Cardio later in the day?

  • I'm new to the program and have found that I lack the energy before breakfast in the morning to hit a good high point in the cardio workouts.  Is it better to keep trying in the morning or is it OK to move the workouts to the evening and try for a better high point?

  • It's OK to do cardio in the evening...however, I would recommend not eating 2-3 hours before and 1 hour after.    It seems to be working for me.  

  • reddog,

    I think a lot of it depends on your goals. If your main goal is fat loss then doing it in the morning in a fasted state is the best time for fat loss. At that point your glycogen levels are totally depleted and the body digs directly into your fat stores for the energy needed to complete the exercise. Eating food before running to run further or faster sort of defeats the purpose because you are buring the energy from the food you ate and not buring fat. Does that make sense? Just my take on it. But like highplainsdrifter said if first thing in the morning isnt possible waiting 3 hourse after eating is the next best thing.


  • Reddog,

    The debate rages on over cardio in the am in a fasted state.  I have read dozens of articles from professional bodybuilders who either agree or disagree, very passionately I might add, that it is the best time to do it.  Opinion is definitely divided on this one, so you are right to canvass it and figure out what is best for YOU.

    I personally don't agree with HIIT in a fasted state because it makes ME feel like hell within the first 5 minutes.  I have more energy, perform stronger and feel more energetic in the pm.  I make sure I have a meal maybe 2 hours before, and don't wait an hour before I eat again.  It works great for ME and I am exceeding my goals in regards to dropping my BF%.  I'm emphasizing that ME because everyone is different.  For Orrin and Highplainsdrifter, doing it in the am in a fasted state is best for THEM and is giving them great results.  

    Do a bit of googling/ reading and come to your own conclusions.  There are MANY articles lol.  At the end of the day, if you hate doing it you aren't going to stick to it. Do what you can stick to, work really, really hard and eat 100% clean.

    All the very best in your challenge!

    Jules x

  • Ditto what Jules82 said!!!!

    Almost all my cardio sessions were done either midmorning (an hour after meal 1) or in the evening.  It didn't work for me with my kids/husbands weird work schedule to do it early mornings, as much as I would have liked to get it over with already!  So I just did it when I could, made sure I worked out really hard, and ate clean.

    Susan Berna

    2010 Body-for-LIFE Grand Master Champion

  • And look at the body Sue got with PM cardio!!!

  • I agree wholeheartedly with Jules and Sue. I think the key, well one of them, is to really listen to your body. There are some people who just don't function well without eating in the morning and there are those who can. For me I can get up drink two glasses of water and workout. I,actually, feel ill when I eat before I work out. That is just me. I don't think it is right to tell people one way is right over another in this case. Listen to your body. And like Sue said work hard and eat clean. Do this and you will see results.

  • Again, check out how great Orrin looks after doing cardio in a fasted state in the AM.

    Sue and Orrin have worked hard.  VERY HARD!  It doesn't matter as much when you do your cardio, and in what state, what really matters is your determination to hit your 10s, eat clean and make each workout better than the last.

  • There is alot of debate about whether fasted cardio is even as beneficial as originally thought. The original research stems from the idea that in the morning you are running on an empty stomach, your glycogen levels are depleted and your body is therefore in a "catabolic" state: optimal for burning fat for energy. The problem is that it can also cause lean muscle loss.

    In the short-term it may produce some results, but over the long-term there is not a significant difference in body composition from doing HIIT in the morning or evening. IN FACT, since losing fat is ultimately a matter of calories in- calories out you may actually get better results by doing it in the evening. The reason being that you are more energized, and you can work out HARDER at a higher intensity level than you might be able to in the morning which will translate into MORE calories burned, which means greater fat loss.

  • I'm an afternoon cardio-er as well. As you can see from the examples given here, I think either way works just fine, the key being actually doing it IMO.

    If doing early morning means you skip it to sleep in, because face it, not everyone is a morning person, do it in the pm. The key is finding the right schedule for you that delivers you to the gym every day for your workouts.

    For me, I like hitting the gym after work. Lets me wash away the days stresses with a bit of me time before heading home. Find I am much more relaxed in the evening and sleep much better with an afternoon workout session.

  • Right on, BCBill.  My cardio is between 9:30 and 11:00 pm on weeknights, and Saturday + Sunday AM.  The main benefit comes from getting your heart rate up in an intense session.  There is purportedly a small benefit to doing it before breakfast, because in theory the body must get the energy from the fat reserves.  This is a relatively small effect -  the energy balance equation is not a function of the time of day!


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Thanks for all of the replies.  I've been doing the cardio in the evening and I certainly feel that I go much harder than I did in doing it in the mornings.

  • It doesn't matter what time of day you do the cardio...

  • It doesnt matter when you workout, what matters is that you do it

  • reddog,  I am certainly not going to disagree with what has been posted before, and totatlly agree that you have to do what is right for you to be successful.  So hope that working out in the evenings finds you hit your tens, and does great for you.

    For me, things were a bit different, I am sooooo not a morning person, and liked working out after work to relieve stress etc, but three weeks ago decided I would try the morning workout.  Oh my gosh, was the first two times terribly difficult? but I kept at it and now find it works great for me. I hit personal bests in the morning compared to evening, I guess from being tired after a full day.  But also I found that with my workout done and out of the way, I had the whole day ahead of me and didn't have to think, gosh I have to leave work at this time or have to get this done before my workout etc etc.  And I saw better results.  So for me, just me, mornings are working better. And trust me I am shocked to say so because I hate getting up in the morning.

    Again, hope you find the right schedule for eating and working out that works for you.