Time of Day and Workout Quality: Is there a Link?

JP Mullowney

The alarm clock rings. “Oh God”, you think, “How can I possibly train this early in the morning? I just know this will be a terrible workout, I’ll be so weak”. Ring any bells? Or perhaps you get home from work and think that after all day you can’t possibly perform to your potential during your evening workout. While either of these scenarios may be far too familiar to you, it’s worth considering the science that has been conducted on circadian rhythms (your body’s natural clock) before you put off that New Year’s resolution for another year.

The Science:

In one of only a handful of studies examining the topic, researchers at the University of Rhode Island examined the influence that time of day at which a workout occurred had on the mental readiness, power, and force output (But not swoliness!?) of college aged men. These poor fellows were strength tested at four different times of day, 4:00 (ROUGH!), 10:00, 16:00, and 22:00. Interestingly enough, there were no differences in force output, power, or mental readiness between any of the test times.

The Take Home Message:

So what does this mean for you? Well if you are only able to exercise during the early morning or later in the evening than this research indicates you should achieve the same results as any other point in the day! While lack of a comfortable time to exercise may be a good excuse for many people, don’t let it be yours! This New Year’s, instead of making another excuse, make a commitment to yourself!

References:

Hatfield, D.L, Nicoll, J.X., Kraemer, W.J. (2016). Effects of circadian rhythm on power, force, and hormonal response in young men. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(3), 725-732.

Prepared for the JKC blog by Coach Thomas.

Photo credit: JP Mullowney

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