Is It Better to Work Out Morning or Night? A CPT Gives Their Insight

You’ve finally figured out what kind of workouts you will actually do consistently. The only question on your mind is your darn schedule—plus, of course, the optimal exercise timing to get The Gains. 

What is the best time of day to lift or run? Do morning workouts or evening workouts lead to better gains? While some may swear by their fave time of day, the answer generally is: it depends. Here’s what it depends on, so you can figure out what’s best for you.

Key Takeaways

Exercise consistency is what matters, not so much the time of day you choose to work out—so working out when you have the time and energy is best.

Sticking to a morning routine can be easier, and some research shows that endurance performance may be best in the morning.

Studies suggest that body temperature correlates with strength performance, which may peak in the evening. (1)

Does it Matter When You Work Out?

The broad answer is no; the specific answer is maybe. If you’re looking to build healthy habits and get regular physical activity, any time of day that you can consistently stick to your workout routine will improve your health and well-being.

The same is somewhat true for more specific fitness goals. Whether you’re trying to increase strength, build muscle, lose fat, or train for an endurance sport, the most important factor will still be consistency. Doing what you need to do repeatedly and sticking to your program throughout the weeks, months, and years will get you where you want to be. 

But you and your gym buddies aren’t the only ones with this question. Researchers have tried to plenty of times to nail down the best time of day for aerobic exercise and strength training. Studies consider how the time of day may affect your circadian rhythm, body temperature, hormones, energy levels, and sleep quality—and how it all impacts your exercise performance. 

Most research comes to conflicting conclusions. Consistency always wins out; whichever time of day is best for you, that you enjoy and will do, is the best time to work out. If you’re dedicated to your workouts and know that you can do either time, depending on the day, that’s great, too. Here’s what to know about the research and what to consider about your schedule.

Benefits of Working Out in the Morning

If you’re a morning person and thrive on getting up before the sun to hit the gym, by all means brag about it—and continue your morning workouts.

If you’re on the fence, here’s the research on morning exercise:

Fat-Burning Potential: If you work out on an empty stomach before breakfast, research suggests that fat burning may be higher since you’ve been fasting overnight. Fat burning doesn’t necessarily mean body fat burning; it just means that your body uses stored fat as its primary form of energy instead of carbohydrates from the food you just ate. (2)

Could Be Better for Weight Loss: A 2021 review of studies found that for people with obesity, consistent exercise timing (particularly in the morning) can lead to better implementation of fitness habits. Since many people already have a morning routine, adding exercise seems more feasible. Morning exercise was also associated with self-regulation throughout the rest of the day. (3)

Aerobic Exercise Performance: Here’s where it gets controversial. One review of studies compared aerobic and anaerobic exercise in the morning and the evening. Results are conflicting. Some studies found that men doing high-intensity cycling in the morning had higher endurance at 65 percent of their VO2 max. Other studies on cycling found participants had a higher heart rate during morning workouts. (4)

Another study found that for people doing concurrent training or combined strength and endurance training, exercise performance and improvements were the same in both the morning and the evening. Morning workouts leave more time for social life and may be better since socializing is important for well-being, too. (5)

May Lead to Better Sleep Quality: Several studies examine the impact of exercise timing on sleep quality. Regular exercise, in general, often improves sleep. Here are the findings on morning exercise.

One study compared moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity exercise performed in the morning and evening. Participants reported more calm sleep after morning moderate exercise than evening moderate exercise; however, they felt more rested the next day after moderate evening exercise than vigorous morning exercise. (6)

The study also found, at all intensities, better sleep efficiency after morning exercise than evening exercise. Morning exercise also led to fewer times waking up at night than evening exercise. (6)

Another study found that moderate-intensity exercise in the morning led to an earlier bedtime and better deep sleep than evening exercise but that overall sleep quality did not differ. (7)

Another study finds that while short-term evening exercise may not reduce sleep quality, long-term morning exercise may improve sleep more because it may decrease cortisol levels, the stress hormone. (8)

Hormone Secretion: Hormone secretion and circadian rhythm may change at different times of the day but also may depend on your assigned gender at birth. Research has been mixed. Cortisol levels may be higher in the morning, while testosterone levels vary. The theory is that since exercise can further increase cortisol, doing it in the morning while it is already high may keep the levels more stable overall, but it’s not an exact science. (4)

One study examined the impact of morning and evening exercise on cis women and cis men. For women, morning exercise led to greater body fat reductions and lower blood pressure. (9)

[Read More: The Ultimate Workout Split, Created by Our Experts]

Drawbacks of Working Out in the Morning

Here’s what may hold you back from a 6:00 AM workout.

Motivation and Energy Levels May Vary: If you’re a morning person, you may feel motivated and energized to perform your best in your workout. If you’re a night owl, you may dread waking up and be more likely to skip it. Research shows that people who do not identify as morning people find morning exercise less enjoyable. (3)

Childcare: Parents and caretakers may need to care for their children in the morning, not allowing them to get an early morning workout in—though you could try to squeeze in an at-home workout before they wake up. Then again, if you don’t get to bed early enough, you’ll be sacrificing sleep, which is also important for your health. (3)

Empty Stomach: Some people enjoy fasted cardio or strength training, and some prefer to eat before working out. If you prefer to eat first but also don’t like to eat first thing in the morning, this poses a problem for early morning workouts. 

Benefits of Working Out in the Evening

Whether you’re a night owl or have a flexible schedule and love afternoon workouts, working out in the evening is equally beneficial for health and fitness goals. Stick with what works for you. For the lifters out there, a little more research suggests that late afternoon and evening exercise may be better for strength and power performance.

Here’s why:

Higher Body Temperature: They call it a warm-up because you want your muscles to be warm while you exercise. Research suggests a correlation between your natural body temperature and muscle performance. Your core body temperature may peak between 2:00 and 6:00 PM, and research suggests optimal physical performance may range from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. (1)

Strength and Power Exercise Performance: Research suggests that for every one degree Celsius increase in body temperature, muscle performance improves by two to five percent. So, a naturally higher core body temperature (in a neutral climate) may lead to more muscle strength and better physical performance for short-duration, maximal exercise (like strength training, power workouts, and sprinting). (1)

The same research notes that you may be able to achieve similar results in a morning workout with an adequate warm-up or by working out in a hot or humid environment. (1)

Other studies show that for high-intensity, short-duration exercise, performance may vary from 3 to 20 percent for the same workouts performed in the morning or the evening, with the lowest levels in the morning and peaking in the evening. (10)

A study on exercise timing for concurrent training found that performing strength before endurance training in the evening led to more muscle hypertrophy than in the morning. The researchers also found that cortisol and testosterone levels remained the same. (11)

More research finds muscle power in cyclists, grip strength, knee flexion, power, and torque are all higher in the evening than in the morning. (3)

One potential mechanism is that people may have a higher work capacity for long-duration, high-intensity exercise in the late afternoon or evening. This may be due to body temperature fluctuations or having eaten more throughout the day. (4)(13)

Evening exercise may increase muscle performance more than morning exercise for cis women. For cis men, evening exercise may increase fat burning and reduced fatigue and blood pressure more than morning exercise. (9)

Also Good for Weight Loss: Some research suggests people may be more likely to exercise regularly in the morning. On the other hand, another study (and many others) found that for people with obesity, getting regular exercise at any time of day may lead to weight loss. Nutrition, of course, plays a more significant role. (14)

New Study on Obesity: A new study comparing morning and evening exercise was done on people with obesity, with and without type 2 diabetes. The study found that people who got moderate-intensity aerobic exercise after 6:00 PM had the lowest risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and microvascular disease. This result could be because insulin sensitivity may improve in the evening. (15)

Also Improves Sleep Quality: While more studies suggest morning exercise is better for sleep quality, a new study finds that regular exercise, regardless of timing, improves subjective and objective measures of sleep quality, including longer time spent in deep sleep. (16)

Relieves Stress After a Long Day: Exercise can be great for stress relief. After a long day, some people look forward to blowing off steam at the gym. 

[Read More: Steps for Restful Sleep After Late Night Workouts]

Drawbacks of Working Out in the Evening

May Interfere With Sleep Quality: Although any exercise is better than no exercise for sleep, high-intensity exercise in the evening may interfere with sleep quality due to a higher heart rate, body temperature, and potentially stress hormones. (16)

One study found that morning aerobic exercise is better for people with high blood pressure. Blood pressure lowers while you sleep, so it is naturally a bit lower when you wake up. Exercising in the morning at a lower blood pressure causes less stress on the cardiovascular system. (17)

Lower Motivation and Energy Levels After a Long Day: Though some look forward to relieving stress after a long day, others may be less inclined. If your motivation and energy levels dip after a long day at work, it can be tough to motivate yourself to keep pushing. There are also more opportunities for distractions and roadblocks to hitting the gym when you wait until the end of the day.

Strength Training Performance May Not Be Better: Although much research suggests marginal better physical performance for strength and power training in the evening, other research shows no difference. So, no need to feel locked into the evening if you’ve got serious strength goals but prefer the morning. (4)

[Read More: Struggles People Who Work Out in the Evening Understand]

Who Should Work Out in the Morning

Still undecided? Here’s a list of who should work out in the morning. (Remember, too, that you don’t have to pick just one—you can alternate as needed, as long as you’re consistent overall.)

Morning People: Here’s the most obvious group—if you’re a morning person, you feel your best in the morning, and you like working out in the morning, you should work out in the morning.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Enthusiasts: For those who love the high-intensity grind, HIIT workouts may be more suited to the morning to avoid sleep interference.

Endurance Athletes: Endurance may be higher in the morning, so morning endurance workouts would make sense. 

People With Busy Schedules: Carving out an hour before the day gets packed for people with busy schedules may help them stick to their workout routine.

[Read More: Powerbuilding Workout Routine, With Tips from a CPT]

Who Should Work Out in the Evening

Here’s who may want to do a late afternoon or evening workout.

Night Owls: The opposite of morning people, night owls may feel more energized and alert in the evening. If that’s you, and you like evening workouts, that’s when you should do them.

Strength Athletes: Strength athletes may want to train while their natural body temperature is highest. Studies suggest body temperature correlates with strength and power performance, peaking from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. 

Bodybuilders: Small studies also suggest more muscle gains in the evening, but you can, of course, build muscle in the morning, too. Just train and eat enough.

Flexible Schedules: If you have flexibility in your work day and prefer to sleep a little later in the morning, going to the gym in the late afternoon or evening may be a good choice.

[Read More: The Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain]

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s the bottom line on what you asked about morning versus evening workouts. 

Are morning or evening workouts more effective?

Both are effective when done consistently. Some research suggests aerobic performance is higher in the morning, while strength performance is higher in the late afternoon or evening.

What is the best time of day to exercise for improved sleep?

Low and moderate-intensity exercise at any time of day improves sleep. For high-intensity exercise, the morning may be better.

Are morning workouts better for weight loss? 

Some studies show it may be easier to stick with a morning routine, but others show that exercise at any time of day can lead to weight loss. Consistency (and nutrition) matters most.


Mirizio, G. G., Nunes, R. S., Vargas, D. A., Foster, C., & Vieira, E. (2020). Time-of-Day Effects on Short-Duration Maximal Exercise Performance. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-17.

Iwayama K, Kurihara R, Nabekura Y, Kawabuchi R, Park I, Kobayashi M, Ogata H, Kayaba M, Satoh M, Tokuyama K. Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast. EBioMedicine. 2015 Oct 30;2(12):2003-9. 

Schumacher LM, Thomas JG, Raynor HA, Rhodes RE, Bond DS. Consistent Morning Exercise May Be Beneficial for Individuals With Obesity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2020 Oct;48(4):201-208. 

Seo DY, Lee S, Kim N, Ko KS, Rhee BD, Park BJ, Han J. Morning and evening exercise. Integr Med Res. 2013 Dec;2(4):139-144.

Küüsmaa-Schildt M, Liukkonen J, Vuong MK, Nyman K, Häkkinen K, Häkkinen A. Effects of morning vs. evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, sleep and well-being. Chronobiol Int. 2019 Jun;36(6):811-825. 

Ramos-Campo DJ, Ávila-Gandía V, Luque AJ, Rubio-Arias JÁ. Effects of hour of training and exercise intensity on nocturnal autonomic modulation and sleep quality of amateur ultra-endurance runners. Physiol Behav. 2019 Jan 1;198:134-139. 

Saidi O, Colin E, Rance M, Doré E, Pereira B, Duché P. Effect of morning versus evening exercise training on sleep, physical activity, fitness, fatigue and quality of life in overweight and obese adults. Chronobiol Int. 2021 Nov;38(11):1537-1548. 

Kim N, Ka S, Park J. Effects of exercise timing and intensity on physiological circadian rhythm and sleep quality: a systematic review. Phys Act Nutr. 2023 Sep;27(3):52-63. doi: 10.20463/pan.2023.0029. Epub 2023 Sep 30. 

Arciero PJ, Ives SJ, Mohr AE, Robinson N, Escudero D, Robinson J, Rose K, Minicucci O, O’Brien G, Curran K, Miller VJ, He F, Norton C, Paul M, Sheridan C, Beard S, Centore J, Dudar M, Ehnstrom K, Hoyte D, Mak H, Yarde A. Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men. Front Physiol. 2022 May 31;13:893783. 

Chtourou, Hamdi1,2; Souissi, Nizar1,3. The Effect of Training at a Specific Time of Day: A Review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(7):p 1984-2005, July 2012.

Maria Küüsmaa, Moritz Schumann, Milan Sedliak, William J. Kraemer, Robert U. Newton, Jari-Pekka Malinen, Kai Nyman, Arja Häkkinen, and Keijo Häkkinen. 2016. Effects of morning versus evening combined strength and endurance training on physical performance, muscle hypertrophy, and serum hormone concentrations. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 41(12): 1285-1294.

HillDavid W.. 2014. Morning–evening differences in response to exhaustive severe-intensity exercise. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 39(2): 248-254.

Brooker PG, Gomersall SR, King NA, Leveritt MD. The efficacy of morning versus evening exercise for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Jan;31(1):83-95. 

van der Velde JHPM, Boone SC, Winters-van Eekelen E, Hesselink MKC, Schrauwen-Hinderling VB, Schrauwen P, Lamb HJ, Rosendaal FR, de Mutsert R. Timing of physical activity in relation to liver fat content and insulin resistance. Diabetologia. 2023 Mar;66(3):461-471. 

Goldberg M, Pairot de Fontenay B, Blache Y, Debarnot U. Effects of morning and evening physical exercise on subjective and objective sleep quality: an ecological study. J Sleep Res. 2024 Feb;33(1):e13996. 

Fairbrother K, Cartner B, Alley JR, Curry CD, Dickinson DL, Morris DM, Collier SR. Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2014 Dec 12;10:691-8. 

The post Is It Better to Work Out Morning or Night? A CPT Gives Their Insight appeared first on BarBend.


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注