What's the best time of day to work out? Or does it even matter in the grand scheme of things? Should the focus just be consistency and quality of your training sessions?
For most of us, the best time to exercise is usually irrelevant. Like most people, you don't live in a gym 24/7 and have the freedom to choose.
Life does tend to throw weird and wonderful curveballs at us, and other commitments like work, family and social life often take priority. This leaves you squeezing your training sessions in wherever possible. When consistently faced with this scenario, the best time to train is whenever you can allocate some time to get it done.
Regardless of what the research says, your schedule dictates when you should train. Like any goal in life, true success comes from being consistently adherent.
But what if you do have flexibility in the time you train? Does it matter? There have been numerous studies conducted over the years with mixed results, and it's almost impossible to know if these differences were a direct result of the time of day or other factors.
So long story short, the time you train is irrelevant. Whether you refer to the latest in-depth scientific literature or simply refer to your calendar, the best time to work out is whenever suits you.
Training consistency and progression is far more critical than the time you work out. Turning your life upside-down to train at the same time as Mary in work mentioned, in the hope of hitting those goals, is not worth it and, more importantly, will have little or no impact.
Choose a time of day that suits your schedule and allows you to train with an intensity to promote progression. Essentially, turning up and doing the work consistently is far more critical than the time of day you turn up
If you're worried about the quality of your workouts, focus on the bigger picture - variables like nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress, energy levels, and mood.
Bring it back to the basics and try not to muddy the water with noise that may have little or no benefit to your end goal. Fuel your training, optimise your recovery and supply your body with high-quality nutrients.
These are the things worth spending your time and energy on.
Micheál Penston is the Head Coach at FM Fitness and Nutrition based in Westport, Co Mayo. They specialise in helping busy men and women create the healthiest versions of themselves by educating and empowering all their lifestyle areas: fitness, nutrition, recovery, and behaviours. You can grab a free copy of the 5 Stage Health and Fitness Kickstarter or find out more about their online and in-person coaching methods at www.fmfitnessnutrition.com or social media handles @fmfitnessnutrition