The ideal training time for men and women

Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men

The ideal exercise time of day is still under-researched in terms of gender-specific effects on health and performance. In this study “Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men”, the authors therefore analysed the differences in separate groups of women and men who exercised at different times. They investigated the extent to which the time of day at which multimodal training is performed has profound effects on cardiometabolic outcomes, body fat composition and physical performance in men and women.

The aim was to obtain more accurate guidelines so that healthcare professionals and fitness trainers/practitioners seeking a specific outcome can consider time of day when making physical activity recommendations to individual patients or clients. Both in healthcare regarding cardiometabolic impact and weight regulation through exercise, but also in grassroots and elite sport, where even the smallest differences determine performance, such findings may be increasingly in focus in the future.

For this purpose, a systematic and holistic approach to fitness training was used, the so-called RISE – training – a multimodal concept consisting of functional resistance training (“R”), interval sprint training (“I”), stretching exercises (yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi; “S”) and endurance training (“E”). This training programme is an optimal way to meet the current recommendations on exercise standards and at the same time is characterised by time-saving and practical feasibility. Thirty middle-aged women and 26 men with moderate to slightly elevated BMI exercised for 12 weeks in the morning or evening according to this training approach and were analysed as separate groups at the beginning and at the end with regard to muscle strength, endurance, and power, bench throws, fat mass, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, mood profile and food intake.

Conclusion: Morning exercise reduced abdominal fat and blood pressure, evening exercise improved muscle performance in the women’s group. For the men, evening exercise increased fat oxidation and reduced systolic blood pressure and fatigue. Thus, the ideal training time could be important for optimising individual exercise-induced health and performance outcomes in physically active individuals and could be independent of macronutrient intake. These findings highlight the interaction between time of day of training and circadian regulation and the impact this has on cardiometabolic, physical and performance outcomes in healthy, athletically trained women and men after 12 weeks of multimodal training. The duration of training may also influence training effects in a gender-specific manner.