Daily Dose of Coach #429: Best Time to Workout?

I get the question, "When is the best time to workout?" often.

Mostly it's from athletes who aren't on a strict schedule, or adults who have some freedom to choose when they workout.

The answer to this question lies in the circadian rhythm. This is defined by the National Sleep foundation as the, " 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's also known as your sleep/wake cycle."

When I'm speaking about the best time to workout, I'm really saying the best time for your body to perform and get the most out of itself.

For performance, the research points to early afternoons, which is the natural peak of the human circadian rhythm.

In fact, research on Olympic athletes points to the best chance of breaking Olympic records is highest at this time of day.

Okay, so breaking an Olympic record and getting the most out of your workout are two completely different things.

Personally, I've trained and performed all over the board. And though sometimes it felt great to get my day started with a 5:00AM workout, I just don't feel the same as I do in a 1:00pm workout.

Without knowing any of this, I've always found my mid-day workouts to be much more productive than early mornings.

Most of us don't have the luxury of choosing an early afternoon workout. We get it done when we can, morning, noon, or night.

But, any edge is an edge. And in the book Peak, the author writes, "Researchers believe there is an opportunity in circadian timing, and that paying close attention to the circadian peak in performance might demonstrate a palpable athletic advantage over those who are playing at other times."