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Everyone one of us has an internal, biological clock that tells us what times of the day we are at our strongest. Some of us may be early birds who peak in the wee hours of the morning while others may be night hawks who power up late at night. There is really no right or wrong times of the day to train, we just have to understand that our bodies have a way of telling us when we are at our strongest.
Let me give you an example. In my late teens, I remember training with this one body builder. He was a true morning bird and only trained at 5:30 AM. I remember dragging my ass to the gym at 5:00 in the morning and desperately trying to get my act together. I actually yawned in the middle of a set of squats! This guy would squat 405 pounds for reps of 8 at 5:30 in the morning! I could barely pump out a set of 8 with 135 pounds. After two tortuous months, I threw in the towel because I wasn't making any gains.
I also had the opportunity to train with a power lifter who only trained at midnight! This guy was the exact opposite of the early bird. We trained at a gym that was open 24 hours and I tell you something, the place was busier at midnight than midday! Again, I simply couldn't get into it. I tried for a month but my body just couldn't adapt to the time. My brain was trying to tell my body to power up but my body's internal clock was in shut down mode.
I'm sure most of you reading this right now have been told by athletes and personal trainers that insist on training at certain times of the day. Some may say that you can only make real gains training first thing in the morning while others are dead set on training in the afternoon or evening.
Who's right? Neither because the one-size-fits-all approach to training does not take into account our own personal uniqueness.
Some people are born morning birds. They can jump out of bed, run around, hit the gym and start pounding out repetitions at 7:00 AM. Morning birds have the ability to do this because for them, this is the best part of the day. Others have a hard enough time hitting the snooze button let alone hitting the squat rack! For some us, our energy levels won't peak until mid-morning or early afternoon (maybe later).
Listen, this isn't about laziness or good or bad. This is about understanding our own body's internal clock. I've tried training first thing in the morning and late at night and it doesn't work for me. Who knows, maybe it works for you but my point is to understand your own biological clock. It is what it is and you have to roll with it Simple as that.
You should train when your energy level is at its peak. It is at this time when you will be able to generate maximum intensity levels necessary to improve your performance. We all know, if you want to build muscle, you need to keep improving from workout to workout . Going to the gym in a positive mental and physical state will produce the BEST RESULTS .
However, life isn't that simple. We have jobs, families, school and a bunch of other activities that takes up the majority of our days. The trick is to figure out when you are mentally and physically at your peak and come up with a work around for your other daily activities. Of course, we may be at work when our energy levels are at its peak. For example, if your peak hours are between 2 and 4 pm, you will most likely be at work. If this is the case, you may want to ask your boss for flexible hours or a late lunch. This may seem a little daunting but if you explain to your boss your ambitions and have a plan ahead of time, he/she may be willing to accommodate provided that your work gets done. Strictly speaking as a business owner, your boss will be more inclined to go for it if you have a plan in place (most supervisors are visual and want to see an organized plan).
Question: At which time of the day do you know when you're at your peak?
Answer: At which time of the day do you feel you have the most amount of mental and physical energy? Is it first thing in the morning? Is it the early afternoon? Is it in the evening? It doesn't take a team of scientists to figure this one out. Ask yourself when you feel the most energized during the day.
The most important take away from this article is this. Work with your body, not against it. There is no universal rule that sets out the best time of the day to train. It may take a bit of testing but eventually you'll find your personal sweet spot when it comes to training times. Once you get in tune to your body's internal clock and learn to sense its ups and downs, you will be able to zero in on its strengths. Once you do this, you will be well on your way to achieving the fastest and biggest muscle gains possible.
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All the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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