When you decide to try to lose weight by setting up a workout schedule, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is what time of day to work up a sweat. Is working out in the morning or evening better for weight loss? We've attempted to find out!
Learning how to establish a consistent workout routine is one of the main challenges of our addictive new show Altar'd: Couples are challenged to lose weight 90 days before their wedding day — with the added twist of doing it completely separately, revealing their transformations only when they meet at the altar. Tune in to Altar'd every Tuesday at 8PM. Find out where to watch the show, and learn more about Altar'd here.
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The Case For Morning Workouts
One of the main advantages to working out in the morning, is that for it’s often an easier time of day to stick to, because there’s less going on. Workdays run long, plans arise, but those few hours of sunlight before work are rarely interrupted.
On a physical level, your body burns more calories after you workout as a product of something called the “afterburn effect” or "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumptions." This piece by Make Your Body Work explains how this effect can last up to 14 hours, and to have it during the day while you’re eating can help limit calorie storage. Working out at night makes for this process to occur mostly during sleep, when you’re not taking in new calories.
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The Case For Evening Workouts
While there are less interruptions in the morning, having a full day before an evening workout can help you build energy to get it done. This piece by Women’s Health also points out that it can help curb stress and improve sleep, both important parts of establishing a consistent workout schedule.
While there’s the “after-burn-effect” argument for morning workouts, there’s also the metabolism argument for evening workouts. The Daily Mail reported on a study from the Clinical Research Centre Of The University Of Chicago, which tested the blood of teams of men doing hour-long exercises at all different times of the day. The study found that, “Exercise in the evening and at night elicited large increases in the levels of two hormones important for energy metabolism, cortisol and thyrotropin.”
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What’s unclear, is if the improved metabolism of working out at night is as efficient with calories as eating throughout the day with under the “afterburn effect.”
So Which Workout Time is Better For Weight Loss?
First off, establishing a regular and consistent workout routine—morning or night—is by far the most important thing.
When deciding how to curate your schedule, however, we suggest setting aside time for both morning and evening workouts throughout the week. Why deprive yourself of the clear psychological and physical benefits of each side of the day? Also, experiencing both might help you discover a true personal preference, which you should feel comfortable taking on no matter where the sun is.
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