It's a question that I often get asked? And really there's no one size fits all answer, and here's why:
Practical and logistical factors can influence when you exercise. Each type of exercise has it'sown restrictions such as how much time you need to get cleaned up afterwards, or coordinating schedules with an opponent,or fitting in with a training session or class time. Are there showers, particularly if you need to be fresh for business meetings after your training? Is there a convenient place to dress, do your hair, and apply makeup for the office after your workout? If you’re a runner, when you run may hinge on how long it takes you to get ready for work in the morning, with family and other morning responsibilities, or how much energy you have left after a long day in meetings or behind a desk. Another factor to consider is whether your neighborhood is safe for evening or after-dark runs? Or is your gym a reasonable distance from home, or would you need to travel a long way after an exhausting day?
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY (I TALK ABOUT THIS A LOT!)
The practical considerations are all well and good, but they are only part of the whole picture. If you can easily fit in an hour’s workout before work, but then have no energy until the mid-morning, what seemed like a good idea at the time won’t translate to real world success. This is why you need to listen to your body. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you mind rising before the sun each morning to exercise before work? When do you feel like you have the most energy? All this can make a big difference in the success of your exercise commitment.
Consistency is vitally important. For your exercise efforts to really pay off, you need to do it consistently. If your work schedule is flexible, you may be able to choose your own best time to work out. But if you’re committed to rigid office hours, the time of day you exercise will depend on when you can most often fit it in. But be consistent, once a week will not work.
HERE'S SOME SCIENCE TO CONSIDER
Can science help you make your decision? Maybe....
Some studies show significant benefits from morning exercise:
The take home? There’s no hard-and-fast right or wrong time for exercise. The best time is the time that works for you, both physically and mentally. Choose a time of day that fits your schedule, your lifestyle and your personal rhythms: a time that allows you to not only be consistent, but to enjoy yourself. After all, if you don’t have fun moving your body, strengthening your muscles, and increasing your stamina, you may not find time to do it at all.
(adapted from Leslie Vandever's article on Australian Fitness Network)