T Nation

Circadian Rhythym and Training

CT do you have a view on when is the “optimal” time (assuming one has the luxury of choosing schedule) to train?

I think you personally train early morning (maybe 1 hr after waking up?).

There are also some folks out there (“scientific” study minded) showing 80%+ more gains if training in early evening.

They cite circadian rhthym. It’s not just performance (strenght/explosivenes) but actual physiological signals…natural trainees can add way more muscle if they train early evening vs. morning.

I know personally, after a long day at work, it’s harder for me to perform optimally, unless I use stimulants, and it keeps me from sleeping as well sometimes. Which is a big no no

Early morning, sometimes I feel not as strong/intense, even though more mentally focused (body not “warmed” up yet). And I do find myself most explosive after a few hours of waking up.

Thanks for your thoughts

I wake up at 4:30 and train at 7:30…the two best theoretical times to train are 3 and 11 hours after waking up. I’ll post more when I get home

A Russian weightlifting text estimated the best time to train by using hand dynamometer throughout the day to see if there were times where force production was higher (I often mentioned grip strength being an indication of the working state of the CNS). And they found that “on average” there were two peaks in grip strength: 3 hours and 11 hours after waking up. This is where the “optimal” training time comes from.

In reality it is likely affected by other factors too. For example how much energy you have stored (if you train fasted in the morning, especially if you didn’t eat close to bed you might not have much fuel for example) or how tired you are (after a day at work training can be harder) for example.

One thing I noticed though is that if you always train at the same time your body will adapt to that and after a while you will perform optimally at that time.

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Thanks for that, acually come to think of it I might have asked you previously and got that answer. Apologies if repost.

Good timing too with this t-nation article https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-best-time-of-day-to-train?platform=hootsuite

which basically pointed toward late afternoon/early evening. But it’s “Far from conclusive”…who knows, maybe CT would have 30 more lbs of muscle if he didn’t train at the crack of dawn :slight_smile:

I don’t think so. The thing is that the body is an adaptative machine. Even circadian rhythms can be changed (asked someone who works the night shift).

The TRUE answer is “the best time to train is the time you are used to training”. Many Olympic athletes know in advance the schedule of their competitions and train at that time. The body gets used to it. I have trained late afternoon recently and my workout was horrible.

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