Summer is just around the corner, and especially now since the weather seems to be consistently staying nice (knock on wood), the gym is once again becoming quite crowded. One of the questions that we often get is “When is the best time to work out at the gym to see optimal results?” We answer that question with this thought: Focus on your pre- and intra-workout nutrition and it won’t matter what time of the day you decide to get your workout in.
Most people train after work, which makes a certain amount of sense. You are fully awake, have eaten 3-4 meals (we hope), and your hormone levels should be nearly optimal. You might even use the workout as a stress reliever if your boss or co-worker annoyed you. The downside? Depending on your job, some of your mental energy might be spent already. How to overcome the lack of energy before your workout? We use 3 grams of L-tyrosine with 200-300mg of caffeine 30 minutes before the workout. This combo gives a nice even focus without making you hyper, like some of the sugary energy drinks out there (it’s also cheaper).
As for the last meal before training, we recommend a lean protein/complex carb combo, something like flank steak and potatoes, chicken and rice, oats and whey. You’ll have to figure out what works for you; in my case, I get the best pumps when eating red meat before training.
During the workout, we prefer to have 10-15 grams of amino acids or whey (BCAAs work as well). Post workout, we recommend that you stay away from the high-carb protein shakes — if anything, it just makes us feel bloated. Instead, try waiting an hour and eating a solid meal. No matter how good/fast your protein powder is, the amino acids in your blood stream immediately after training will be the ones from the meal before.
What about those poor souls who have to train at 5 or 6AM? First off, the good news is, your body gets adjusted to any workout hour. Your first attempts at working out in the early morning might not be so great but then you should settle into a rhythm. The tyrosine-caffeine combo can work wonders in the wee hours in terms of motivation.
In our modern society, very few people actually have the liberty to pick the perfect workout time for them. So make sure you are well fed, focused and hydrated — this way, no matter what time you decide to go to the gym, you’ll be able to get a great workout!
Until next time,