Morning, noon or night?

by Beacon Staff • March 15, 2006

Most people are either the morning or the evening type. While the daily decision to get up and get moving is largely based on one's schedule, personal preference also plays a major factor in motivation.

There are those who choose to exercise at the crack of dawn and others who opt for later activity.,Most people are either the morning or the evening type. While the daily decision to get up and get moving is largely based on one's schedule, personal preference also plays a major factor in motivation.

There are those who choose to exercise at the crack of dawn and others who opt for later activity.

Although some take on the agony (or joy, if you like) of working out earlier to get it over with, morning is not necessarily the best time to exercise. As long as people have been keeping fit, the question has stood: does the early bird really get the worm?

Because morning is often thought of as the prime time for calorie-burning, many sleepily drag their bodies to the gym. Certain scientific research, however, suggests that later in the afternoon may be better for exercising.

According to About.com, most people's body temperature and hormone levels peak around 6 p.m., meaning that the muscles are warmest and ready to perform then. The Web site suggests that by working out within three hours of this time, one can see the most benefits.

Stacey Schaedler, an exercise physiologist at the Emerson College Fitness Center (ECFC), said she does not believe working out in the evening will make much of a difference. Overall, she said she is skeptical of scientific support for either a.m. or p.m. workouts.

"A lot of magazines say, 'You have to workout in the morning to burn fat stores,'" Schaedler said. "But you don't want to start feeling light-headed 10 minutes into [exercising] or you won't get the most out of your workout."

According to Schaedler, waking up and exercising on an empty stomach is not especially beneficial. While early morning cardio may help blast the calories from the night before, doing so with little energy will hinder, rather than help a workout, she said.

As a morning gym-goer, Eilis Maynard, a sophomore writing, literature and publishing (WLP) major, said she is guilty of not eating before working out.

"I know it's bad," Maynard said smiling. "But it doesn't bother me."

She went on to say that having an early class keeps her from eating a substantial breakfast.

Maynard said she replenishes her body with lunch after her workout. According to Schaedler, eating within an hour after working out is a must.

Schaedler said she recommends having carbohydrates and protein both prior to and following exercise to keep the body nourished.

"You shouldn't go to the gym if you haven't had anything to eat," she said.

However, after a big meal, Schaedler said to wait two or three hours before hopping on the cardio machines.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong time to get moving.

"Experts agree-it is not the time of day that matters as much as finding the time you can set aside consistently for your workouts," About.com said.

Schaedler said the best time to get active is when you are most motivated to do so. As for her personal preference, Schaedler said she likes to exercise in the morning.

Although she said her fitness routine now revolves around her work schedule, Schaedler used to do cardio in the morning and weight training at night while attending UMass-Amherst.

With evening workouts, however, she said to be prepared to be awake for at least an hour-and-a-half after exercising.

In the gym at neither dawn nor dusk, Khris Flack, a sophomore WLP major, said he usually works out around two or three in the afternoon.

"I've never been someone to get up real early,"