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What Is The Best Time To Perform Your Bodybuilding Workouts for Best Results?

By November 2, 2009

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Is there a time that is better than others to perform your bodybuilding workouts for best results?  If you ask ten bodybuilders, more than likely, you will get ten different answers.  However, if you ask me, I'll tell you that it depends on what you are looking to accomplish. 

For fat loss with muscle gain, I feel working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is the way to go.  Since your glycogen (stored carbohydrate) levels are low, it will be easier for your body to use the fat stores for energy. As long as you are not a hardgainer who has a raging metabolism and can easily burn muscle, or a bodybuilder with diabetes who needs to watch his/her blood sugar, this is a good strategy.  And if you are concerned with cortisol levels and being catabolic due to training in the morning before eating, drinking water and taking 5 grams of glutamine, 5 grams of creatine, 5-10 grams of branched chained amino acids, and 1 gram of Vitamin C prior to the workout will more than protect your muscle mass.  Working out in the morning on an empty stomach takes some getting used to but I promise you that after two weeks your body will be adapted to it. 

When muscle gain is your main bodybuilding goal, training in the afternoon offers the advantage of a higher glycogen level created by the multiple meals consumed, and thus, this results in more energy to push yourself harder.  Hardgainers should definitely stick to training at any time other than in the morning on an empty stomach.

With all of these being said, at the end of the day, in bodybuilding consistency of execution is what wins the game.  So even if fat loss with muscle gain is your goal, and you cannot train in the morning, then the best time to train is whenever you can allocate the time to perform your bodybuilding workouts.

Since training time is often a subject of controversy, I not only wanted to give you my opinion on the subject, but also the opinion of top bodybuilding legend (IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Famer) and fitness expert Lee Labrada on what is the best time to perform your bodybuilding workouts.

Please feel free to comment and let us know what bodybuilding workout times have worked best for you and why.


November 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(1) Steve says:

Fat loss and muscle gain. How are these things possible? Losing fat requires less calories. Gaining muscle requires more. Explain.

November 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm
(2) Orthologian says:


Read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes. Calories don’t have anything to do with fat loss and muscle gain. (I know, it does sound crazy). For a short intro, watch this video: http://webcast.berkeley.edu/event_details.php?webcastid=21216

Hope it helps,


November 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm
(3) Maria says:

If you consume say, 21,000 calories in a week, and burn only 14,000-you gain 2 pounds. 3,500=1 pound.
Muscle weighs more than fat, and takes up ‘less space’.

Personal example, I weighed 145lbs, 32″ waist. I started to work out 6 days a week, about 1.5 hours/day, cut back on carbs, no beer, but drank Caesars-still had to have some fun. In a month, I was down to a 29″ waist, but still weighed 145lbs.


November 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm
(4) Kentie says:

Several years ago I started working out and went to the gym in the morning. I loved it! Then I moved and wasn’t able to do my morning workouts, so I just didn’t workout. Then one day I decided that I am going to try evening workouts. I did and kicked myself for not doing it earlier. So I agree with the statement, it is important to workout when you can.

November 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(5) Henry says:


Not sure if you respond to these comments or not, but I was wondering if you advocate weight training on an empty stomach first thing in the morning over just doing cardio on empty stomach first thing in the morning (For fat loss obviously).

If you do, where does cardio come in? after lifting? wouldn’t that be a little bit extreme? Or no cardio at all?

January 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm
(6) Keno says:

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