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The Best Time to Work Out to Lose Belly Fat

Updated: Aug 20, 2023


four women of different ethnic backgrounds are performing the High Plank exercise

During the 2020 Covid shutdowns, we all went through significant shifts in our lives. There was one shift I was actually excited about—the chance to create a workout routine that truly nurtured my body (and hormones).


In my previous blog, I shared my thoughts on cortisol and how to improve hormonal health. What I didn't share is that our cortisol rhythm should naturally follow something like this graphic. We have a natural cortisol spike early in the day which subsides in the evening. Intense training in the evening adds another spike at a less than ideal time. Intense training in the evenings negatively impacts my sleep.


cortisol circadian rhythm chart

So, during the shutdown, I only lead workouts in the mornings. I also promised myself that once things reopened, I'd only teach in the mornings and around lunch!


Let's talk more about timing-based workouts or chrono-exercise. It's pretty interesting.


What is the best time to work out to lose belly fat?

We all know that consistent exercise is good for the body. But did you know that training between 8 am and 11 am is good for heart health? According to research published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology training during this window can help prevent heart disease and stroke. It doesn't matter if you're an early bird or a night owl; exercising during this time seems to bring the most consistent benefits. Intriguingly, morning workouts appear to be the best time to work out to lose belly fat, with women especially seeing significant benefits in fat reduction and lower blood pressure.

white woman with medium-length brown hair is wearing over-ear headphones, leggings, and workout jacket. She's tying her sneakers and is getting ready to strength train in the weight room in the morning.

Strength-Focused Evenings:

If your focus is to build and maintain muscle, several studies reveal that when the sun sets, our bodies are primed to lift heavier weights and train longer. Personally, I'm more of a morning person, but if you're up for double sessions, go for that intense cardio in the a.m. and tackle heavy strength training in the evening.


The most important thing is to find what works for you and stay consistent.


After-Dinner Stroll for Blood Sugar Control:

Let's talk about blood sugar spikes—those surges that follow indulging in starchy foods that tend to end in an energy crash. Well, a simple stroll after dinner can help manage blood sugar levels. I personally love to do this after going out to dinner in the city.


Stretching for Flexibility and Relaxation:

When it comes to stretching exercises, it's no surprise that the evening appears to be the optimal time. Stretching and self-myofascial release can be great for inducing relaxation for a better sleep!


The Importance of Rest: Midnight to 6 am:

There is one period when physical exertion can actually be detrimental to our health - and that's between midnight and 6 am, These are also the times associated with a higher likelihood of heart disease and stroke. During the nighttime, our bodies enter a rest-and-repair mode, and while gentle movement is generally safe, vigorous exercise during these hours can disrupt our natural rhythms.


We Are Unique Individuals:

While this information is interesting, don't feel the need to micromanage the timing of your workouts if all that does is add stress.


Do what works for you that allows for you to be consistent. Consistency is the key to success!🤍


woman in a ponytail is doing yoga outside with the morning sunrise

 

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