What's the best time to exercise? Timing your Training Report..

Best time to Exercise

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You frequently hear bodybuilders and personal trainers insist that people should work out at a specific time of day-sort of a one-size-fits-all approach. One prominent training system says that you can only make real gains when you train first thing in the morning, while others are just as adamant in their support of afternoon or evening workouts. It can be quite confusing, since the claims of both groups are often conflicting if not mutually exclusive. Proponents of morning workouts say the following:

» Your mind is freshest at the beginning of the day, right after a good night's sleep, so you can better concentrate on training. You don't have the day's distractions to sidetrack you and disturb your intensity.

» The visualizations that you focused on the night before to stimulate your workout are fresher in your mind, which allows you to achieve higher levels of performance.

» Your insulin level is stable in the morning if you eat little or no food before the workout. By afternoon, breakfast, lunch and snacks have sent your insulin level on a roller-coaster ride that can reduce performance if you train while your glucagon response is in effect.

» You should do first things first. Get your training- which is, after all, the most important thing-out of the way, and then move on to the business of making a living and paying the bills. Working drains your energy, so by their very nature afternoon workouts have to be less intense than what you could have achieved in the morning.

» The evening is a time to relax, a time to kick back and take things easy. Who wants to go to the gym when you're all washed out from the days events?

» The gyms are too crowded in the afternoons.

Morning trainees are ardent about their workouts. They get up before other people because they care about their training. Sure, they'd like to sleep in as much as the next person, but some things are important in life, and one of them is hardcore muscle mass. If this means that they have to set the alarm a bit earlier in order to achieve maximum gains, so be it. Morning trainees are the few-the proud.

It may be hard to force yourself to the gym before work, they say, but that's what it takes to excel. There's no free lunch in life, and if you want to get huge you have to train when the conditions are optimal. So skip the crowds and join the serious morning trainers. The results will definitely be to your advantage. Advocates of afternoon and evening workouts think differently. Here's what they have to say:

» If you train first thing in the morning, you still have a whole laundry list of things to do later in the day. These tasks can fester in your mind and reduce your concentration. It's better to get everything you need to do out of the way beforehand and then go to the gym with your mind cleared and with a feeling of accomplishment.

» Working out at the end of the day is a great way to unwind. Bow many times have you come home from your job stressed out from some jerkwater thing your boss said? What are you supposed to do-sit home and stew about it? Get to the gym and take it out on the weights.

» Afternoon or evening workouts can promote deeper sleep. After a good session in the gym you're totally relaxed and unwound. This is a natural sleeping pill that allows you to hit the sack with a smile on your face. And the better the quality of sleep, the greater the growth hormone release.

» You have higher energy levels at the end of the day due to the day's food intake. In the morning you haven't even eaten for nine or 10 hours) so your gas tank's on empty. People are groggy in the morning-bodybuilders included-so your workouts are going to be low-key, and your strength level is also going to be poor compared to the afternoon.

» Training in the afternoon or evening is a Jot more social than morning workouts, and that's good. Of course, you have to be serious when you're at the gym, but there's a happy medium. There's also another positive side to the social activity. Do you remember what happened the last time that someone really hot walked by while you were doing a set. You pumped out a few more reps, didn't you? Of course you did. Admit it, you're human. When you see someone who turns you on, the motivation skyrockets, inspiring the highest intensity lifts. As they say, whatever works. Why settle for visualization when you can have the real thing?

Are you thoroughly confused now?

As mentioned above, most of these claims by morning and afternoon/evening advocates contradict the other side's opinion. So who's right? The answer is, you are. It's well recognized that people's metabolisms vary. Some bodybuilders have slow metabolisms and seem to grow in all the wrong places when they even look at food, while others can shovel in all sorts of junk and still be vascular and shredded, it may not be fair, but it's true. Similarly, everyone has his or her own unique biological clock that regulates the body's activities just as surely as an engine powers a car.

Some folks are morning people, and they seem to have a burst of energy during the early hours just after the sun comes up. These people can hop out of bed and hit the ground running, since they're entering what for them is the best part of the day Arise and shine!

Other equally devoted and committed athletes feel that turning off the alarm clock is just the first of many burdensome tasks that must be accomplished before the old energy kicks in, which may not occur until after lunch. A biological clock can't be good or bad. It is what it is. You live with your biological clock, you adjust and adapt to it, and most importantly, you use it to your best advantage. You should train when your energy level is at its peak because it is at that time of day-and only at that time-that you'll be able to achieve maximum drive and intensity If it's the morning, great.

If it's the afternoon or evening, so be it. The whole debate about timing your training implies that there's some sort of transcendental truth out there that only half of humanity can comprehend. But if not like that. The best time to work out is when you can generate the greatest force to push or pull that weight against gravity. You should go to the gym at the time of day when you can create the greatest amount of positive emotion for your training; that is, when your passion for the iron game is at its peak. If you achieve these levels of intensity in the morning, that's when you should schedule your workouts, and if afternoon or evening is when your feeling of being a hardcore muscle animal reaches its zenith, then that's when you need to get to the gym.

Work with your body, not against it or in spite of it. You've only got one body, and it's not some standard issue that's hound by the Universal Rules of Training Time. If you get in tune with your biological clock and learn to sense its rhythms and fluctuations, you'll be well on the way to achieving a sense of balance and oneness with your body-but not in a yogi or guru maharashi sort of way. You should get in sync with your biological clock for one simple reason: It works, and it works well.

So unlock the key to maximum muscle mass by training at the right time of day for you because that time of day is really the only time to get your quickest and greatest gains.

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