This one is a toughie at first to coordinate, but hits all the major muscle groups in one powerful move. Lie down, back to the mat, with knees bent. Hold a medicine ball on the ground with arms fully extended overhead. Pull the knees into the chest, preparing to use the weight of the ball (and the strength of your core!) to help catapult you to a controlled squat position, then standing. Next, slowly lower back into a squat, and ease back to the floor, butt first before lying back down. Don’t get too comfy though: The goal is to rock and roll for 10-12 reps.
So, when is the best time to train? It’s a loaded question that if you asked a number of professionals you would probably receive a plethora of different answers. There are a lot of different variables to take into consideration, one being that sometimes psychology wins out of physiology when it comes to dragging your butt to the gym. Bottom line is, don’t let the time it says on the clock hold you back from getting your sweat on. Here are the top five times of day to train.
1. When it Fits Best into Your Schedule
Thank you captain obvious, surely this is the first one that comes into everyones mind. The majority of us lead hectic, busy lives, which leaves us little time for much else. The great thing about our bodies is, they adjust. Sure, you may only be able to fit in a half an hour at the gym right after work, and it will be hard the first few weeks, but after that you will fall into a routine and staying with that consistent time will help you stick to your workout regimen.
2. When You Feel the Most Energy
Thanks to our circadian rhythms which control our body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and metabolism, among other things, some of us are morning people and some of us dread the thought of opening our eyes before 11am. I don’t think this is something that should be ignored. The good news is that research done by the University of North Texas, Denton found that even though circadian rhythms are inborn, we do have the ability to reset them. If the only time you can work out is early mornings, keep setting that alarm, once your system resets itself you’ll have no problem rising to the sound of chirping birds.
3. When Your Nutrition Meets Your Goals
If you’re looking to be stronger, faster and improve performance, your body needs to be properly fueled. Muscles have big reserves of a complex carb called glycogen. Muscles convert glycogen into energy that your body utilizes throughout the day. Glycogen stores are usually at their lowest in the morning, which is not ideal for performance.
4. First Thing in the Morning on an Empty Stomach
If you’re trying to drop pounds and lose fat, working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is probably the best time for you. If your glycogen stores are depleted, your body is forced to utilize its fat stores for energy. If you find you lack energy before your morning workout, have something light like a protein shake.
5. At Night Before Bed
Can exercise improve sleep quality? Yes, and no. Exercise increases core body temperature, heart rate and prompts your system to release epinephrine (adrenaline) none of which are ideal for sleep. On the other hand, exercise reduces stress hormones such as cortisol, which can leave your body in a more relaxed state for sleep. Try to wait and hour or two after a late workout to allow your body time to return to a rested state.
Don’t forget some other key points, such as the fact that morning exercisers are more likely to be consistent with workouts according to research. As far as afternoon workouts are concerned it has been shown that injuries are less likely to happen during mid-day because we are most alert and our body temperature is at its highest, so our muscles are warm and flexible. Also, according to research, body temperature is at its highest between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and at its lowest just before waking. You will find that your strength is the greatest in the afternoon. Studies show strength output and anaerobic performance, such as sprinting is 5% higher in the late afternoon, as well as endurance being approximately 4% higher around the same time of day.
I hope this helps some people to decide and stick to a plan of when they are going to get their workouts in. Remember, getting a small session in is better than nothing at all, and making a habit of breaking a sweat everyday could be the best thing you do for your longevity.
I’m not very big on recommending supplements to my clients unless I feel they will absolutely benefit from them, and even then I usually ask them to speak with their doctor first. With that being said, I read an interesting article regarding green tea extract and how supplementing with green tea extract (GTE) can cut body mass by almost 30% when combined with an effective exercise regimen. In a 16 week study performed by Molecular Nutrition & Food Research it was found that significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels and insulin occurred when GTE was ingested by subjects who were also engaged in a running program. These subjects lost 40% abdominal fat after taking the supplement. In addition to that, the subjects also showed improvement in expression of genes related to energy metabolism. With results like that, I figure it’s worth a try, especially if you have hit a plateau or are just looking to blast off those last few pounds, but as I said before, always check with your doctor before adding any supplementation to your diet!
This is a fun battle rope exercise. It mimics the movement a grappler makes when they toss someone over their hip. Grab the rope so the ends are sticking out from between your thumb and index fingers and hold the ends down by your right hip. Pivot your torso to the left. During the pivot, flip the ropes over your hip as if you were throwing a grappling opponent to the ground. Pivot back and forth like this until time is up. Start off with 30 second intervals, breaking 20 seconds in between and completing 3 sets. Increase your time by 15 second intervals to challenge yourself!