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Don’t be in the dark - late-night workouts

Written By

Colin Gentry


General Fitness

Posted On

31 August 2016

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Early risers take note: exercising at 6am may be working against you

The excuse of not having enough time in the day to workout has just got thinner. The Night Tube has launched in London, running 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. That, coupled with the rise of 24/7 gyms opening across the country, means there is now an opportunity to get fit around the clock.

A calorie burned at 9am is the same as a calorie burned at 9pm or 3am, but there may be benefits of working out past your bedtime. Personal trainers looking to increase their clients may wish to consider setting their alarms for night owls and making the most of the gains that can be had exercising after dark.

All fired up 

Working out at night means you have already had the day preparing to get hot and sweaty. The body’s core temperature is higher in the evening, meaning the muscles and connective tissues are warmer. This means that time spent on stretching and warm-up at the start of a workout can be reduced. It also means that warm muscles are perfectly primed to lift heavy weights and do explosive exercises.

Burn the midnight oil

Training in the morning usually means a good eight hours beforehand without any food and a hastily snatched protein shake. A workout at night has the benefits of a days meals to fuel it, with a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner sustaining energy stores. This can result in being able to exercise for longer.

Related content: Learn to become a personal trainer day or night with our study options

Build your body

If your goal is to increase muscle mass, then waiting for it to get dark before you train may be a strategy that tips the balance in your favour. Texas A&M University has found that muscle strength doesn’t peak until later in the day. Before lunch, high levels of cortisol can actually prevent muscle growth. Evenings, however, see an increase in testosterone, making them an ideal time for those looking to pack on size.

Snooze or lose

Those training later at night can attain a higher level of fitness than those who exercise first thing in the morning. The Clinical Research Centre of the University of Chicago has revealed that the body's metabolism adapts better to an exercise routine at night. Levels of two endocrine hormones - cortisol and thyrotropin – were found to increase far more in those who chose to train later than those who were up at the crack of dawn.

Go hard and then go home 

Workouts at night can last 20% longer and performed at a higher intensity than at first thing in the morning. According to research by the University of Birmingham, it takes 11 hours after waking up to reach our full potential in the gym.

TRAINFITNESS recently discovered half the UK feels too tired to exercise. So, the next time you sleep through your alarm, consider enjoying a lie-in. You may discover your personal bests come alive in the dead of night.

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