The best time to workout to build a habit

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If you had all the free time in the world, would it matter which time of day you exercised? Today we’re sharing the best time to workout so that you can build a better fitness habit for yourself. It’s hard getting up early or finding the motivation after a long day to make room for a work out session. So let’s take a look at not only the best times to workout but also how to form that habit.

What is the best time to workout?

Don’t get frustrated with the answer to this question. But as far as the best time to workout is concerned, it mainly depends on you and your schedule. 

There are benefits to working out in the mornings or in the afternoons. Which option is best for you, depends on how you can answer the next question.

What time of day can you consistently work out?

Say you want to work out in the afternoons but you know every Tuesday and Thursday you have a work obligation that will get in the way. Well then working out in the afternoon doesn’t sound like it would be ideal. You are looking to choose a time that allows you to regularly (and consistently) work out at the same time. 

Part of habit forming is choosing a routine that can actually work with your life’s busy day-to-day schedule. Sure, you may not always be able to do some exercise at 12pm every single day. But if you can guarantee that your lunch time is a consistent gap in your day, then it may just be the spot for you to get your exercise in.

Lastly, in some studies it does appear that working out in the morning is the best time to workout. This is solely due to the fact that as a person’s day progresses, they tend to have unforeseen tasks or needs pop up. By finishing your workout at the beginning of your day, you’re ensuring that no excuses or obligations come up that may interrupt your exercise routine.

Woman taking a rest on the stairs

Tips to form a habit

Here’s some ways to help you break the endless cycle of starting and stopping your workout routine. 

1. Set small, obtainable goals

Don’t shoot for the moon, right out of the gate. Choose some small, bite-sized goals like putting on your tennis shoes every day. Or walking to the end of the block. 

In the beginning, exercise doesn’t need to look like an all out 30 minute fast paced run. James Clear does a great job of explaining in detail how small, realistic goals are the way towards a lastly habit in his book, Atomic Habits.

2. Focus on the good

If you only think about how you have to get up early and how terrible it’s going to be, you’ll never get anywhere. Get your brain to think of exercise in a positive mindset. 

Try this exercise.

By getting up early to exercise I get to [insert 3 answers].

Training your brain to take something you typically thought of as negative and instead, focusing on the positive, takes time. But by trying to focus on the positive aspects of any given scenario, you’re destined to start seeing transformation.

3.. Don't try to do it alone

Another way to battle the process of forming a habit is to find someone to do it with or a way to hold yourself accountable. Some research shows that without something “on the line”, we aren’t motivated enough to care. 

That’s why here at moderately fit, we designed a habit forming app, backed by science. When you sign up for the app, you are given the option to add “motivation money”. If you participate every day, you get 100% of your stake back. How much are you willing to bet towards your own success?

4. Change your thoughts on rest days

Having active, rest days help you not skip a day. When you take a full day to rest, you get out of that routine. Stopping that momentum is what can potentially leave you susceptible to not starting back the next week. So instead, go for a walk with your dog or a friend (or both!). Find a bike and go for a casual ride around the neighborhood. You don’t have to sweat but get those tennis shoes on and keep your body moving.

If you keep at it one day, it’ll start becoming second nature to work out and you’ll appreciate all your hard work in forming that habit!

No matter the time, no matter the year, congrats on working towards a healthier you! Do you prefer mornings or afternoons for your own personal workout? Let us know!

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