If you’re thinking that working out in the morning is better than later in the day because you’ll start your day burning more calories, you’re probably wrong. There’s nothing to suggest that working out in the morning compared to later in the day will burn more calories.
Working out in the morning can be difficult, maybe not physically, but mentally. I know that if I’m going to ride my bike to work in the morning, I’ll set my alarm for a half hour earlier than I normally get up, just so I can stretch and psych myself up for the morning commute via bicycle rather than car.
This is one reason why I prefer working out later in the day: I’m already awake and feeling good. I have to strike a balance though, because the later I postpone exercising, the greater the chance that I grow more tired and ultimately put off exercising all together.
On the other hand, working out first thing in the morning gives you the motivation to “be good” throughout the day. If you start your day off exercising, you might be more inclined to make better food choices knowing how hard you had to work to burn off those calories.
However, another advantage to working out later in the day compared to first thing in the morning is you may not have to warm up for as long. Joe Rogan said on one of his The Joe Rogan Experience podcasts that he warms up for about an hour before exercising in the morning because his body hasn’t had time to stretch yet. This makes sense but seems excessive to me, because I don’t even exercise for an hour, so warming up for an hour seems crazy! Then again, I’m not a savage like Joe Rogan is, though I do like to pretend I am.
Something to keep in mind is that if you workout later in the day rather than the morning, your body has stored enough energy throughout the day to help you power through your workout. Exercising first thing in the morning could deplete your body of any energy that you had stored up, leading you to crash or give up half way through your routine.
At the end of the day, it’s personal. Workout when you have the motivation to do so, and exercise when you have the time to do it. The important thing is that you’re exercising and not putting it off for tomorrow. Just ensure that you’re getting a proper night of sleep, you’re eating a well-balanced diet, and that you’re warming up beforehand to prevent any unwanted injuries.