People often wonder when is the best time of the day to do cardio. Should they do it in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening? Should they combine it with weight lifting or do it in separate sessions?


The simplest answer is that the best time to do exercise is whenever it’s most convenient for your daily schedule and when your energy levels are at their highest. In order to see results, you need to make your exercise routine a habit. This means that the time you choose to exercise has to be a decision you will stick to for long enough to see progressive changes.



Morning sessions

Many people enjoy doing their cardio in the morning. They say it makes them feel re-energized and gives them extra energy throughout the day. Another benefit is that you get it out of the way early and won’t be inclined to skip your workout after a long and busy day. Those who do cardio first thing in the morning may also wake up earlier than required to keep up with a demanding schedule later on in the day.

Fasted cardio

Exercising on an empty stomach before breakfast is known as fasted cardio. Research has proven that fat oxidation is greater on an empty stomach, which triggers a faster rate of fat burning. If you’ve been struggling to get rid of those last traces of fat, this might be an ideal strategy or plateau breaking technique. Make sure you only do cardio on an empty stomach, not strength training. Weight lifting will require a lot of physical energy and you risk not pushing yourself to your limits if your workout is not properly fueled. Click here to learn more about fasted cardio and how to incorporate it into your routine.

Evening sessions

Plenty of people prefer going for an evening jog or hitting the gym after work, and perform better when exercising during later hours. If you’re not a morning person and will struggle to get up early, then you’ll be unlikely to benefit from a morning gym session. In that case, stick to afternoon or evening workouts.

Cardio and weights: separate sessions or combined?

Separate sessions

Ideally, the best way to do cardio and weight training would be in separate sessions. This allows your body time to rest and recover and means you can give each workout your full potential. The added bonus is that you exercise twice a day and give your body a double metabolism boost. Cardio should be done on an empty stomach before breakfast in the morning and followed by an afternoon or evening session of weight lifting. Splitting your workouts into separate sessions can also keep each workout shorter and more intriguing. Some people find that doing two hours of exercise back to back can become monotonous.

Combining sessions

If you simply don’t have the time to exercise twice a day (although you can always make time if you are pursuing a body transformation program!), then you can combine your cardio sessions with weight training. If you do chose to exercise in one session, always start off with weight training first and then do cardio afterwards. This is because weight training requires a lot more energy and you don’t want to affect your results by being fatigued before you even begin. Similarly, weight training will also deplete your muscles of glycogen (stored carbohydrates in the muscles), which means that a cardio session afterwards will further increase fat loss. This is because carbohydrates are first depleted from glycogen in the muscles and the liver before fat storage are used.