What Time of Day Do You Exercise (if you do)?

I’d be interested in hearing from you on when you exercise. What time of day works best for you?

For years I would jog and lift weights right when getting home from work. For the last year or so I’ve been getting up early to exercise.

Both have their drawbacks — when I exercise in the morning, it feels like it delays the start of my day; when I exercise after work, it feels like it delays the start of my evening with my family.

What works best for you?

July 28, 2009 | Filed Under Managing Yourself | 25 Comments 

Comments

  • john mark

    I workout Monday mornings, Tuesday nights, Thursday mornings, Friday afternoons, and Saturday nights. This coincides well with my schedule (I’m a pastor) and my time with family.

  • http://southwoodsbc.org/youth Ben

    I work out at 6:20 every weekday morning. If I wait until the end of the day, I will likely find an excuse not to do it. It also helps me to memorize Scripture while I work out, and begin my day with mind and body focused on serving God.

  • James

    Whenever the baby is sleeping, although the most reliable time is before she wakes up in the morning. It means early mornings for me, but it really gets my body awake.

  • http://dailyjesus.info Seth

    I used to exercise in the morning, but since my work day now starts in the 5:00 hour, something needed to change. Mornings worked especially well for me since I would listen to sermons at the same time before the rest of my family was up. Now, to keep from delaying family time, my wife and I have our exercise equipment set up in the basement and exercise together 3 days a week when I get home. The kids aren’t always excited about this, but it is possible to securely hold and console a whiny 7 month old while using a NordicTrack ski machine…contrary to public opinion.

  • http://www.truegraceofgod.org Ken Puls

    I exercise each weekday morning, after Bible reading and prayer and before breakfast. I discovered that I feel much more energized during the day and can get more accomplished if I include exercise in the morning.

  • Jon Bloom

    Mornings. Too many evening commitments.

  • parker

    I feel that tension too, Matt, I don’t want to start late, and I don’t want to cut into family time. I ride my bike to work (8 miles each way). It only costs me about an extra 10 minutes over driving and its a great work out. If you’re not utilizing your commute time to exercise, you’re missing a key opportunity.

  • Steve Wilson

    The problem is when you see exercise as an interruption, and not a vital part of your life. I’m speaking from experience because I often see it that way. Currently, I start early – 5 am. I just plan to get up earlier so I can have a half hour of exercise time. I just do body-weight exercises in my home, so there is no travel time involved. Plus I walk to work – about a half mile each way.

  • Brian Current

    I have to be at work at 8:30am on weekdays, so, for years I’ve kept a schedule of waking between 5:15am and 5:30am, to arrive at the gym close to 6:00am and lift weights for 45 minutes, plus maybe 20 minutes of cardio. I’ll do this 3 or 4 times a week. I’m back home at 7:15am typically, just when i need to get ready for work.

    That’s also the time the kids get up… so my workout time is while everyone else is sleeping. The only drawback is (especially because I lift weights) I need plenty of sleep, so my bedtime is a strict 10pm.

    This works well for me, but sickness and injury can allow me to fall off my routine *easily*, especially since i am not a “morning person.”

    But, my main point is this – with a wife and young kids, i think it would be very selfish of me to exercise after work, during family prime time. So, i’m dedicated to not going to the gym when my kids are awake.

    We also try to take family walks, which includes pushing the kids in a stroller or hiking with them… that way it’s exercise and family time at the same time!

    This is a great topic.. i hope to hear more insightful ideas.

  • Jade

    I work at a gym and they recommend that people work out in the mornings if possible because you activate your body and calorie burn for the day. However, something is always better than nothing, so working out in the evening is OK, but you might be more keyed up and have a hard time getting to sleep. Good luck!

  • Michelle

    I also kill two birds with one stone and use my commute as my exercise (bike to work). It energizes me in the morning, helps me unload on the way home, promotes better time management, avoids road rage, saves money, the list goes on…its even green if that matters!

  • http://thehands.info Michael

    I prefer to run after work, usually around 6, on Tues/Thurs. Saturday mornings are a long run day. For muscle work I find that daily pushups and situps do just as much for me as a gym workout. Furthermore, it doesn’t eat into my day much at all. We just had a baby boy so the running routine may get adjusted soon, but the pushups and situps are keepers. I’d like to add a pullup bar to a doorway soon. Great topic by the way.

  • Andrew

    I try to leave the office around 4:30 and work out at the gym for 45 minutes before heading home (Mon/Wed/Fri). I used to exercise in the mornings, but switched for two reasons.

    One, I’m more creative/sharp in the mornings, whereas in the afternoons my mind is tired and basically not good for much other than lifting weights. So it didn’t make sense for me to spend my peak mental time in the gym, and then slog through project work in the late afternoons. (I think lab studies have shown that most people work this way, but regardless in my case it has been true.)

    Two, I’m more likely to skip a workout in the morning than the afternoon–in the mornings I’m too eager to get to work and start tackling projects, so the gym seems like an obstacle. In the afternoon though, it usually feels like a relief to go get some exercise. It is like my last action item of the work day, and gives me time to clear my mind and prepare for home time with my wife.

  • Aaron Mayfield

    I work out for just over an hour four days a week in the mornings (4:40-5:45ish). I agree with Ken above that “I feel much more energized during the day and can get more accomplished if I include exercise in the morning.”

    This also accomodates my family time in that my family is never awake at that hour, so I’m not making a sacrifice there (though now that I’m 31, I’m starting to feel the strain of 6 hours sleep per night…

  • Joe

    The best time is over lunch. That can be anytime between 10:30 and 2:30, but it is the perfect break to the day and does not interfere with family time or other commitments. Some days will be missed b/c of travel or meetings, but this allows the most consistency for me overall.

  • Andy

    I workout around 4:30 PM. Supposedly, your body temp is higher later in the day and thus you burn more calories. Also, it allows a buffer between work and home.

  • curtis

    I adjusted my schedule so I can take a 90 minute lunch break… and that’s the time I’ve found to be best to workout. I’ve found that time easy to manage and adjust when I need to.

  • http://www.theinvisibleGod.com Chris

    I don’t like to exercise in the morning because it makes my devotions rushed. I know many people pray while they are stretching or walking, and while I think it’s a good thing to do, I don’t like that to be my main prayer time.

    I like to walk after dinner with my husband and kids (if they will–when they were little we took them with the stroller or on bikes, now they are older and are doing other things). Often we don’t, though, because we get talking or doing other things and then it’s too late.

    Now if you’re talking about a gym workout, whether at the gym or at home, I don’t know when I would ever fit that in. I know it’s important, and I’m feeling the effects of not doing it, and even ended up in physical therapy for a couple of months, but it is awful hard to carve out time for it.

  • Brian Current

    I think Andrew has a good point here:

    “I’m more creative/sharp in the mornings, whereas in the afternoons my mind is tired…” “…it didn’t make sense for me to spend my peak mental time in the gym, and then slog through project work in the late afternoons.”

    A question we should ask ourselves might be: how important is our workout? Should it take priority or should it be left to those times when we are least productive in more important ares?

    It seems like time at the gym takes away from something, whether sleep, devotion/prayer time, family time, etc etc…

  • Adam

    I run around 7:00 or 8:00 at night. Cools down a bit by then, and my kids are either wound down or in bed, so it doesn’t really cut into family time. Having a goal (10k, half-marathon, cutting next race’s time) helps to motivate me and keep me going much more than time of day.

  • Dan Sudfeld

    I go for a brisk walk early in the morning, before my wife and three young boys wake. That walk also doubles as my prayer time and prepares me for my time in the Word when I get home.

  • http://acts29network.org Adriel

    Even though I hate mornings and always desire to sleep until noon, I have to admit that how they go sets the tone for my whole day. Rolling out of bed at the last minute and going to work results in me feeling rushed, tired and irritable all day.

    Waking up early and going straight to quiet time with Jesus worked until I started falling asleep in the chair before I got through 2 verses. But I need to start my day with Jesus and give myself enough time to not rush through everything.

    I also realized that as a mild introvert, I feel indignant about beginning my day under pressure to perform or verbally interact with people who are requiring my thoughts and actions on all sorts of items.

    It’s been a wonderful solution for my attitude and sense of peace to wake up, go straight to the gym and start my day ALONE, with my mind slowly percolating and yawning and saying good morning to Jesus. It’s not focused prayer time, but it is time in his presence.

    By the time I’m done and showered, I’m wide awake and ready to have a “breakfast date” with God and just soak in and appreciate being alive like an epicurean, leisurely learning about God and praying.

    And THEN I go to work, arrive a few minutes early before other people get there, get ahead of the game, and am really energized and actually excited to do my job and talk to people.

    Also, I do better making my schedule as consistent as possible day-to-day. So I aim to work out at the same time 6x a week and Sabbath on Sunday currently.

  • Daniel

    I swim most evenings. I do part-time work & part-time study so I find it helpful for both mentally switching between work & study and also for an energy boost to study at night.

  • http://jasonchamberlain.blogspot.com Jason Chamberlain

    I run 4 days/week and lift 2 days/week. I always do it in the morning before the rest of the house wakes up. I see morning as the one time of the day I can consistently control. I also find that I have more energy throughout the day if I get my exercise in.

  • cameron

    i work out around 2:30 every day because it works off the calories i’ve had from breakfast and lunch. also, about an hour after dinner, i do 100 jumping jacks, 10 sit-ups, and a little bit of yoga to work off more calories and the yoga relaxes you but it doesn’t really matter what time of day you exercise, all that matters is that you need at time of day you can stick to every day so your body gets used to it.