When is the most optimal time to train? Is it at night, in the morning, or perhaps mid day? The answer is a boring "it all depends". There are a lot of factors that dictate when you train, obviously the biggest one being your daily schedule. If you only have a select 1-2 hour period during the day that you are free then that will be your best time to train by default. The choice in that case is either you train or you don't at all, and training is always better than skipping planned sessions
However what if your schedule is free? Then how do you go about deciding when to train? Well the first thing you'll want to consider is how do you feel at certain times of the day. I'm not talking about being tired. If you train consistently at a designated time you will eventually adapt and shake that fatigue factor, but how does your body feel? When you first wake up in the morning the vertebrae in your spine is full of fluid, you are essentially decompressing the spine while you lay all night. This is not the greatest thing if you plan to throw 600 lbs on your back upon waking up. It is doable but certainly not optimal. This is something to consider if you have a hard time feeling "strong" under the weight in the morning
Another factor regarding how your body feels is how tight you are when you wake up and how quickly can your body release that tension? I personally have extremely tight hips, it can become very painful for me to wake up and start squatting and deadlifting in a few hours. I need the day to let my body loosen up and time for me to continuously stretch and work on that tightness. I could wake up and immediately start a stretching routine and feel somewhat better but it takes me a while to feel good enough to squat and deadlift with decent weight. If that sounds familiar to you then you would be best off considering a later training time because that is when you will get your most effective, pain free training in.
If you have built up an impressive resume of injuries over the years then you probably wake up feeling like shit. You are likely incredibly tight and it takes you even longer to loosen up. If that is the case then training in the morning may not be wise for you at all. That recovery factor and being able to release your tension becomes more important than the training itself. If you try to push yourself to train too early you might actually be harming your body more than helping
If injury and tightness does not effect you and you could work training in during periods of your choosing, what do you consider next to find the most optimal training time? If you compete, look at what time your competition is! If you're a powerlifter your meet is likely in the early morning or the afternoon, if you play high school sports you play in the afternoon, if you run marathons you begin in the morning, if you do combat sports you could be fighting at any time morning to night. Find what time you compete and try as much as you can to get your training done at that time. The body is adaptive and if you do the majority of your training at that exact time, your body will know that is a consistent time you need to be able to perform. It may be difficult at first to train early morning or late at night but if you replicate the conditions of your competition you will effectively eliminate another outside variable that could play a role in your performance
By considering the above factors you should have an ideal training time nailed down. To recap... injuries, your bodies readiness to train safely, time of competition, and ultimately your daily schedule will all effect what time you should train at. If you are anything like myself you will not have to look further than what your busy schedule allows. I do not get to train at optimal times but I get the training in anyways and continue to get strong. The time you train does not have an overbearing effect on how well you perform but if you are fortunate enough to have the ability to train when you decide, then consider the factors discussed here to narrow down your options
Email me at email@example.com if you would like to discuss your schedule and what an ideal training plan for the week would look like for you!