Exercise: Wake-up call or night cap?

Forget the chicken or the egg, the age old question is sunrise or sunset...regarding exercise, that is. If I didn't have to be a productive member of society, I would say that early afternoon is the most optimal time to exercise, but since the world at large does things during the day I am bound by societal pressure to be a sheep--baaaahhh. Therefore I must choose the crack of dawn, or the social-life-crushing evening. If only typing were considered exercise.

The experts say that a.m. workouts are beneficial because people are more likely to stick to a routine that won't be sidelined by social plans. Old wives' tales say that you burn more fat in the morning because you (theoretically) haven't eaten yet. Talking heads also say that evening workouts are more effective because your body is already warmed up, your muscles can work harder and you can last longer. You know what, enough of other peoples opinions on the workout conundrum, here's my beef:

A.M. Pros:

  • I like that I don't have to fight for machines, I have my pick of treadmills, and no one is taking up space in the TreadClimber
  • I don't have this overwhelming feeling of guilt when I get home from a hard day of sitting in front of a computer
  • There is a drop in the "sketchy dudes trying to pick up sweaty women" quotient
  • My nights are free for friends, cocktails, flirting, and movies
A.M. Cons:
  • Waking up early and actually doing something besides drinking coffee and watching the news SUCKS
  • I am starving all day; I don't know if it's psychological or physiological, but my appetite will not quit when I workout in the morning.
  • There aren't many "classes" offered in the a.m., and I'm big fan of group fitness
  • My morning prep time is seriously diminished and I end up looking like a cross between Charlize Theron in Monster and Pee Wee Herman for the rest of the day
P.M. Pros:
  • Classes. I love classes!
  • I'm never quite hungry post night-time workout, so dinner is generally lighter
  • Sleep: I get to do it in the morning, which is when I like it most
  • Energy: I have more of it in the evening, which is helpful for doing productive things
P.M. Cons:
  • I'm just going to go ahead and say it: it's hard to blow off your friends for a treadmill
  • Sometimes (most of the time) there are things I'd rather do in the evening than wear spandex and mop up my own sweat
  • It's so easy to talk myself out of exercise at night
  • These are all the same con aren't they? I think that just goes to show that it's a really, really big con.
So, what do you do? When do you work out and why? Will you call me in the morning to get my rear end out of bed? Please? I'll send you some sort of baked good--or would that be counter-productive?


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[photo credit: Getty Images]