Is There a Best Time to Exercise?
Exercising is certainly one of those things that we all should be doing on a regular basis. Yet the studies show that most of us are not, or at least not as regularly as we should. There are those who say that whatever time you actually workout and feel good about doing so is the best. Others say that basing your exercising times around your circadian rhythms is the best option. Let’s take a look at some of the research.
Exercise and Circadian Rhythms:
The circadian cycles within the human body regulate our temperature, blood pressure, alertness, metabolism, and a whole host of other factors. But research also suggests that we can train and even reset these rhythms. So, if we decide to exercise in the morning (or whenever), the body and the circadian cycles will reset and adjust. This resetting is actually what we do every day when using an alarm clock. After all, not everyone has a body that is ready to wake up when it is still basically dark outside in order to get to work on time.
Current research does indeed suggest a “best” time for working out. This is normally the late afternoon. The main reasoning behind this is that the body temperature is at the highest. Other factors include strength and endurance being greater at this time than any other in the day. Also, we are most alert and since the muscles are already warm and flexible it is easier to warm up and injuries are much less likely.
Despite these findings, research also shows that people who exercise in the morning are more consistent in their efforts. There is also some evidence to show that exercise improves sleep quality, which is a nice extra benefit.
Some Pre-Workout Supplements to Consider:
One of the best ways to make sure that you are ready for your workout and get all you can out of them is to use a pre-workout supplement.
Whey protein can be very effective. It contains branched chain amino acids that are responsible for increased energy and quicker muscular recover. It is also great to take immediately after finishing your workout to further speed up the recovery process.
Citrulline Malate is another very effective pre-workout supplement. This is an amino acid and also a key intermediary in the production of cellular ATP (which is basically energy that is delivered directly to the muscles). This can also lead to better muscular pumps and being able to exercise at a stronger and higher level.
You have probably heard of or even experienced plateaus. Plateauing is when whatever we have been doing to either lose weight or build muscle seems to suddenly stop working. This stall is despite the fact that you are still dieting and working out as hard as ever (maybe even harder!). What is going on here? There are a number of reasons why people reach plateaus and also ways to prevent and break free of these nasty situations.
Why Do We Plateau?
The human body loves balance. The body works hard to create a balance between energy (food) intake and output. When an exercise or diet program is first implemented, the body is shocked into making changes. You are essentially putting an overload of stress on the body and it is forced to adapt by losing weight and/or building muscle.
Unfortunately, this cannot last forever. The body eventually reaches a point where it has effectively compensated for the increased energy output. Once there are enough extra resources to handle the extra activity and stresses involved with the program, you will hit a plateau and then no more weight loss will occur for quite some time.
The key concept to remember in terms of weight loss and muscle building is that everything works (for a while) and variety is the spice of life. Plateaus can be prevented with proper planning. This involves not eating the same foods each day. It is also helpful to vary caloric intake slightly from one day to the next.
In terms of exercise, vary your routines as well. Use both strength and aerobic routines and make sure to periodically change what you are doing. This might mean adding new exercises or performing sets in a different way. You might even be able to perform exercises at a different speed or in a slightly different range of motion. The bottom line is to keep your body guessing. Do not allow your system to accurately guess what might be coming next. Doing so can certainly prevent the body from becoming comfortable and will force it to continue losing weight and/or building muscle.
Breaking Free Of Plateaus:
If you are currently experiencing a plateau, the good news is that you can break free quite easily. What you need to do is change the overall environment or circumstances. This could mean increasing activity levels, decreasing overall caloric intake, or changing around your entire exercise program or routine. Basically, you need to try shocking your body once again in order to make it think that more stress is coming and it needs to prepare.