What’s the best time of day to exercise?

To jumpstart your health and fitness, arrange your day so you can get maximum benefit from your exercise session.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, the time of day you exercise may make a big difference.

People who exercise at a consistent time of day are better able to maintain their weight loss, according to recent research.

A recent study, published in Obesity, looked at 375 adults who had successfully maintained weight loss.

It found that most engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise at a consistent time of day, with early morning being the most common time.

Health coach Ali Cavill says exercising in the morning means you’re more likely to actually do it, creating a consistent routine you can better stick to.

The benefits of morning exercise

As the day races by, it’s easy to lose the time you set aside to work out, and find yourself cancelling that gym session because you’re too busy or tired.

“I love morning workouts as it not only gets it out of the way, I believe it affects your day in a

positive way by giving you an immediate energy boost and increased mental clarity that can

lead to higher productivity,” says Ali,  owner of Fit Fantastic.

“Ticking your workout off your list early also leads to a sense of achievement and establishes a healthier mindset, making you less likely to undo your hard work through unhealthy eating and making you more mindful of what you eat during the day.”

You’ll burn calories throughout the day

“Metabolically speaking, morning workouts allow you to burn more calories all day long,” says Ali.

Gone for a morning run only to find yourself ravenous come lunchtime?

“As you burn energy, the body requires more food and stimulates the hunger hormones,” explains Ali.

So it’s important to refuel with healthy foods to help your body recover and keep your energy stores full.

Don’t forget to keep up your water intake too – you want to avoid becoming dehydrated, and sometimes thirst can feel a lot like hunger.

Not a morning person?

Struggling to emerge from the doona and get out of the door early?

Remember that any exercise is better than none at all – the Obesity study also found that consistency in the timing of physical activity was associated with higher physical activity levels, regardless of whether people exercised in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

Top tips to spring into a morning exercise routine

  • Prepare your kit and pack your bag the night before, including preparing a motivating playlist that will enhance your workout and help you get started quicker,” says Ali.
  • Put your alarm on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
  • Splash your face with cold water to help yourself wake up.
  • Find a workout buddy to keep you motivated.
  • If you find it hard to keep going once you start exercising, “trick” yourself: “Make your goals more achievable by telling yourselves that you are going to exercise for just 15 minutes per session. Most likely when you get to that stage, you will want to keep going.”
  • Afterwards, reward yourself with a delicious healthy feed, such as a protein-packed smoothie or breakfast bowl. “And a coffee never hurt either!” says Ali.

Written by Samantha Allemann.