Free time is something most of us don't have in abundance, so it's important to make the most of it. Although there is no official right or wrong time to train, finding a window when your body and mind are in sync can help you get the most out of your workout. To help you discover what time of day is best for you, top training specialist Ben Bulach, from leading fitness app Freeletics shares his advice:
If you have struggles sleeping:
"Then morning training could be better for you. Some people experience problems with sleep after they've trained too close to bedtime because their adrenaline is high, their brain becomes active, and they have difficulty winding down. If your schedule allows you, try a morning session and compare your sleep to when you train in the evening. Anecdotally, athletes also distinguish between cardio and weightlifting: After cardio, they sleep like a rock, whereas after weightlifting they are often too energized to sleep. Of course, it differs from person to person, so try out what works best for you."
If you can't stick to your workout routine:
"There are two reasons why morning training tackles this issue: Firstly, our willpower is said to be strongest in the morning and secondly, it stops other things getting in the way of training. After a long day, sometimes all you really want is to go home and watch a boxset. The next evening, you're out for dinner and the day after that you end up working late—we all know those unexpected things that get in the way of exercising."
"By getting your workout over and out of the way first thing, you can still enjoy all your social events without having them as an excuse. Plus, if you hate queuing for equipment at the gym, it will normally be less crowded in the earlier hours, meaning you can complete your workout without interruptions."
If you need a kick-start to your day:
"Maybe you're not a 'morning person' and can feel grumpy first thing, or sleepy and unproductive until lunch? Then a workout may be exactly what you need to kick-start your morning, wake you up, and leave you with a feeling of accomplishment and taste for achievement. After finishing your workout, have a fresh shower and a well-deserved, nutritious breakfast, then enjoy your energy boost and rush of endorphins for the rest of the day!"
If you crave stress relief:
"If you need relief from a long and rough day or something to free your mind, destress and take your frustration out on an evening training session. It's much more likely to clear your mind and put things into perspective than a bottle of wine, or comfort food on the couch."
If weight loss is your goal:
"Morning workouts are said to jump-start your metabolism, so you may even burn more calories during the day. Also, studies show that people who trained in the morning tend to make healthier food choices for the rest of the day."
If you suffer from the 3 p.m. slump:
"Escaping your desk for a quick workout during your lunch break could see a boost of creativity and energy that will carry you through the rest of your day. When you have endorphins running through your body, you can think quicker and sharper, and you're better at problem-solving, which could really help to energize your afternoons and avoid the dreaded 3 p.m. lull."
"You might even be more inclined to cook a healthy dinner, go out with your friends, or run all those errands that you've been putting off after work. A lunchtime workout is also great if you experience back or neck pain from sitting in front of a computer all day, as it can , easing discomfort."
If you feel weak or lack energy during training:
"People can experience dizziness during an early morning session and it usually occurs because they have not fuelled their body enough before training. Every person is different when it comes to food intake before working out, therefore you should consider this when scheduling your workout. Can you train on a completely empty stomach? If so, morning training shouldn't be an issue. But if you need some energy in your tank—other than a banana or handful of nuts—training in the evening means you can eat at least two hours before your workout to ensure your food is fully digested and already converted into energy."
Listen to your body and figure out what works best for you and fits with your personal rhythms and lifestyle. When exercise is a part of your weekly routine you'll not only get stronger and fitter but more motivated, too.
This article originally appeared on HarpersBazaar.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.