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Today's Greatist Tip: When to Hit the Gym

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Welcome back to Strength-Training Tuesdays. This week, we’re talking about when to do all that lifting, because (as they say) timing is everything… or is it? Physically, afternoons may be your best bet for effective weight-training. Between 2p.m. and 7p.m. the body is warmest, making it more limber, and testosterone levels (which helps build muscle) are also at their peak. But that doesn’t mean early birds shouldn’t workout in the AM (they do, after all, catch the worm). Morning exercise may be easier to keep consistent, and an early workout definitely beats no workout at all.

However, a workout too late in the day (after about 8 p.m.) may disrupt sleep patterns, since exercising raises body temp and heart rate. Plus, exercising at night can prevent proper muscle repair. Excluding those late night hours, schedule strength-training in at the time that works for your body and schedule. Plus, exercising at the same time every day may even improve performance. So morning, noon, or night, keeping it regular may yield the best results.

The Takeaway: Afternoons may be your body’s best time to exercise, but morning workouts could improve consistency. Choose the time that you prefer, just avoid exercising after about 8 pm.

Time Protein Intake, Too

Protein is a critical nutrient when it comes to building and repairing muscles. Have it in the morning (when the body’s protein stores are most zapped) and after working out to give muscles the TLC they need.

Fun Fact:

Protein terms can be a little overwhelming. Here’s the run-down: up to 20 amino acids make up all proteins. If a food does not have all 20 it’s called an “incomplete protein” (while “complete proteins” have ‘em all). “Essential” amino acids aren’t the only necessary ones, they’re just the ones our bodies can’t produce themselves.