Best-TimeIt’s time to get real about “time.” The funny thing is, we all have the same amount of hours in the day. Nobody has more, and nobody has less, no matter who you are.

But we all seem to not have enough time.

That’s because our days are overflowing with things to do. Cleaning, showering, shopping, cooking, eating, sleeping, driving, working, running errands, fixing things, finding things, spending time with family and friends, relaxing, and more.

Phew! With all of that to do, I think it’s pretty amazing we actually get so many things done!

But there is one thing missing from that list. Something very important and it should be a priority in all of our lives—exercise.

What good is the time we have and the things we do unless we are healthy and have energy? How good will our days be unless we feel good about ourselves? In a few years from now, will you look back and think, I really LIVED?

If you don’t already exercise most days of the week — start today. You won’t regret it.  It doesn’t need to be 2 hours a day, in fact I recommend 30-60 minutes. Research is highly in favor of shorter, more intense workouts.

Since we are all trying to maximize our time, one of the biggest questions I get is this—what is the best time of day to work out? Because trying to fit in a workout into our already hectic days is not very easy. But we want to do the best possible job we can.

Is morning, afternoon or evening best? Should I workout before or after a meal? Should I get up extra early to do my workout first, before everything else? Or should I do it right before bed?

For me, workout times have changed over the years. When I was in college beginning to exercise, I would usually get it done before dinner, after classes were done. When I first got married and started working a full time job, I became a morning person and would wake up and go to the gym for 5:30am group fitness classes. When I had babies, however, this all changed. I couldn’t bring my kids to the daycare at 5am. I was often sleep deprived , up often in the middle of the night or side tracked by sick clingy children. Then I started working for myself which means my schedule is WONKY. I don’t have regular business hours and it is very easy for excuses to get the best of me. These days I prefer to workout in the morning before I talk myself out of it. I teach many classes in the evenings, so that is that, but those classes aren’t *MY* workout — I am there to inspire, teach, lead, and make sure my class members have the best workout of the week right there!

The good news is, according to WebMD.com, there isn’t any reliable evidence that tells us there is a certain time of day that is best to workout. That means you can plan your workout at a time of day that makes sense to YOU.

Are you a morning person? Then do it in the morning. Are you more alert mid-morning and can you schedule a workout then? Is there a gym close to your work and would you enjoy a lunchtime exercise session? Or maybe you would look forward to an evening workout?

It is really up to you. The main thing is – pick a time of day you can stick with. If you aren’t a morning person, it’s not realistic to force yourself to get up at 5 a.m. to workout. Maybe you’ll do it for a few days or weeks, but over the long term it’s probably not going to happen. And that’s okay. I do suggest giving yourself 7-10 days to acclimate to whatever new schedule you are trying out for yourself. After awhile you will start waking up without the alarm and look forward to the energy burst you get from your morning workout.

There is one strong argument for morning workouts. Sometimes our days get busier as the day progresses… someone is sick or needs help, or you have to run to the bank and pick up your child from soccer practice. Then you have a work deadline or have an event to prepare for, and it eats up your entire evening. If you had already done your workout in the morning, you wouldn’t have to worry about time getting away from you the rest of the day. exercise-in-the-morning1-300x218

But the thing about morning exercise is that you do need to go to bed on time and try to get enough sleep. So make time for that- or you may start feeling worse rather than better.  Set a bedtime and stick to it. Start your bedtime routine well before that time so you are ready to lay down in time. It may take some practice, but eventually you can change your habit. And who knows? Maybe by spending more time sleeping, you’ll be more rested and better able to tackle the day ahead.

If lunch or dinner are better times for you to workout, then stick to that — just be careful to plan your meals carefully; eating on a full stomach is not very comfortable. 🙂

What if you aren’t sure what time of day is best for you? Commit to two weeks starting with morning, and if you can’t stick to it, try another time of day. Keep trying until you find the best time of day for YOU.

After all, this is your time. So make it count.