T Nation

Training Time: AM vs PM


For the past year I've been training after work consistently, getting into the gym around 5:30-6PM. I am definitely a morning person, usually up by 5:30AM, but have always trained in the afternoon because I felt like I had more "gas in the tank" after having eaten at least 2-4 meals already. What are your thoughts on training in AM as opposed to the PM?

Do you think training in the morning after breakfast would be any different than training in the afternoon? Conceptually I feel that if I finish my training in the morning, than all of my meals will be utilized by my body to recover and rebuild.

For those of you that have switched/played around with AM vs PM training, what are your thoughts and experiences? Did effect sleep, growth, progress, or any other facet of your training and/or nutrition?


I used to love going to the gym at night but that's because I didn't have a set schedule and would go to sleep at random times every night so I would wake up late or if I had work I would sleep after work because I wouldn't have enough energy.

Lately I been having a set schedule where I try to go to sleep at around the same time and go to the gym right after work(at around 5-6 pm) which I still consider early compared to before when I used to go at 9-9:30 pm. The thing about going to the gym late for me is that I drink fluids and then I get home eat drink more fluids shower bla bla. When I finally go to sleep I have to wake up every couple hours to pee which sucks.

Right in the middle of the day when you have had at least 2 meals in and are "woken up" is my favorite time to go. Afterward I can pee eat pee eat and then when the night comes I get to sleep without waking up every couple hours.


^my best time is a couple hours after lunch in the middle of the day.

also, after dinner works with the same schedule; dinner around 6, couple hrs to digest, lift around 8, shake after and still have an hour to process before i go to bed.

my lifts are garbage if i lift right after breakfast. i can get up early, but the function isn't there.


I think this is an interesting point. The past week, I experimented and lifted at around 7AM every morning (I have to be into work at 9:30). I did experience much better sleep and think that this could be a contributing factor.

Unfortunately I have to lift either early in the AM or later in the PM because of work (9:30-5:30), so mid day is out of the question.


Well if you can lift with the same intensity that early in the morning then go for it. If you are waking up that early, training hard then working a full day you are going to be dead by the time you come home. Obviously with the gym you are dead afterwords as well BUT you get that post energy rush which makes it harder to relax and sleep.


I lifted in the evening (anywhere from 4-8pm) all during the school year, but now that it is summer i lift in the mornings. However, I do not lift until I feel "woken up". Meaning, i eat my breakfast and relax for a while. Example: Wake up at 8 am, eat breakfast, read the paper, listen to music/whatever, around 10 am down a pre workout shake, get changed, prepare my during workout/pwo shake, go to gym and lift. Usually i feel fully awake at 10, which is why I start lifting then. I have tried to start lifting before my "awakening" so to speak, but it is awful and unproductive. I would never wake up, down a shake and get lifting, fuck that my energy/intensity would be unbelieveably low.

Summary: Morning workouts are no different to me in terms of strength, as long as I give myself a couple hours to wake up.


This. When I switched from pm to am my body couldn't handle the same level of intensity and I always ended up feeling nauseous and ending up puking almost every time.

After two weeks of trying to make it work, I had to switch back to pm.


I just recently switched from PM to AM and it pretty much sucks, still. I've been adding a shake with oats, superfood, nuts and protein which has helped but I'm no where near as strong, most lifts have gone down more that 30lbs. I keep busting ass and making the best of it but sometimes it's discouraging.


Do you use caffeine at all? I don't drink coffee much, but I found that having 2 cups of green tea with breakfast helped me work much harder in the gym.

I'm trying out early lifting (7AM) and have actually found it to suit me well. Getting a good breakfast, a great lift in, and a hot shower, all before work, makes me feel like I can accomplish anything, and confidence is king.


I found that I feel strongest in the gym between 3pm and 7pm, after I've had a few meals.

I remember CT or someone talking one time about how a certain chemical or hormone in your body that is good for lifting is highest right after you wake up, and then again 10 hours after you wake up.

I usually wake up around 9:30am, then lift at 3pm or 6pm, depending on my schedule.


I have at least a cup of coffee before hitting it. I get through the sessions just fine now however the numbers just aren't as high.


Same here. Lifted for 2 years in the early AM. Was at the gym by 5am and had to be at work by 7. Woke up around 4:15 and quickly dressed and jumped in the car. Sipped pre w/o drink during the drive. Seemingly enough everything was fine lifting in the AM. Training partner moved and then I started to go during my lunch hour around noon. Everything went into overdrive. Lifts went up, energy levels up, body weight went up, everything. I have trained a few times since then in the AM and it sucks balls so bad that I have actually left and went back home.


I think Dday actually had a thread on this recently.

I used to do morning training (when I posted in that thread that is what I was doing). I'd be in the gym at 6ish training. The only thing I didn't like about morning training was that if for some reason I was unable to fall asleep early enough (10ish), I would be exhausted in the gym.

Now that I have switched to evening training, I can make sure I have proper sleep and have a few meals in me before I train.

The down side is the gym is normally full of people by the time I get in there at night AND I end up consuming lots of carbs right before bed.


I recently switched from PM workouts to AM when I accidently discovered that I like going early in the morning. I was going anywhere from 2-6 pm. I felt stronger in the evening than I did in the late morning, but I never tried to go right after I woke up either. If i went early it was usually around 11 or 12. However, one day I was woken up at around 2 am by a phone call and couldnt go back to sleep. So, I decided to hit the gym early. I loved it!

Now, i wake up at 6 am pop a thermogenic, grab a shower, eat my preworkout breakfast and get to the gym around 7 am. I've never tried to go this early without a thermogenic, though. So i dont know how bad it sucks to do it on little or no caffiene, but what I'm doing right now is working for me. I'm cutting right now, but I still seem to be getting stronger. So, AM workouts are here to stay for me.


I've always been a big believer in going to the gym when you 'feel' it. If you show up to the gym with no interest in being there you are wasting your time.

Happened to me yesterday - showed up, did my warmup and went home. Came back 6 hours later and lifted like an animal.

But I have a flexible schedule, a luxury not everyone has.


I have been debating this as well lately. I once read that test levels peak upon waking and 8 hours into the day. I google searched but couldn't find the source. I'm guessing this could affect the intensity of your workouts, but I am not educated enough to confirm this.

I am switching from late afternoon to lunchtime workouts soon. 2 reasons: I would like to get my PW sugary carbs in earlier in the day. Right now, I'm eating fruit and gatorade at 8-9 pm and going to bed at 10 sometimes. Since I bring my food to work, my lunch break consists of eating at my desk and reading articles on T-Nation. Taking an actual break from work to hit the gym will break up the day and some of the monotony.

My T-Nation time will have to be fit in somewhere else. Added bonus is that you use the gyms facilities and products for showering. It should save me a few bucks a month, which will be spent on steaks.


I used to always train in the evening. My reason for this was that I didn't seem to be a morning person and always went to bed late. Then I found out I am not a morning person BECAUSE I go to bed late.

I am working 11:30am-7:30pm Mon-Fri now. I wake up at 7:30AM, eat something right away (oatmeal or a good cereal), have a piece of fruit, my multi, D, and fish oil. Have some green tea about 10-20 minutes before I hit the gym. Leave around 8:45AM, arrive at 9AM, and I am out by 10AM. Come home, have my post workout Surge/creatine. Head to work and eat.

I find I can give my all in the morning now because I haven't given much of myself to anything else yet! Before, after a day of work, driving etc., by the time I got to the gym I had shit on my mind and I was a bit tired. I get to sleep no problem now too because I am not wired from the gym. I'm in bed by 11PM latest. I find my appetite sky rockets after working out in the morning, and I can eat much more comfortably than I could with PM workouts.

I did this when I worked 9-5 as well, waking up at 5:30AM. That took a little getting used to, but once I was used to it, it beat the PM workouts for sure.

Another thing, it helps me be disciplined, keeping a constant bedtime and wake up time.

Overall, best decision I've made in a while. Feel great all through the day, have the pumped feeling... just great!

Go for it.


I prefer training in the the afternoon like around 2-3 pm after 2-3 meals, but because I work during the week, I have to train in the evening at 6:00pm. A while back I tried training in the early a.m., and it sucked. I could not train as well as I do now.


I'm just very much a morning person, so I'm going to make the change to the AM. If it seems to be limiting be, I can always change back, but I think evening training sessions paired with the amount of food and liquid I take in pre/peri/post workout are resulting in poor sleep.


waking up to piss at 5 am messes me up. i get up at 7 for class and i never get back to sleep well after i go.