The Best Time Of Day To Work Out, According To Your Chronotype
Everyone has a chronotype — a natural inclination to be more alert at certain times of the day and to feel more sleepy at others. Your chronotype is determined by your internal biological clock, and not everyone’s clock keeps the same rhythm. Knowing your chronotype allows you to figure out the time of day during which your energy levels are at their highest so you can schedule your workouts accordingly. Exercising when your energy levels are at their peak will allow you to power through your sweat sesh more effectively and see gains that much faster.
Experts used to believe that there were only two chronotypes: the morning lark and the night owl. But new research reveals that there are actually four chronotype categories: the lion, the wolf, the bear and the dolphin. Here’s how to figure out which category you fall into and how to time your workouts accordingly.
Previously known as the “morning lark,” the lion chronotype is the person who tends to have high energy in the morning. They naturally wake up early and are ready to go before sunrise. If you’re a lion, your productivity tends to peak between 10 a.m. and noon and then tends to decline as the day goes on. People who fit this chronotype should aim to work out first thing in the morning when their energy levels are at their highest. And to get optimal sleep, aim to go to bed around 10 p.m.
Formerly known as the “night owl,” the wolf chronotype fits the person whose energy levels peak when the sun goes down. By nature, “wolves” tend to stay up late and they’d happily sleep in until midday (or later) if their work schedules permitted. People who fit into this category should aim to work out in the evening — or after work — when their energy levels are at their highest.
If your work schedule doesn’t allow you to wake up late, try taking a warm shower in the evening. When you get out of a warm shower, your core body temperature drops and experts say that this signals to your brain to release “sleep hormone” melatonin, which naturally makes you want to snooze.
If you fall into the bear chronotype, you’re one of the fortunate people who benefit from a steady flow of high energy and alertness throughout the day. People who identify with the “bear” chronotype naturally have a sleep/wake patterns that match the solar cycle. These people are most productive during the daytime and have lower energy levels at night. We wish.
If you fall into this category, you should exercise mid-morning to reap the most benefits. Although “bears” are relatively alert in the morning, they differ from “lions” in that they’re not as energy-charged in the wee hours before sunrise.
Poor “dolphins” — they get the worst of both worlds. If you fall into this category, you tend to have naturally low energy levels throughout the day, but you’re also a light sleeper so even minimal noise often wakes you up during the night.
If you’re a “dolphin,” you should aim to work out about 90 minutes after you wake up in the morning. Since exercise naturally boosts energy levels, working out soon (but not too soon) after you wake up can give your typical sleepy self an energy boost that will help you start your day off on the right foot.
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