Cardio can be tough to do even at the best of times. It’s a mental battle like none other. With summer come and gone, winter is approaching, and motivation can be hard to come by. But we all know – summer bodies are made in winter. Whatever form of cardio you choose to do, below we discuss when exactly you should do cardio, and the pros and cons of each.
Working out in the morning is probably the best way to start your day. Increasing endorphins and moving your body sets you up to have a productive and energetic day. As they say, ‘Win the morning, win the day!’
Cardio in the morning is especially effective if your goal is to reduce body fat, as the body is forced to burn stored fat in order to move. Doing so on an empty stomach can also improve these benefits. Studies also show that working out in the morning can reduce levels of stress and result in better mental health.
Now whilst these benefits are great, if you aren’t exactly a morning person, there’s no need to force yourself up and smash your body. Doing so will only have adverse effects.
MID-DAY / AFTERNOON
Smashing cardio during lunch time or in the afternoon sounds like a drag, with this time commonly being the hottest part of the day. However, it does have its benefits! Your body has more energy around this time, especially if you have eaten a meal or two. The added glucose can allow your body to train at a higher intensity. Studies also acknowledged that the body burns 10% more calories during the afternoon compared to early morning and late night.
The midday workout can also combat the “afternoon slump” and keep those energy levels high!
There are many misconceptions when it comes to the night time session. Many believe that exercising this late in the day can have negative effects on your sleeping pattern, as the hormones released from exercising will keep the body ‘perked up’. This is hardly the case, with studies showing that an evening session can be exactly what the body needs for a great rest.
The issues surrounding this cardio time, is that by the end of the day – motivation may be low, the body may be tired, and the individual will skip it all together. Life can also get in the way, and your workout could be thrown out the window.
An interesting finding during one study believed that training in the evening over a period of time led to the hunger inducing hormone ‘Ghrelin’ being reduced, in turn helping the effects of weight loss.
SO, WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME?
If you HAD to pick one – cardio in the mornings would be the winner. However, there is no definitive right or wrong time to train and each person and their goals are different. Any chance you have to train – train! The benefits of jumping on the treadmill, rower, bike or anything that gets the heart rate up will no doubt help in your fitness journey!
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