The answer to this question is remarkably simple: It all depends on you. By the time we are teenagers, we – and probably our parents too – know if we are “morning people” or “night people”. Do you hit the snooze button every day? Can you name the celebrities who have been on the television late shows this week? At what point during the day are you most productive? When do you think the clearest? When do you have the most energy? The answers to these questions lead you to when you should work out. There are always exceptions due to family or work commitments but generally speaking, if you can adjust your schedule to exercise at your ideal time, then you will be most likely to stay with your routine, enjoy your workouts, and benefit the most from them.
For “night people” who find that due to their schedule, the only time they can commit to working out is in the morning, be advised that it will likely take up to 3 weeks for your body to adapt to strenuous exercise at such an early hour. This shock to your system will subside, but you have to stay the course. Once you do, you will have found the balance in your life which allows you to have time for yourself (exercising) while meeting all of your other commitments.
Whether you exercise in the morning, during lunchtime, immediately after work, or after dinner, planning ahead is essential to your success. If you will be exercising at home, set out your exercise clothes (shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, and sports bra) the night before. If you wear a heart rate monitor, put it with your clothes. Know which recovery bar, drink, or meal you will follow your workout with, and have at least one bottle of water waiting in the refrigerator.
If you will be working out in a health club, set out your clothes and also pack your gym bag with your work clothes if leaving there to go directly to work. Include your recovery bar or drink mix and shaker, and leave a note for yourself to remind you to take a bottle of water. If you are showering at the gym, be sure your deodorant, shampoo, and other toiletries including a hair dryer if needed, are packed or stored in a locker. Bring an extra hanger to hold your wet towel, and shower sandals if necessary. If you are able to return home to shower, choose your clothes for work ahead of time. Also, write or print out your routine so you can track your progress.
This may seem like a lot of planning, but you will quickly find that it only takes a few minutes each day, and by doing so, your chances of working out that day will be so much higher and less stressful.
If you exercise at night, try to schedule it so you have enough time afterward to eat a recovery meal and sort of decompress before you lay down to sleep. Every person is different, but many studies have found that exercising too close to your bedtime interferes with your sleep. Most important is that you exercise consistently. This is the foundation of maximizing your workouts.