AM vs PM workouts

Thread starter #1
I would like to have some opinions from the guys of the forum that are lifting at the gym.
I recently started to do my workouts on my lunch break around 12 pm rather than 7 pm, because I am having constant elevated cortisol that I'm trying to address. Also, about 30 minutes after a heavy workout at night, I would start feeling anxious for no reason, probably due to the spike in cortisol at night, and my sleep was definitely worse.

Now, working out earlier in the day has resolved the anxiety spike at night, and I'm sleeping better, even if not perfectly yet, but my strength has sensibly gone down. Just as an example, I am able to do 6 reps of bench press with 140 kg in the evening, while the other day I was struggling to do 120 kg around noon.

Is it something anyone else experienced? Is it transitory? I read a lot about the fact you should workout when testosterone levels are higher during the day, but obviously that doesn't matter for us. The variable in my case would be the amount of calories I have consumed in the morning vs the evening and the fluctuation of cortisol levels and adrenaline.

My only other experience with morning workouts was years ago, at 6 am for 3 months and my body never adjusted to that. I just couldn't lift because I was still sleepy and having low testosterone at that time didn't help for sure.
 
#2
I tried working out in the evenings and it absolutely affected my sleep. it was as if I had extra adrenaline running thru my veins. Also, after work I was tired so I experience the opposite of you.
I think I would like a midday work out, but no way I can swing it. So I am a 5am guy 4 days a week. I do a version of Will Brink's coffee, posted on here, as I walk out the door to gym. I can say it takes a bit of work to get into it, but I like getting my metabolism in high gear for the day right away. Just my 2 cents
 
#3
I also like to work out in the morning, I'm a 5 a.m. guy too. I have my best workouts in the morning, at night I'm just not as motivated. When I was younger it was the reversed, I always did my workout you in the evening. I guess as I became older I became a morning person.
 
Thread starter #4
I'm curious about the science behind it and what makes a difference in terms of strength gain. I wouldn't have expected such a huge difference since I'm on TRT, but it seems that testosterone didn't change anything here.
You have most fitness gurus advising to workout in the morning, due to the cortisol curve pattern, but some studies have proven that there's a higher hypertrophy response in the evening workouts:

 
Last edited:
#5
I lift in the morning on Sunday and the early afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday and see no difference in strength or endurance. I just prefer to exercise earlier in the day.
 
#6
I hit it over my lunch period from 1030-1145 Mon-Thurs. This works exceptionally well for me. getting up to hit it before work has me up @ 0330 and makes for a helluva long day though I like being in the gym at those hours.
After work about 1530 the place is jam packed with A-holes so that's not an option either.
 
Thread starter #7
I hit it over my lunch period from 1030-1145 Mon-Thurs. This works exceptionally well for me. getting up to hit it before work has me up @ 0330 and makes for a helluva long day though I like being in the gym at those hours.
After work about 1530 the place is jam packed with A-holes so that's not an option either.
Any noticeable change in strength in these 3 different period?
 
#8
AM and lunch seem to be the same, if I were going at night I'd probably be down in weight from just being spent from my day at work. Too I think my T being low SHBG I think my T is on the way down @ 12hrs post injection and my E seems to stay elevated just a few hours longer so my evenings are pretty wore out.
 

fifty

Active Member
#9
A 20k difference on a set of 6 bench is insane. I would chalk it up to a bad day or maybe you’re just stressed/rushed to get stuff done at lunch.

There is no real world reason for this. I’m sure you can find a dozen explanations on reddit but be careful where you get your advice. Hell most powerlifting meets start in the late morning. Many top ncaa football teams lift in the morning as well.

Here’s a question. When do you eat before your lunchtime and evening workouts? If you lift before lunch but after dinner well there’s your answer.

In conclusion, just make sure you are well fed (and well awake; ideally ~4hrs) before lifting. Everything else is bro science or science on people who don’t even train hard.
 
Last edited:
#10
Good sleep is likely way more important for your health than strength, especially bench press strength. That said, I often do my heavier workouts late in the evening and it works really well for me, however my workouts are sometimes fairly long and I don't like to have any more time pressure than necessary when I'm lifting. Being stressed is very negative for my strength and I have learned to de-load if I am under stress, so if you are stressed for some reason mid-day, that may be part of it.
 
Thread starter #11
A 20k difference on a set of 6 bench is insane. I would chalk it up to a bad day or maybe you’re just stressed/rushed to get stuff done at lunch.

There is no real world reason for this. I’m sure you can find a dozen explanations on reddit but be careful where you get your advice. Hell most powerlifting meets start in the late morning. Many top ncaa football teams lift in the morning as well.

Here’s a question. When do you eat before your lunchtime and evening workouts? If you lift before lunch but after dinner well there’s your answer.

In conclusion, just make sure you are well fed (and well awake; ideally ~4hrs) before lifting. Everything else is bro science or science on people who don’t even train hard.
The difference was quite a lot, that's why I started wondering what was happening.
That day was actually last Saturday, so no rush, but it was just 2 hours after waking up and 1 hour after eating, with only a banana and a glass of juice as carb sources.

When I was lifting at night, I was having 2 meals already absorbed (breakfast and lunch) plus a banana before workout.

I was also thinking to add a coffee before working out, but with an already elevated cortisol, I don't know if it's a good idea.
 
Thread starter #12
Good sleep is likely way more important for your health than strength, especially bench press strength. That said, I often do my heavier workouts late in the evening and it works really well for me, however my workouts are sometimes fairly long and I don't like to have any more time pressure than necessary when I'm lifting. Being stressed is very negative for my strength and I have learned to de-load if I am under stress, so if you are stressed for some reason mid-day, that may be part of it.
I used to like it at night, because it was a way to de-stress after the workday and throw some of that daily stress into the weights.
But it seems that my body started to tell me that wasn't the best time for me, especially when I added volume and intensity in the workout.
 
#14
A big factor for me is caffeine intake. If I workout early morning then it is difficult without the kickstart of a coffee.

Coffee on an empty stomach and/or a very light breakfast is going to guarantee a great workout but inevitably leads to a crash past 1pm. Tiredness, anxiety, dry mouth, digestive issues etc.
 
#15
Years ago, I readjusted my schedule for morning workouts and it was the best thing I ever did. Too many long days and travel delays to deal with for working out at a consistent time in the evening. (Plus my wife wasn’t exactly keen on my coming home after a 10 hour day and then going to workout).

To assist with this, I purchased a Hoist home gym unit as well as some dumbbells and barbells. I put my road bike on a trainer for when I need cardio. 3-4 days a week (working out anywhere between 5 am and 7 am and I never missed a workout.). The equipment ran about $1,500 but that was like 2 years of a gym membership- and more than paid for itself.

There were times when I had to adjust my workouts significantly due to long commutes - during these times I would just do kettlebells with some dumbbell work and could be done in 1/2 hour.

I could never go back to working out at night and lunchtime was hit or miss. So mornings worked best for me.
 
#16
I train at 430am, have been for 15yrs. Their is a big lifestyle adjustment needed for this commitment, aka. getting to bed earlier, getting up fucking early. You must get used to early training and your poundages will be the same, studies prove more warmup is needed for the early times.
 
#18
I am also a morning guy. I’m up at 0315 and at the gym by 0400, M-F. When my wife wants to workout, I will go with her in the evenings, for auxiliary work and cardio. I think the diet and routine are the biggest items to have in line to support working out effectively and efficiently. I workout fasted, with a preworkout and cup of coffee. Then spend the rest of the day putting good, clean food back in my body to prepare for the next day. I do sleep in on Saturday and lift around 0900 and take Sundays off.
 
#19
Actually, it totally depends upon what is your goal like if you are looking for losing weight then morning am time is best because when in the morning you don't consume any foods in heavy amount mostly we can say on an empty stomach you are doing workout so it considered more effective. If you are doing a workout at evening it would benefit for those only who want to build muscles and gain weight. I think this information quite sufficient for you.
 
#20
What paulgonzales86 says is spot on for me too. I prefer early AM workouts since I seem to lose fat easier in the mornings. Strength is far better late afternoon / early evening, but I'm not as interested in putting on a ton of muscle, as I am getting the endorphins going early am, which lasts, to some degree, for most of the day. The disadvantage to PM workouts for me, as several above have stated, is that it affects my sleep. I have a challenge staying asleep and evening workouts make it worse.
 
Top