"When Is the Best Time to Work Out?"Many of my patients ask me when the best time to work out is. Now that we are moving past the busy holiday season and we are high on the hopefulness of our New Year’s resolution, most of you may be very motivated to get going on a work out regimen. So, is there really a best time for working out so we can help you optimize on your exercise goals?

For most people who have busy schedules, work outs first thing in the morning is ideal. By the end of the day, you may be so bogged down by your busy schedule that you’ll frequently miss your work out time; and over the long haul, you may just give up on it altogether. When you work out first thing in the morning, you’ll have more energy for your busy schedule and you won’t let your schedule get in the way of your work out because your busy day hasn’t started yet.

If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning to work out, even 20 minutes in the morning helps to energize you for the day. This way if your schedule ends up being too busy in the evening to do another abridged work out, at least you’ve gotten the 20-minute workout done in the morning already.

For people who tend to eat more in the evening and make poorer food choices in the evening, I usually will recommend working out after work. When you work out in the evening after work, you’ll usually not snack as much in the afternoon because you can’t be really full when you know you’ll need to work out in an hour or two. Evening work outs will help you make smarter healthier choices for dinner because the endorphins from working out help you to not crave junk food. Also, you’ll have worked out so hard that you won’t want to ruin your work out by eating a heavy dinner.

So, while there are no clear cut answers as to when is the best time for working out…there are advantages to working out in the morning, just like there are benefits to working out in the evening. It’s more important to think about when you have the most energy or time for work outs and also whether you need to use your work outs for de-stressing and/or controlling your appetite and food choices.

When you let these concepts guide your decision as to when you want to work out, you’ll likely be able to maximize your work out so that the benefits extend beyond exercise…and into food choices, appetite control, and optimizing energy.