When Is The Best Time To Exercise?

How to get motivated and stick to realistic workout regimes that work for you

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Leaping out of bed at 6am, hitting the gym and taking a leisurely shower all before work feels nothing short of fantastic.

But then again, so can hitting the snooze button…

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Attempt two… take your kit to work, leave the office on time and then squeeze your session in before the new series of Girls is on.

But when 17:30 hits, the journey to the gym suddenly seems like a million miles and the closest thing to a lift you'll be doing is raising a glass of wine to your mouth.

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This all too familiar routine often means that your new workout regime is left to gather dust, along with your gym kit.

Skipping the odd session may not be the biggest crime, but as Virgin Active recently found out, Brits are collectively accumulating 224 million 'Gym Bag Miles' a week, the equivalent of travelling to the moon from Earth.

If the gym kit never actually makes it to the gym though - rather, it's just being shunted around on the tube - then your overall health isn't going to be benefitting from these moon-Earth journeys.

Being realistic about your workout regime is important and may mean that the chances of getting five hardcore sessions under your belt are slim...(no pun intended).

Interestingly, a recent study carried out by Loughborough University revealed that 'Weekend Warriors' who shun exercise during the working week, then embark on a fitness blitz on their days off, gain almost the same benefits as those following the NHS's guidelines of 30 minutes exercise over five days.

So, when is the best time to workout and how do you stay motivated to make sure you get those sessions in?

We asked three personal trainers to share their words of wisdom and to shine some light on how to stop ducking out of your workout.

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Harry Norman - Trainer at KOGMA and Third Space

The body has an internal 24-hour body clock, consisting of various biorhythms. It's the circadian rhythm that keeps watch over our individual physiology and living processes.

According to the circadian cycle, your best time for coordination tasks, and when you have the quickest reaction skills, is between the hours of 14:00 and 16:00. So this is when you should be doing the sorts of workouts that make you think and those that engage your reflexes, rather than the ones where you get into a rhythm and zone out.

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The best time to do endurance and strength exercises is between 16:00 and 18:00 - perfect for those after-work HIIT sessions at the gym.

Your body can also benefit hormonally, from training at different times of the day. For example, if you go to the gym soon after a stressful event, then you can use pent up frustration or anxiety in your training, turning it into something that is positive and good for your physiological development.

Overall, being aware of and in tune with our own body will determine the most suitable time of day to train.

What works for one person might not work for another, some can fit in several training sessions in short time period, others require large periods of rest between sessions.

Ultimately, doing little and often, in a fun and educational way, is probably the best approach to take, and certainly the most sustainable.

Bangs And A Bun - ELLE's Fitness Editor and Head Instructor at Boom Cycle

Serving you broad shoulder realness all day, erry day.

A post shared by Bangs Carey-Campbell (@bangsandabun) on

I'm all for getting people moving, so I applaud anyone who makes exercise a priority, even if they feel they only have time at the weekend, because every little helps.

But I think we need to break the habit of thinking only big workouts count.

Everyone can incorporate a little more movement into their day, from getting off the bus a few stops early, to not sitting at your desk for lunch and opting to get up and walk instead.

Really, it all counts.

Zanna van Dijk, PT, Trainer at F45 in London Bridge and UN1T in Parson's Green. Author of STRONG

The best time to exercise is the time when YOU can fit it in.

View your sessions the same as doctors' appointments - don't cancel them! If you're struggling with cancelling workouts at the last minute, I recommend popping them in first thing in the morning.

That way you get in there before your workload builds up for the day.

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