Study Suggests Exercising In The Morning vs. Evening May Affect Your Fitness Results
Exercising around a busy schedule often comes down to squeezing your sweat sesh in wherever you have a spare moment, regardless of the time of day. It's undeniable that working out is great for your body whenever you can get it done, but new research1 shows that depending on your fitness goals you may benefit from being more intentional with the time at which you're working out.
Conducting the study.
In order to determine the benefit of fitting training into certain times of the day, one small study took 27 active women and 20 men and measured their fitness progress over the course of 12 weeks.
Participants began at the same baseline fitness level, and the study monitored various measures of strength progress, abdominal fat loss, and other health markers. The researchers ensured that participants also followed a similar macronutrient-dense diet.
Benefit of exercising in the morning.
In this study of active people, female participants who completed their strength training in the morning (6 to 8 a.m.) displayed not only improvements in lower-body power in exercises such as jump squats but also a significant reduction in total and abdominal fat. "It's important to highlight these favorable body composition changes occurred in the absence of changes in body weight," the study specified.
Benefit of exercising in the evening.
As for evening workouts (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.), female participants in this group were found to have better success in increasing upper-body strength, power, and endurance.
In terms of body composition, women who exercised in the evening still experienced a reduction in total body fat but less significantly than their morning workout counterparts. Instead, they were found to have better success with overall muscle growth, which can be useful to take into consideration when looking at fitness goals. "Exercise in the evening may provide improvements in upper body muscular performance, and possibly mood enhancement," the study authors note.
As for men, those who exercised in the evening experienced the same change in body composition as the a.m. fitness group, but working out in the evening offered a more significant reduction in blood pressure.
Other ways to optimize your health.
Outside of exercise and a balanced diet, including probiotics within your routine may be beneficial for improving digestion time and supporting the maintenance of a healthy weight. In fact, mbg's probiotic+ contains several key strains used to ease bloating and promote gut health while reducing abdominal fat mass.*
For example, the targeted probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis B420 is clinically shown2 to combat stubborn belly fat and reduce waist circumference, making it a valuable addition to your wellness routine in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.*
One probiotic+ user Adrienne B. shares, "I'm on my third bottle and will be making this a forever supplement. My digestion seems improved, and my stomach looks flatter. Very effective overall."*
Naturally, it's still vital to maintain the other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, but this can help give your gut and body a little extra support.
It should come as no surprise that women and men react differently to exercise, but this study reveals exactly how much gender and the time at which you workout can play into body composition, strength gains, and overall fitness improvements. Separate from even your diet and the workouts you're doing, catering your exercise time to specific goals can allow you to create a more targeted approach to fitness (and even boost your mood, in the case of evening workouts!)
At the end of the day what really matters is that you're taking the time to work out and prioritize moving your body, whenever works best for you. But if you want to get granular, looking at the time you're exercising may play a role.
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.