Cardio, Better in the Morning or Evening?

Get out and RUN!

 

This question has been asked SO many times, I think the answers now go in one ear and out the other.  Honestly and scientifically, it doesn't matter when you workout, as long as you workout.  300 calories burned at 5am is the same 300 calories burned at 5pm.  There are differences however.  

1. Cardio in the morning gives you energy for the rest of the day.  If you are not the best morning person, doing your cardio can get you going in the morning.  It will get your heart rate elevated, it will get your muscles warmed up, and it is a good burn before that healthy breakfast you're going to eat.  My advice though, would be to watch what you eat beforehand.  Dont do anything too heavy or filling, keep it light with fruit, toast, or oatmeal.  Better to have your BIGGER meal post workout when your metabolism is up. 

2. Get it done before distractions come up!   How many days have you intended to workout but schedules end up getting in the way?  I hear it with clients ALL the time and the best way to avoid this, do it earlier in the day.  A morning session or a lunch session can give you that boost you may need to get going or KEEP going, plus it avoids missing multiple workouts.  A lot can be said for getting off of work, heading home, and relaxing.  If you tend to not look forward to the gym after work, move it to earlier in the day and keep yourself on track.  With the holidays here, there are parties for work, kids, friends, family.  You may not have time for yourself other then the morning. 

3. Cardio later in the day means warmer muscles.  Ok, this is a good argument for evening cardio.  When you wake up, your muscles are not warm at all and need to be slowly brought up to speed.  People who avoid a proper warm up, can be more susceptible to injury due to this fact.  Since you are moving all day long and using more muscles, when you do your cardio at night you are better prepared to jump in.  Of course, NEVER skip a warm up, no matter what time of day.  

4. Helps avoid late night snacking.  I have told many clients this as well, if you find yourself doing the late night snacking, a good way to avoid or deter your body from eating is to go for a walk, run, or bike ride.  Cardio can be done wherever, whenever, and it may even help you sleep better at night.  Just avoid doing it RIGHT before bed, I don't want to be responsible for a zombie like society wink

5. Hit your daily calorie goal, if you're behind. Let's say the day didn't go as planned, but when does it ever!  If you are short of your caloric burn target, a quick late night cardio session is a great way to make up the deficit.  You know what you eat, if you don't burn enough calories to lose the weight or gain the weight (depending on your goal) then you will not see results.  Be smart.  Don't cheat yourself!  

 

So yes, it is a matter of preference, scheduling, lifestyle, BUT the fact of the matter is cardio is cardio, no matter what time it is!  

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