Adjust your training to the time of day


Let's get a couple of details straightened out before we move on, the first one being training; what is training exactly, and why is it necessary. Training is challenging someone or something to get desired adaptations, in simple words; you get better through discomfort - Training is necessary as we humans need a certain dose of stress in order to function properly, and seeing as that our lives are relatively comfortable, self-imposed stress is required.

Seeing as 'getting better' is your main concern you will want to maximise the effectiveness of your effort, which is where the ciradian rhythm comes in. Every organism goes through cycles, the most common one is the cycle of being asleep and being awake. This cycle is primarily dependant on temperature and light exposure. Your body adjust itself to the time of day.

How does the circadian rhythm affect us?

The circadian rhythm primes you for certain behaviour, where in the morning you get a shot of the 'stress' hormone cortisol to get you moving and a shot of the 'relaxation' hormone melatonin to make you drowsy. These are just two examples of the many physiological responses your body has to the circadian rhythm.

It is worth considering what actions, tasks and/or behaviour are best for the morning/afternoon/evening. Not only will the activity be easier to execute, it will also support everything else much more effectively.

How does all of this relate to training?

Every type of training has its own physiological and psychological effect on us. Some training will make you sleepy, other exercises giving you focus and/or energize you. Matching your remaining day, time of the day with the right exercises can greatly benefit you.

What type of training has what effect?

I'm going to speak in general terms as every individual responds different to stressors and there are many many other factors that affect your response to stress (work, caffeine, kids, etc.)

  1. Structure & Controlled contraction

Any training that involves carrying weights, continued contraction of large muscle groups with proper breathing and a calm state will make you more prone to; being relaxed, social and improve your digestion.

This type of training is best done after 5 pm, as it will assist sleep and digestion

2. Flow & Movement

Training that involves moving around, complex movement patterns and long-range of motions will make you more prone to; creative thinking, problem-solving, increased awareness and a calm focus.

This type of training can be done the whole day through, but is best done when you need to be creative and calm.

3. Strength & Conditioning

Exercise that involves ; explosive movement, heavy weight, chasing failure, general discomfort, a state of enduring matched with shallow breathing will make you more prone to; assertive behavior, strong focus, undertaking acitivities and feeling energized

Conditioning is best done early morning and Strength work is best done between 2 and 4 pm, ideal for a work day.

These guidelines are, that's right ; guidelines, not exact science. If you only have time to train in the morning and haven't done structure work in some time, forget the guideline. Just be aware that going against these guidelines will have repercussions such as lethargy and insomnia.

What does this mean for you?

Not only can you program yourself effectively to become more adapt at dealing what you need to deal with like doing that task that you've been putting off or standing in front of a crowd, it will also give you insight into current problems you might be dealing with.

''If your training is the same no matter the time of day, you could do better''

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