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Maximize Your Workout: Afternoon Sessions for Optimal Strength

Maximize Your Workout: Afternoon Sessions for Optimal Strength

  • Riley James
Is there a perfect time to work out for maximum gains? This age-old question has been debated by fitness enthusiasts for years. The simple answer is, whenever you can manage to fit in a workout is the best time. However, according to Shawn Arent, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., head of the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina, there is scientific evidence that suggests a slight advantage of training at certain times of the day.

The question then becomes, does this advantage matter enough to rearrange your schedule? For most people, probably not. Ebenzer Samuel, C.S.C.S., fitness director at Men’s Health, argues that if trying to fit your workout into the 'optimal' time window means you won't train consistently, then the small boost in performance doesn't matter. The key is to find a time that works for you and stick to it.

So, what is this optimal time window? Arent suggests that peak performance, particularly for strength and power, tends to occur later in the day, specifically mid- to late-afternoon. This is also the optimal time for endurance work. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that afternoon workouts enabled participants to train longer before reaching exhaustion.

There could be several reasons for this advantage. Mike Nelson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an associate professor at the Carrick Institute, suggests it could be related to cortisol levels or spinal disc hydration. However, he believes it's more likely related to circadian rhythms - most people are just more alert in the afternoon. They've had a few meals, some coffee or another stimulant, and are generally more awake.

But does this mean you should reorganize your life to train in the afternoon? Not necessarily. The differences in strength, power, and training efficacy are small. For elite athletes, this slight edge might be worth pursuing, but for the average person, it's not a significant enough difference to warrant a major schedule shift.

What about early morning workouts? Some fitness enthusiasts swear by them, citing higher testosterone levels in the morning. While this may be true, the effect diminishes with age. Even for younger individuals, having more circulating testosterone during your workout doesn't seem to make a significant difference, according to Nelson.

The real key to maximizing your workout benefits is consistency. Samuel emphasizes that establishing a regular workout schedule is crucial. Your body will adjust to your training time and be prepared for the workout. Equally important is mental readiness. Being mentally prepared will enable you to bring full intensity to your workout.

Different people may find different times work best for them. Some may find their workday weighs on them in the morning, causing them to rush through their workout. For these individuals, afternoon or after-work training may be best. Others may get caught up in their workday and skip their workout altogether. These individuals may benefit from morning workouts, even if they're not physically optimal.

Nelson concurs, stating that missing just one day per week negates any advantage gained by working out in the afternoon. The key is consistency and finding a time that works for you.

At T-shoppe online fitness store, we believe that the best time to work out is the time that suits your lifestyle and allows for consistent training. Whether you're looking to buy workout clothes or seeking advice on fitness health clothing, we're here to support your fitness journey. Remember, the most important factor isn't when you train, but that you train consistently and with intensity. So grab your active wear for fat loss or girls clothing loose weight and get moving at a time that works for you!