If you've read some of my other articles such as Maximize Your Time, you know that I'm completely fascinated in making the most out of time. In essence, making my time and your's as efficient as possible. Now, I'm an avid weightlifter and can identify with the need for physical fitness, that being said, how can you get the most out of your workout? The best way to do this is to figure out your fitness goals. Are you training for muscle growth, or are you training for muscle strength? Once you've decided which direction your training program is going, implementing the strategy below can help you optimize your gym time.
Ask yourself, what times of the day are the most crowded at your gym? If you said early in the morning and right after work you'd be right. The reason being is that it's simply due to people's 9-5 schedules. But perhaps there's more to it than you realize. Could these in fact be the two best times of day to train for increased size and strength? Of course training at anytime is better than not training at all. But careful examination of current fitness research is trending toward confirming that these two times of day, early morning and late afternoon, are the best for fitness gains, specifically growth and strength.
If you're interested in gaining muscle mass, consider training in the morning. The reason is that by training early in the morning you take advantage of optimal hormone levels. Testosterone levels are higher at that time compared to cortisol, making it an ideal time to add muscle mass. This is assuming of course you can get yourself out of bed.
If your primary goal is to increase strength, the evening might be the best time for you to train. Your hormone levels are opposite what they are in the morning, meaning your cortisol will be slightly higher than testosterone levels making this time less potent for muscle mass building, but your strength training will be optimized because of it. The only problem you might encounter is fighting the crowds in order to get to the gym equipment.
Keep in mind that everyones parameters differ, however, training at these specific times of day may provide you with the best overall results. Try each time frame if your schedule allows and keep track of the specific gains your body yields. You'll not only optimize your gym time by doing this, but also reach fitness goals and in doing so you can set new ones.
If you have other ways of optimizing your gym time or just maximizing you time in general I'd love to hear them. Don't be shy and post a comment, were all in this fight together!