising in the morning doesn’t have to have more benefits than doing it in the afternoon if we stick to science-proven physical benefits. That is, no matter how many myths there are about it – it is often said that you burn more body fat if you train first thing in the morning on an empty stomach – the reality is that you can get similar benefits training in the morning or in the afternoon . “In the case of a professional athlete, when the difference with his competitors is very fair, we could assess the different options, but in cases like those we normally train every day the difference between training in the morning or in the afternoon is negligible. In amateur people, the important thing is that they are physically active and follow healthy habits. These small details will hardly be appreciated. The time to exercise is more decisive from the point of view of generating adherence ”.
Our body adapts when we decide to train
Although later we will talk about other benefits that training can have first thing in the morning, the reality is that our body is wise and ends up adapting to the time of day in which we decide to train. Although it is true that there are studies that confirm that the afternoon is a good time to train strength due to the body temperature that our body has at that time, the reality is that the body has the ability to adapt to our schedule . “It is true that there are certain factors such as body temperature that favor certain sports practices at certain times, but in the end each person has a biorhythmAnd the body has a central clock that controls the different muscle clocks that move in 24-hour cycles. If a person always trains strength in the morning, those muscle clocks will anticipate such action and the person will perform better regardless of the time. The organism has the capacity to adapt to almost everything ”.
The most important thing is planning
If because of your biological clock, lifestyle and schedule, it is better for you to train in the morning, go ahead. As Miguel Rojas, director of HiitStudio explains , although you can achieve the same results on a physical level training in the morning or in the afternoon -the important thing is to work with the appropriate load, choose the correct training and establish rest periods-, do Exercise in the morning has other added values, according to the expert:
-It allows you to fulfill the routine more comfortably.
-Helps secrete hormones that will make you more energetic and happy the rest of the day.
-Helps to regulate the appetite for the rest of the day and to sleep better.
Essential: warming up
Although warming up is a fundamental part of any sports routine, whether done in the morning or in the afternoon, when you train first thing in the morning it takes on even greater importance. As Rojas explains, if it does not warm up well they have a greater chance of injuring themselves “since the structures have not moved and are not prepared for the workload first thing in the morning.” Therefore, dedicating about 15 minutes to a differentiated warm-up in several parts, “will ensure training with a lot of energy, performance and safety”.
Hydration is essential
This is another maxim to keep in mind when exercising, but if we do it as soon as we get up, it is even more so. After all night without having hydrated, if we do not do it before training, performance can be affected, as well as the risk of suffering a muscle injury. “Ideally, you should drink a moderate amount of water before doing physical activity. And if the activity were to be longer than 45-60 minutes, hydrate ourselves while we do it ”, explains Ruiz López. You can drink a glass of water before training or, as Rojas explains, an energy drink with about 4 grams of sugars. “So we add that little glucose point to give us performance.”
A coffee without sugar is also a good idea
If we talk about training in the morning, the big question is whether it should be done on an empty stomach or not. Some experts consider that when training fasting an autophagy occurs that uses other metabolic mechanisms to obtain energy and thus burn more calories, but in general the recommendation is to go little by little and do it only if we want to and can. However, it is important to know that if you prefer to have breakfast before training, the ideal is that 90-120 minutes elapse between eating food and performing physical exercise. Another alternative is to have a coffee before, since, as Rojas explains, there is scientific evidence regarding its relationship with fat burning. “Of course, milk and sugar add totally unnecessary calories,” he points out.
The importance of prioritizing strength exercises
We once again dispel myths since, as the HiitStudio expert explains, there is no real evidence that fasting cardio training burns more subcutaneous fat. In fact, both he and Juan Ruiz López agree that prioritizing strength training (better if it is with loads) always gives good results. Although there are many options – personalized training always helps – Rojas proposes an example of morning training focused on fat loss:
- Monday : strength work of pushing movements ( bench press , vertical press , pulley press …) + hip dominants (deadlift, gluteal bridge, horizontal jumps …). In total, 3 blocks of 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, ending with 25 minutes of continuous cardio to increase caloric expenditure.
- Tuesday : strength work of pulling movements (chest pulls, one-hand rows, pullovers …) + knee dominants (knee extension, squats, vertical jumps …) + 15 min of cardio in short series.
- Wednesday : walk at a good pace for an hour listening to your favorite podcast.
- Thursday : we repeat the structure of Monday but focusing on strengthening the weakest parts of our chain.
- Friday : we repeat Tuesday’s structure but strengthening the weakest parts of our chain.
- Saturday : walk at a good pace with a friend.
- Sunday: rest.