Lifting weights at anytime helps you develop more lean body mass to better manage your weight, ward off disease and experience life to the fullest. If you are looking for an edge, however, you might switch your weight workout to the evening. Your body is warmer and primed for hard work later in the day. A well-respected paper published in the вЂњBritish Journal of Sports MedicineвЂќ in 1998 reported that muscle strength results were 20 percent higher after strength training sessions scheduled in the evening when compared to those scheduled for the morning.
Your body temperature rises by a few degrees during the later hours of the day which results in warmer connective tissues and muscles. At night, you are closer to your peak body temperature than in the morning. Warmer muscles mean more flexibility, strength and power. A paper published in a 1996 issue of вЂњSports MedicineвЂќ notes these aspects of sports performance peak in the early evening, close to the daily maximum in body temperature. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise officer at the American Council on Exercise, agrees and recommends you save power movements for the evening.
Your body needs glycogen, energy stored in the muscles, to perform at its best. In the morning, your glycogen levels may be low because you are exercising after an eight to 10 hour fast. In the evening, you have a whole day's worth of eating behind you so your energy levels are primed to take you to your maximum abilities. Just ensure you've made smart, healthy choices to support your fitness aspirations.
Injury, Pain and Hormones
You tend to be more alert and awake in the evening, which can help protect you from injury. Evening workouts also tend to feel less hard and painful than morning exercise. Additionally, your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that inhibits muscle growth, are also diminished in the evening, says a 2008 study in вЂњWorld Journal of Sports Sciences.вЂќ
Although you may be in a better place physically to lift weights in the evening, you may be more inclined to skip these workouts. A tough day at work can leave you mentally drained, which could affect your motivation to head to the gym. During the day, unexpected work, family or friend obligations may arise just at the time you planned to hit the weights. If you lift in the morning, you are sure you have gotten it done and may experience more consistency in training. Also, pay attention to your own personal body rhythms. Some people are more primed for a morning workout and if you are one of them, you are best sticking to that routine.