For someone who has been evening training for a long time, going back to morning sessions has been a bit of a shock to my system. I’ve seen some discussions of science and studies suggesting that men gain more from training in the evening while women get the best results from doing their exercise in the morning especially when trying to reduce body fat. Personally, I just train at whatever time I’m able to and I would suggest to others that they do the same.
There is a different tone and feeling to the different times, I find. Morning sessions give me a great start to the day, a strong start and the feeling that the day is mine. But evening sessions are by far a preference to me. It’s usually after a day full of the general and sometimes tough challenges and the exercise gives me a sense of relieving and releasing the day’s stresses. It is also after a couple of meals. The calories I have consumed and we can’t forget the few coffees I’ve had, are in my system giving me the extra physical energy to get the reps in.
By contrast, my endurance and strength levels seem to be a lot lower in the morning. This could be because I’m not as used to it yet as I am with working out in the evening. In fact, I think it is one of the main reasons, as after just a short few weeks I am finding it easier to shift the weight. Not as easy as in the evening, but definitely easier. However, my endurance still seems to be lagging behind and still struggle with the rep ranges.
Essentially, I find myself having to adapt for more reasons than one. Aside from energy levels and endurance, mornings are also tighter on time. It’s not like in the evening when even if I have more work to do, I can sort of take my time and get back to my work whenever I’m finished as it’s not dependent on the time of others. With my change in schedule, morning work still has to start at the start of the day which means I have to be more precise with the time I finish at the gym and start my day.
Most importantly though, It won’t cause me to stop training. I will still continue to work on my fitness no matter when I have to do it, but here are some things and comparisons I have noticed changing back to mornings.
Making new friends – there is a small overlap of the people who train in the evenings and sometimes train in the mornings, but on the whole, it is a different group of people. While I have built a good community and developed a lot of friendships with the evening regulars, there are many new faces to me in the morning that I get to befriend, probably to their annoyance.
People are more focused – most of the morning crew are under the same time restrictions that I am. This means that they want to get in and get out as quickly as possible which makes for a more focused session for most. The first day back to morning training, I found myself looking around at the more serious faces questioning if it was too early for my unique brand of joviality.
Time constraints – you’ve got a day to get on with after your morning session. Whether you’re going to work or have other plans, you usually have to get to or be somewhere at the start of the business day. This makes your time to train in the morning more constrained. Unlike in the evening when you can take a bit more time if necessary. If you want to spend more time in the gym, you have to wake up even earlier.
Early nights – to get up early enough, you have to get to sleep early as well in order to ensure you have enough sleep. Sleep is essential for recovery and is a general necessity for your body, mental state, overall functionality and life in general. In your early twenties, you may be able to recover faster and get away with a bit less sleep, but as you get older, you definitely feel the difference.
Coffee is lacking – I can’t not mention the coffee. By the time I get to the gym in the evening, I’ve had several cups of coffee throughout the day. Personally, I restrict myself to a maximum of three a day even though I would really like to have more. But when I train in the morning, I haven’t even managed a single cup of coffee yet. It does give me something extra to look forward to though as I get my session done.
Energy levels and rigidity – the other thing that I haven’t consumed before my morning session is all the food. By the time the evening comes around I have had at least two meals and a snack. These calories that I have consumed means I have more energy than in the morning after only consuming very few calories in comparison. There is also the fact that I have just woken up and haven’t had all the movement and blood flow to loosen up my body. My body feels more stiff and rigid in the morning.
A small snack goes a long way – the first few mornings back, I went straight to the gym without eating anything at all. It didn’t go very well. So I tried eating a little snack just before I left the house and it made a massive difference. It definitely helped give me a bit more energy for my session.
It will take a bit of time getting used to – what I do know is that with a bit of time, my body will get more used to it and improve. Even after only a short time of moving my sessions to the morning I can already feel the improvements. The body learns and understands the patterns that you put it through. After a bit of time, it gets more used to it and functionality as well as your performance improves. I’m looking forward to that.
On the whole, I would still prefer to train in the evening. But it’s not going to stop me going completely just because my circumstances demand a change in schedule. I’m not going to slow down, especially when life is always speeding up. I train when I can. I will still enjoy it and continue to get myself used to it until the functionality and the result are just as good.
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