Training for Results….Morning or afternoon?

Training for results and squeezing it in our busy lives has been a common challenge for most of us. But what if you were able to get yourself a routine where you train either morning or afternoon and optimise results? What time of day would be best to train to give every opportunity of success?

In a recent study investigating the variation in performance, player readiness, and self-reported sleep between morning and afternoon training sessions in male collegiate basketball players, athletes exhibited lower performance during morning compared with afternoon training sessions (“Comparing Performance During Morning vs. Afternoon Training… : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research,” n.d.).

In addition, a reduced quantity of sleep associated with early morning practice was associated with impaired performance regardless of athlete readiness.

So, does that mean you shouldn’t train in the morning?

Well not exactly. The mental benefits of early training could be more powerful to your long term results than training in the afternoon.

Here are three (3) benefits:

  1. Less Distractions – One of the biggest killers to productivity is those small interruptions to your rhythm. In the afternoon, you are more likely to get phone calls, have to stay back at work and other tasks that could prevent you from going to the gym. The benefit of getting up early is you have that hour to yourself. You can focus on what you are doing and with greater intensity.
  2. More Energy – When we ask those who train early, how often do they tell us how great they feel and ready for the day ahead? Training in the morning gives you that extra lift to perform better at work, study or home life.
  3. Feel Empowered – Training simply makes you feel good! Regardless of how difficult it can be ‘getting’ to the gym, the feeling afterwards gives you the confidence on how you view yourself, and how you act around others.

So if you’re training for results, we believe its most important to have a structure that works for you. If training for sport specificity, one may consider afternoon sessions if normal competitions are held in the afternoon. However, to complete the session with a sense of achievement to make healthy lifestyle choices will set the foundation for results.


Article by Michael Byrne