Dear Fun and Fit: What is the best time to work out?

Kymberly: Your timing on the timing aspect couldn’t be timelier as we just read a concise wrap-up of factors that help people stay consistent with a workout program.

The absolute best time is when you will actually go. You derive benefits from exercise whether it’s o’dark thirty or too darn early o’clock. However, people who exercise early in the day tend to be more consistent and therefore more successful.

Alexandra: If you’re a procrastinator, I’d recommend the morning. That way you will be done with your exercise and can focus on putting off all the other stuff you should be doing. And some of my university students sign up to work out later in the day simply because they don’t want to wake up early. Of course, by “early” they mean “before lunch.” So the best time for them is different than for most other age groups.

K: In short, the statistical reality is that human nature kicks in (sometimes even before the endorphin rush!), which plays out as those who put exercise later in the day tend to keep pushing it off — until it’s the next day, then the next. Those who schedule exercise first thing simply adhere better.

As for me, I love to exercise in the evening when the gym is quiet and I can watch TV guilt-free as I pedal along. But then I teach morning classes, so I’d say for me, the best time is when I am paid to work out and people are counting on me to show up. Yup, that is my favorite time!

Now? Then? Tell me when!

Now? Then? Tell me when! (Creative Commons photo)

A: Sort of related, but not exactly (meaning: “not much really, but I just want to put it out there”) is that one trait people who have lost weight and managed to keep it off for at least one year have in common is that they eat breakfast. It didn’t matter what time of day they worked out, yet it did matter whether they ate breakfast (Wing & Phelan, 2005).

Here’s the secret: No matter what time zone you’re in or if you put your workout where the sun does or doesn’t shine, be consistent.

K: Like F and F twins, great questions often come in pairs, so allow us to answer, “What’s the best cardio activity?” while we’re at it.

Dear readers: What time works best for you? Who works out before the sun is up? Why?

— Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves. They co-write Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A. You can currently find them in action leading classes in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program. Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to