Exercise Early or Late? When Is The Best Time to Workout?
Best time to workout: Exercise isn’t optional. It’s not only good for aerobic conditioning, muscle strength, and athletic performance but it improves your blood glucose levels, as well as your respiratory, cardiovascular, joint, and emotional health. Yet many people wonder when is the best time to work out to get the most benefits out of it. We are all unique and different. We have different genes, predispositions, lifestyles, and goals. Therefore, there is not a specific time that is the most beneficial for everyone.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the factors to consider when scheduling your workouts, when exercise timing is irrelevant, what are the benefits of working out in the morning, and the pros of exercising in the afternoon or night.
Factors to Consider When Scheduling Workouts
There is not a time that works for everybody. So, you should keep in mind different factors when scheduling your workouts. Take into consideration your availability and identify your body’s internal clock. Think about the following questions and be honest with yourself: are you a morning person or is your energy level higher in the afternoon? When does working out feel better for you? When is the best time in which you can realistically exercise?
When Exercise Timing is Irrelevant
Sometimes the time of the day in which you exercise doesn’t matter. If you have a condition, exercise training should be a regular component of your healing protocol. But if you are dealing with a health condition or not, the best time to work out is the time in which you are actually gonna do it.
- Exercise is beneficial for everyone and, many times, the time of the day doesn’t play a significant role. Research has shown that exercise plays an important role in the prevention of many diseases, the promotion of healthy longevity, and the treatment of conditions such as depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease among others.
- If you have cardiovascular issues, you benefit equally from exercising in the morning and in the afternoon.
- Exercise timing doesn’t seem to have a great impact on general fitness performance. Studies show that performance and VO2max (the maximum capacity of the body to take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise – this reflects cardiorespiratory fitness) don’t seem to be significantly affected by the time of the workout (AM vs.PM).
- The time in which you exercise doesn’t appear to affect food consumption either. Studies show that morning exercise can have an effect on satiety levels (feeling full) in comparison with afternoon exercise but appetite and food intake are not affected by different workout times.
- Exercise timing doesn’t seem relevant for people with asthma. A study compared the effects of regular asthma treatment (asthma medication and education) along with supplementary physical training at different times in asthmatic children. Children were divided into a morning exercise group, an afternoon exercise group, and a group with no exercise. Children in the training program showed improvements at many levels (respiratory muscle strength, resting heart rate, running distance, and sit-up performance) in comparison with the children who didn’t exercise. However, there were no significant differences between those exercising in the morning compared to the afternoon.
That being said, working out in the morning and working out in the latter part of the day have both unique advantages. Read on to identify what’s the best time of the day to exercise according to your specific circumstances. Learn all the benefits associated with working out in the morning and the pros of exercising in the afternoon.
Benefits of Morning Exercise
The following are some reasons why you should exercise in the morning:
- If you don’t necessarily love working out, it may be better to do it in the morning so you get it done. Many times, afternoon workouts get postponed or canceled because people prefer to engage in other activities more enticing to them.
- If you have high blood pressure, you may want to work out in the morning. Moderate-intensity exercise early morning (7 a.m.) has shownto evoke optimal changes in blood pressure and improve sleep overall. Another study showed that post-exercise hypotension occurs at different times of day, but the systolic hypotensive effect and reductions of cardiac output are greater after morning exercise.
- If you have sleep issues, you may want to work out in the morning. A studyshowed that morning exercise decreases the number of wake stages, helping improve nocturnal sleep quality.
- If you want to feel energized and uplifted throughout the day, you may want to train in the morning. Exercise has a positive impact on your energy, confidence, and mood. So working out early can positively impact your day.
- If you want to increase your activity levels during the day, working out in the morning can help. Research shows that exercising in the morning increases non-exercise physical activity throughout the day.
- If you are a teenager or have adolescents, morning exercise has great effects on them. Research has shown that early workouts are great for their body but also help improve cognitive function during school.
- If you have a sporting event or want to enhance exercise performance in the afternoon, you may want to engage in low-intensity exercise in the morning. Astudy showed that doing low-intensity cardio in the morning produced higher physical fitness test scores and anaerobic power in the afternoon.
Pros of Working Out Latter in the Day
The following are some reasons why you should workout in the afternoon or night:
- If you want to release some stress from your day, you may want to exercise in the latter part of the day. Research shows that working out improves the way your body handles stress by affecting hormonal responses and neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) that influence mood and behavior. Exercise, also, serves as a break from stressors and provides a calming effect.
- If you have issues with stiffness or conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid, or osteoarthritis, you may want to work out in the evening. Studiesshow that evening exercise decreases stiffness and increases mobility the following day.
- If you have type 2 diabetes, you may benefit from exercising in the afternoon. Astudy showed that high-intensity interval training was more efficacious than morning HIIT at improving blood glucose in those with type 2 diabetes. Anotherstudy showed that blood glucose rose during fasted morning resistance training, whereas it declined with the same afternoon workout. Hyperglycemia and blood glucose concentration were also more frequent and higher after fasted morning exercise than after afternoon sessions.
- If you feel very overheated when working out, you may want to exercise in the afternoon because the body’s ability to remove heat load is higher in the late afternoon. Research shows that, compared to morning sessions, skin blood flow is higher and body-temperature-increments during exercise are lower during afternoon sessions.
- If you play basketball, you may want to do your strength and conditioning training in the afternoon. A study showed that basketball players had better performance (jump height & power), and reported better sleep duration when engaging in training in the afternoon versus in the morning.
Exercise helps you to avoid disease, live longer healthier, and maintain a positive state of mind. There is evidence to advocate exercise at different times of the day according to specific situations. In the big picture though, there are no humongous differences between morning and afternoon training. The main factor making a difference in your desired results is staying consistent with exercise
. The best time to work out is the time of the day in which you are actually gonna get it done, whether you do it in the morning or in the afternoon.
To a Healthier Fitter You,
The Fitness Wellness Mentor
Tips to Boost Growth Hormone
Being in the fitness and mental health field for years as a coach and mentor, I hear some people over forty complain about their discomfort with certain bodily changes. They complain about mood changes, a decline in energy, strength, muscle mass, sex drive, as well as their lower ability to burn fat as they used to. Those are issues that can’t be ignored. They are not only physically uncomfortable and bothersome symptoms but emotionally distressing. In actuality, these symptoms are associated with lower secretions of growth hormone (GH).
Below we’ll take a deeper look into growth hormone and cover the following topics:
- What’s growth hormone?
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Benefits of growth hormone
- Growth hormone-raising exercises
- Supplements to raise growth hormone
- Lifestyle tips that improve growth hormone levels
- Foods that boost growth hormone
What Is Growth Hormone?
Growth hormone – GH (also known as human growth hormone -hGH- or somatotropin) is a peptide hormone made by the pituitary gland and secreted into the bloodstream. It stimulates growth, cell reproduction, cell regeneration, and overall human development. Additionally, GH is used for performance enhancement and as an anabolic agent.
GH influences other hormones as well. It stimulates the production of IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1 – a hormone similar to insulin involved in growth and anabolic states) and testosterone (this hormone helps increase muscle mass, fat loss, energy, strength, libido, and it’s involved in mood, cardiovascular / bone / brain health).
Unfortunately, hormone production declines over the course of the years. By age 55, growth hormone levels have declined one-third of what they used to be between the ages of 18 to 35. Some people experience growth hormone deficiency even younger, which brings a wide range of symptoms. Severe deficiencies can reduce people’s ability to function – both physical and psychological, deteriorating their quality of life.
Symptoms associated with GH deficiency:
- Decreased muscle mass
- Diminished strength
- Increased body fat
- Cholesterol abnormalities
- Issues in the blood and circulation
- Poor bone density
- Low energy and stamina
- Concentration and memory problems
- Lowers testosterone levels
Benefits of Growth Hormone
A recombinant form of hGH called somatropin is used as a prescription drug to treat children’s growth disorders, adult growth hormone deficiency, and growth hormone decline.
GH injections have several benefits:
- Denser bones
- Increases muscle mass
- Helps burn more fat
- Improves strength and power
- Lower risks of heart disease
- Increase positive feelings and sexual drive
- Better ability to fight cell degeneration – important for antiaging and immunity
How to Increase Growth Hormone Levels Naturally
Fortunately, there are different ways in which you can increase growth hormone levels naturally as well. You can create huge metabolical changes by modifying your exercise routine, diet, and daily habits.
Growth Hormone-Raising Exercises
One of the greatest growth hormone boosters is exercise. Studies
show that there is a linear relationship between the magnitude of the increase in GH release and exercise intensity. However, not all types of exercise affect your hormones equally. Research
shows that endurance training /prolonged exercise, such as long-distance cardio, results in decreased resting GH, GH, and IGF-1 levels. Resistance training, on the other hand, results in significantly higher growth hormone stimulation
Here are some of the protocols needed to elicit higher GH responses:
- Weight training using short rest intervals, heavy loads, and exercise intensity above lactate threshold for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIITT): In this exercise strategy, you alternate between short periods of intense activity with periods of recovery – 2:1 ratio of work (30-40 seconds) to recovery (15-20 seconds) is the most common.
Higher intensity exercise and strength training are not only beneficial for your health and training outcomes but they help reduce the impact of aging. Just be mindful not to overtrain in order to avoid affecting GH negatively.
Supplements that Help Raise Growth Hormone
Supplementation can aid to raise GH levels. The following are some of the supplements associated with higher GH release:
is essential for proper cell replication, immunity system, mood, as well as for prostate, bone, joint, colon, and digestive support. Additionally, research
shows that Vitamin D increases circulating IGF1, which as you learned, influences GH.
is a hormone that’s involved in sleep and blood pressure regulation. Additionally, studies
have shown that melatonin supplementation increases basal GH release. You take 1–10 mg 30 minutes before bed, getting started with a lower dose.
helps to build protein
, release nitric oxide in the blood, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and ease inflammation in the digestive tract. Additionally, arginine enhances exercise performance and boosts GH. A study
showed that taking 1,500 mg of arginine significantly elevated GH during resting conditions.
GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID (GABA)
is a non-protein amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter. It has a calming effect on the brain and helps ease anxiety, stress, insomnia, and balance blood pressure. Research
shows that ingesting GABA elevated resting and postexercise GH by about 400%.
is a non-essential amino acid that can help increase muscle endurance and training volume, and reduce fatigue.
compared the effects of creatine and creatine plus beta-alanine on strength, power, body composition, testosterone, cortisol, growth hormone, and IGF-1. The group taking beta-alanine presented significantly greater improvements in strength, lean body mass, and body fat percentage.
is a natural supplement used to boost energy, athletic performance, and build muscle and strength. It can promote brain health and the stabilization of blood sugar. Research
shows that 20 g of creatine enhances GH secretion.
(or levodopa) is an amino acid produced from the amino acid, L-tyrosine. It’s a precursor of dopamine that plays a role in epinephrine and norepinephrine and has even been used to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Besides increasing dopamine in the brain, research
shows that L-dopa stimulates growth hormone secretion.
is the most abundant free amino acid in human blood and is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. It is crucial for your immune system, as it fuels white blood cells, and for intestinal health. Glutamine also contributes to gaining muscle and performing physically. Research
shows that 2 grams help increase GH levels.
is a nonprotein amino acid important for conditions that involve an excess of ammonia – liver conditions or prolonged exercise. It has an anti-fatigue effect and even helps with hangovers. Paired with arginine, ornithine helps improve lean mass and power output. Studies
show that taking ornithine 30 minutes after strength training increases GH.
Lifestyle Habits that Improve Growth Hormone
One of the factors that promote the natural boost of GH is sleep
. Growth hormone is secreted during the delta wave part of sleep and follows your circadian rhythm. It is recommended to get a good night’s sleep
since most GH secretions are released by the brain into the bloodstream while you sleep. This is the time in which your body repairs itself.
Another factor related to inadequate GH levels is stress. It has numerous negative effects
. Stress not only has devastating effects on your emotional health but disrupts bodily functions and systems. Additionally, it affects the production of growth hormone and many others.
Fasting, or refrain from eating, has huge benefits. It helps to lose weight, decrease inflammation (which is associated with chronic disease), improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and great for heart and brain health, as well as for longevity. Fasting has even produced great results in delaying tumor growth in animals. Furthermore, fasting enhances GH secretion
HEALTHY HABITS BEFORE BEDTIME
Since sleep is directly related to GH, it’s wise to instill habits that facilitate deep sleep. Eating can spike insulin levels which disrupt sleep patterns as well as the release of GH. This is why you should avoiding food right before bedtime. At the same time, sleeping with the phone, computer, or TV on, and heavy alcohol/drug use disturb your sleeping cycles. Try to eat at least 2 hours before you go to sleep and turn off the electronics in your bedroom.
Foods that Boost Growth Hormone
Now that you understand the types of training that increase the release of GH into your system, it’s time to address your diet. The food you consume plays another vital role in your hormonal system. But it’s not only about what you consume, it’s also about what you remove from your diet. Read on to find out what foods stimulate growth hormone.
One of the compounds that negatively affect GH is sugar. The regular consumption of processed sugar, commercial sugary snacks, sugary drinks, and baking goods should be avoided because they increase blood sugar levels and decrease GH levels, facilitating fat storage. Additionally, try to avoid sugar post-workout and before sleeping so you can obtain the GH boost that exercise and sleep can give you.
is not a food but it’s an essential compound for survival. Hydration is necessary for proper hormone functioning.
is very unique since it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid, which are easily converted to energy. Coconut oil
has anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties. Research
shows that MCT
increases circulating growth hormone.
RAW CACAO OR DARK CHOCOLATE
Cacao, unlike hot chocolate or a chocolate bar, comes directly from cold-pressed cacao beans and has no added sugar. It is high in healthy fats, magnesium
, potassium, iron, and theobromine (a healthy stimulant like coffee). Cacao contains serotonin, phenylethylamine (a neurotransmitter known as “the love drug”), anandamide (a natural antidepressant), and tryptophan (which stimulates dopamine and HGH production). You can get cacao’s benefits by consuming dark chocolate
, cacao powder
(making a hot chocolate or adding it to smoothies), or cacao nibs
(adding them to smoothies, oatmeal, or kefir).
Arginine is one of the amino acids that boost GH synthesis. Arginine-rich foods include dairy, red meat, eggs, chicken, turkey, seeds, nuts, legumes, and brown rice.
is made from whey – the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. Whey protein combined with resistance exercise has shown
to have a significant effect on growth hormones and muscle strength.
Colostrum: This is the milk secreted during the first few days after a mammal is born. Colostrum contains not only nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals but also bioactive components like antimicrobial factors and growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factors I (IGF-I). IGF-I can mimic most effects of GH and GH’s effects on skeletal muscle are mediated by IGF-I. Studies
show that colostrum increases blood IGF-I concentration, positively affecting GH.
As you know whey and colostrum are dairy products high in nutrients. Other great dairy options that help boost HGH production are greek yogurt and kefir but you must consume high-quality clean sources to get all their benefits. Commercial milk processing (pasteurization, homogenization, and centrifugation) denatures bioactive proteins and RNA molecules and alters the bioavailability of fat-soluble components. It also contains antibiotics, pesticides, and synthetic growth hormones. On the other hand, raw milk is very nutritious because it has bioactive components, including whey proteins, transcription factors, immunoglobulins, omega-3 fats, and microRNAs. Raw milk consumption is associated with hormonal, gut, and lung health, and a lower incidence of asthma and allergic diseases. Check out a US listing
of raw milk near you. If you can’t find raw dairy products, at least choose organic
Grass-Fed Organic Beef
Beef is powerful, containing beneficial fatty acids (CLA- conjugated linoleic acid), iron, selenium, zinc
, and vitamins B12, B3, B6, and E filthy. However, not all beef is the same. Conventional beef, unlike organic beef, contains harmful pesticides, genetic engineering (GMOs), bacteria, antibiotics, and the animals live in filthy confined factory farms and are fed corn and soy. Additionally, there is grass-fed and grass-finished beef. Grass-fed animals are fed grass most of the year but can receive supplemental grain feed while those with a grass-finished label graze on grass in the summer and alfalfa in the winter. The beef is 100% grass-fed, grass-finished, organic, and free-range beef.
Eggs help provide the good cholesterol needed for hormone production. Eggs are also loaded with vitamins, amino acids, DHA, and EPA that help promote HGH secretion. It’s best to buy free-range organic eggs instead of conventional.
Various algae that you find in the ocean are consumable and highly nutritious. They help alkalize and detox your body, have anti-inflammatory properties, and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids. These algae help amplify GH release as well. Some of the most powerful algae are spirulina
, or blue-green algae
. These algae help amplify GH release.
Nuts provide a boost of L-Arginine to stimulate HGH and testosterone secretion. They are very convenient and easy to incorporate into your diet.
Legumes are a great plant-based source of protein, fiber, and arginine. Fava beans are rich in L-Dopa and a powerful options for increasing HGH levels.
Foods rich in melatonin increase melatonin secretion at night. Melatonin helps you sleep longer and deeper which is associated with enhanced HGH production. Melatonin-rich foods can increase GH release by up to 157% and they include milk, eggs, fish, mustard seeds, tomatoes, nuts, grapes, tart berries, goji berries, pomegranates, watermelons, raspberries, and pineapples.
Goji berries are at the top of the HGH-producing food list. Goji berries contain vitamins, 22 minerals, essential fatty acids, and 18 amino acids.
Watermelon is high in L-Citrulline amino, an amino acid that converts to Arginine and promotes GH.
Pineapple is not only high in melatonin. It’s a great source of serotonin – a feeling-good neurotransmitter that can relax you and help you sleep. Having some pineapple at night 30 – 60 minutes before bedtime can increase GH and testosterone production.
In the quest to get the benefits associated with growth hormone, you should take specific steps. Boost growth hormone levels by following the suggestions above. Integrating GH-enhancing workouts, the right foods and supplements, sleeping enough, fasting periodically, and dealing with stress adequately can elicit hormonal responses that raise GH. In this manner, you will be more apt to gain more muscle, lose fat, remain strong, have a healthy sex drive, be in better spirits, and experience more antiaging properties.
To a Fitter Healthier You
The Fitness Wellness Mentor
It can take months of hard work to build up fitness, but while your strength can quickly fade if you stop exercising, you might not have to start from scratch again.
Getting in shape isn’t easy. But after all that hard work, how long do we actually maintain it? It turns out that even after the great effort we put into training, taking a bit of time off can mean that we become “unfit” much faster than it took us to actually get in shape.