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Lately I've been hearing a lot about hormonal cycles and how they change throughout the day. From what I've heard, testosterone seems to be lowest in the afternoon and highest in the morning and evening. I would think hormones like insulin, growth hormone, and cortisol could have some effects as well.

For the purpose of gaining strength and muscle, what is the optimal time of day to lift weights and why?

Edit: not sure why this is getting downvotes. Any feedback?

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This is a perfectly reasonable question, and is related to body's hormonal response to exercise. – Ellocomotive Feb 26 '14 at 22:15
+1 great question! – A-K Apr 28 '14 at 13:25
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The time of day that is most beneficial to lift weights is the time of day you can do it consistently.

There's a few things that you need to know about circadian rhythms:

  • The effects of hormonal cycles during waking hours are minimal
  • They adapt to your pattern of life

If you can more consistently train in the afternoon, your body will adjust to make it so you can more effectively train in the afternoon. The key is that you do it consistently.

There are those that swear by different times of the day, but the bottom line is that their bodies adapted to that time schedule. Consistency trumps hormonal cycles when it comes to the chronic (i.e. cumulative) effect of training even though acute (i.e. one time) effects might favor something different.

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