• The Best Time To Train


      From Charles Poliquin

      You know instinctively that the best time to train is whenever you feel most energetic and can fit it into your schedule. Individual differences regarding the best time of day to train come from the fact that each person has slightly different chronobiology, or circadian rhythms. Research into the area reveals some noteworthy points:

      • In performance that relies on the anaerobic system, such as strength training, studies suggest strength performance is significantly greater in the mid-afternoon and early evening. This effect is most pronounced in regards to power production—when needing to produce maximal force at a fast speed.

      • For sprint training, competing or working out in the mid-afternoon and early evening tend to produce faster times. Greater strength and speed later in the day are likely due to the fact that your body temperature increases as the day progresses, leading to enhanced muscle function and flexibility.

      • For fat loss, there’s evidence that trainees experience a greater afterburn (EPOC) if they work out in the evening around 6 pm. Higher EPOC means the body burns more calories during the recovery period. Meanwhile, for endurance training, studies show time of day doesn’t matter much for performance, but of course individuals will have distinct experiences.

      • Of interest, it’s well known that for men, testosterone is highest in the morning and gradually declines over the course of the day, indicating that for building muscle, morning may be the best time to lift. In addition, the male testosterone response to training appears to be greater in the morning than from training later in the day.

      • If you’re interested in using caffeine to offset the poor performance decrement of morning training, check out the tip, Use Caffeine to Perform Better in the Morning.

      Reference
      Deschenes, Michael. Chronobiological Effects on Exercise. ACSM Current Comment. Retrieved 25 April 2013. http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-com...onexercise.pdf

      Source: http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/...-To-Train.aspx
      Comments 10 Comments
      1. purebred's Avatar
        purebred -
        So, strength training is typically most effective when performed in the morning, but testosterone levels are higher in the morning hours, so which one is it? Am I the only one who feels like there is a bit of contradiction?
      1. Tomahawk88's Avatar
        Tomahawk88 -
        Originally Posted by purebred View Post
        So, strength training is typically most effective when performed in the morning, but testosterone levels are higher in the morning hours, so which one is it? Am I the only one who feels like there is a bit of contradiction?
        You got the wording mixed up but I get what your point is. The take away from this article is there are 2 optimal times to train.
      1. purebred's Avatar
        purebred -
        Originally Posted by Tomahawk88 View Post

        You got the wording mixed up but I get what your point is. The take away from this article is there are 2 optimal times to train.
        Evening for fat loss and AM for all else?
      1. jerrysiii's Avatar
        jerrysiii -
        Just go back to the first sentence of the article. Everything else is insignificant.
      1. Celorza's Avatar
        Celorza -
        According to the article:

        -Strength and peak power output is better in the mid-afternoon and evening.

        -Morning is best for Muscle building purposes due to higher testosterone levels.

        -Mid afternoon also for fat loss due to greater EPOC.

        Hmmm...I have been doing strength training for powerlifting over a year at 6am and like it that way anyway...meh I have put on good mass too, I like AM fasted workouts anyway, personal preference.
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        I think the reasoning behing associating strength training to late afternoon workouts is simply due to glycogen build-up, which you need lots of, the get the most out of your body. If you have been eating and staying in a caloric surplus all day (which I personally do), you'll come into the gym with more output in a smaller time window due to all the carb-loading you've done over the previous 8 hours. I wouldn't just include strength training in that category however. I'd go as far as to say that maximum intensity is met when muscle glycogen is peaked before training.

        This type of biology applies to everyone, not just some versus others. But what does vary from person to person is the ability to train in a fasted state well. Anyone can do it, but not all individuals have high mitochondria count in their muscles and not all individuals are enduranced-focused trainees. Some people are capable of metabolizing a higher percentage of fat for energy than others. I'm on the other side - I can eat and hold tons of carbs and my body will use them very efficiently when weight-lifting. However, due to my nature, when I am out of glycogen I am completely gassed and finished with training. Naturally, for those like myself, we train in the evening when our glycogen levels are highest.

        I say whatever works for you to reach your goals. During comp time, it's not unheard of to have training sessions in both morn and eve.

        The whole testosterone argument isn't a compelling force to train AM, IMO. While they are higher, it doesn't really equate to a large difference. Using DAA preWO could single handedly turn the table on that argument. Your body moreso uses test to shuttle nutrients to the muscles than it does for strength. I'd say eat tons in the AM and training afterwards for max results.
      1. TheMovement's Avatar
        TheMovement -
        Yes with the way everyone supplements now a days a test booster taken with your PreWO at 5 pm will run you rather decently but it depends on your day, not everyone works a 9-5 and some ppl hit the gym at 5am and refuel properly throughout the day. I believe that time management for the best lifting time only depend on the individual
      1. Pandabear's Avatar
        Pandabear -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        I think the reasoning behing associating strength training to late afternoon workouts is simply due to glycogen build-up, which you need lots of, the get the most out of your body. If you have been eating and staying in a caloric surplus all day (which I personally do), you'll come into the gym with more output in a smaller time window due to all the carb-loading you've done over the previous 8 hours. I wouldn't just include strength training in that category however. I'd go as far as to say that maximum intensity is met when muscle glycogen is peaked before training.

        This type of biology applies to everyone, not just some versus others. But what does vary from person to person is the ability to train in a fasted state well. Anyone can do it, but not all individuals have high mitochondria count in their muscles and not all individuals are enduranced-focused trainees. Some people are capable of metabolizing a higher percentage of fat for energy than others. I'm on the other side - I can eat and hold tons of carbs and my body will use them very efficiently when weight-lifting. However, due to my nature, when I am out of glycogen I am completely gassed and finished with training. Naturally, for those like myself, we train in the evening when our glycogen levels are highest.

        I say whatever works for you to reach your goals. During comp time, it's not unheard of to have training sessions in both morn and eve.

        The whole testosterone argument isn't a compelling force to train AM, IMO. While they are higher, it doesn't really equate to a large difference. Using DAA preWO could single handedly turn the table on that argument. Your body moreso uses test to shuttle nutrients to the muscles than it does for strength. I'd say eat tons in the AM and training afterwards for max results.
        Good comment, the glycogen store argument is relevant to all trainees that are not keto-adapted (which is most), in keto-adapted trainees glycogen stores are of no issue as your muscle cells will use saturated fats and mono-unsaturated fats as fuel rather than glycogen (reserving the PUFA for storage).

        You can offset the higher testosterone in the morning by actually switching to a keto-adaptive state as testosterone levels rise when you are in this mode and the difference between AM and evening is negligible (at least a strong case can be built from the scientific literature regarding this).

        Either way you can work with glycogen stores or fat. That really gassed feeling you get when you finish a heavy duty set has to do a lot of the time with the lactic acid build up in your muscles which then increases your blood PH towards acidic levels and thus you hyperventilate like someone in diabetic keto-acidosis.

        I find my recovery is much better when keto-adapted although the muscle looks harder rather than bloated, due to the fact that glycogen holds water in the muscle cells and creates that swollen look.

        Cheers,

        Panda
      1. fueledpassion's Avatar
        fueledpassion -
        Originally Posted by Pandabear View Post
        Good comment, the glycogen store argument is relevant to all trainees that are not keto-adapted (which is most), in keto-adapted trainees glycogen stores are of no issue as your muscle cells will use saturated fats and mono-unsaturated fats as fuel rather than glycogen (reserving the PUFA for storage).

        You can offset the higher testosterone in the morning by actually switching to a keto-adaptive state as testosterone levels rise when you are in this mode and the difference between AM and evening is negligible (at least a strong case can be built from the scientific literature regarding this).

        Either way you can work with glycogen stores or fat. That really gassed feeling you get when you finish a heavy duty set has to do a lot of the time with the lactic acid build up in your muscles which then increases your blood PH towards acidic levels and thus you hyperventilate like someone in diabetic keto-acidosis.

        I find my recovery is much better when keto-adapted although the muscle looks harder rather than bloated, due to the fact that glycogen holds water in the muscle cells and creates that swollen look.

        Cheers,

        Panda
        I can imagine. Unfortunately, due to my fast metabolism, I do not have the luxury of removing or even reducing any of the macro nutrients if I plan to build muscle. Perhaps when I'm 40, and my body is already fairly jacked up, I'll try a more extreme approached to get lean such as keto or whatever is popular then.
      1. Pandabear's Avatar
        Pandabear -
        Originally Posted by fueledpassion View Post
        I can imagine. Unfortunately, due to my fast metabolism, I do not have the luxury of removing or even reducing any of the macro nutrients if I plan to build muscle. Perhaps when I'm 40, and my body is already fairly jacked up, I'll try a more extreme approached to get lean such as keto or whatever is popular then.
        Carbohydrate will always be superior to expanding muscle cells opposed to ketogenic, that's why a cyclic ketogenic diet is popular among most people in the weight room interested in fat loss, they still want to gain muscle :D. I wouldn't recommend full keto adaption for strength athletes, only people like tri-athletes or endurance runners, niether of which interests me in the least. Just thought i'd mention it as an alternative. The benefits of keto adaption but still utilising glycogen stores for muscle is that cyclic ketogenic diet approach which has been around for around 40 years or so (Vince Gironda used to do it). It's really similar to carb cycling. It's just so many people reintroduce these diets as "new" when they are things that have been around for a long time, but the scientific understanding wasn't there yet.

        If you work out 5-6 days a week you will find that a once a week load up may not be sufficient but rather 2 in a week. Each person is different though, i'm sure you've found your groove though. I just like experimenting :).

        Cheers,

        P.s. I don't like popular, I like what works and has an evidence based approach, that's why I mentioned keto, rather than; lets say, some crazy arse all fruit diet or some such nonsense.

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