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“The most important thing in terms of scheduling your workouts is a consistent schedule,” says Alec Blenis, CSCS, CES, PN2, a strength and endurance coach and ultraendurance hybrid athlete. This enables your body to anticipate the effort and get into a rhythm and mindset of OK, it’s time to exercise now or It’s time to cool down and relax.

Keeping a relatively consistent schedule for exercise, meals, and sleep is a key component of fitness success. The more consistent you are, the more your circadian rhythms stay steady, enabling you to get into a flow state and tap into necessary energy when you need it — and to relax when you need to, as well. (See “The Connection Between Circadian Rhythms and Overall Health” to learn how these rhythms affect your health — and how you can better attune to them.)

Research has shown that morning and evening workouts both offer amazing benefits. According to a recent study published in Frontiers in Physiology, morning exercise reduces abdominal fat and blood pressure in women; evening exercise increases muscular performance in women and lowers blood pressure in men.

The key is finding the schedule that works and feels good for you, Blenis says. Workout times must account for any personal factors influencing exercise — so it’s easier to stick with your schedule without worrying about work meetings or dropping off kids at daycare.

“Everyone’s schedule in life is so different and everyone has different priorities,” says Blenis. “I encourage people to have consistency because it helps with habit formation and making workouts more enjoyable.”

But remember, the timing doesn’t have to be perfect. “Getting your workout done is better than skipping it just because you couldn’t do it at your preferred time,” he adds.

As much as we try to pit activities or exercises against each other to find the ultimate fitness path, the real answer is that there isn’t one. To explore more exercises that are often pitted against each other, visit “Is There Really a “Best” Workout?,” from which this article was excerpted.

Sarah Tuff

Sarah Tuff Dunn is a Colorado-based outdoors, health, fitness, and nutrition writer.

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