When is a good time to train?
Chris Owen, a newly appointed fitness manager for Springs and scrum-half for a North-East rugby team, has been giving the matter a great deal of thought.
In his first article for Mail2, he lists the most popular alternatives and recommends which is best.
THERE are three main times of day when most people workout in the gym.
There is the early-morning session for those who prefer it before setting off for work, the lunchtime break, and the evening post-work period.
For some, of course, it is not a question of choice. They have to fit in the sessions when they can.
So do their training and goals suffer?
Training in the morning is practical but in my view isn’t necessarily best for muscle gain. The morning trainer has undergone a six to eight-hour fast with no intakes of protein, carbohydrates, or fat.
There isn’t the energy needed to promote strength and muscle gains. Indeed, the contrary can be the case – quite catabolic in fact.
A lot of people believe the morning is optimal for fat loss, particularly if someone is dieting and training. It isn’t and I have evidence to substantiate the claim.
Training in the morning leaves the rest of the day without exercise. That slows down the metabolic rate.
Rather than a morning workout I recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to replenish muscle glycogen and leave actual exercising until later in the day.
To be honest, squeezing in a training session at lunchtime is not much better. It can be stressful, hard, and doesn’t really provide much time for the training session.
By the time part of the normal lunch hour is used for pre and post-workout nutrition, actually getting to the gym, changing into training gear, and so on, little time is left for the actual exercising.
I personally believe training in the evening is best for these reasons:
1. It involves less stress – no rushing back to work.
2. There is time to prepare and have proper pre-workout nutrition.
3. Training doesn’t have to be rushed.
A careful study has revealed that over a 10-week period a group of weight trainers, who held their sessions in the evening, enjoyed a three per cent increase in muscle mass plus a four per cent decrease in body fat.
A similar group of morning trainers exercising over the same period suffered less than a one per cent increase in lean muscle mass, plus a five per cent increase in body fat.
If you are a morning training person perhaps you might like to think about switching to evening sessions.
Something else to ponder is: would alternating training times have a positive effect?
Some people contend that alternating training times can have a good effect on strength and the building of muscle.
I agree, but I also feel that training to shock muscles is best achieved by changing training style rather than training times.
Alternating training times is a subject which can spark off interminable discussion and argument. But I definitely feel that sticking to training after a day’s work is by far the best.