best Tabata exercises, hiit, interval training


Tabata is a very intense form of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. HIIT has become the darling of the fitness world over the past few years. Why? Well, put simply, HIIT allows you to get maximum fat burn in a very short period of time.

In fact, studies have shown that HIIT workouts are much more effective for fat burning, cardiovascular fitness and muscle development than standard workouts. And this is true even though HIIT workouts tend to be much shorter than comparable workouts that don’t use ups and downs of intensity.

Tabata workouts are an extreme form of HIIT characterized by very short workout periods. The average Tabata set is just four minutes long and consists of 20 seconds of high-intensity activity followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated non-stop for four minutes (a total of eight cycles).

Tabata’s name comes from the Japanese scientist who first conducted a study on the effect of four-minute high-intensity workouts on speedskaters. The results of the study were nothing less of spectacular: after several weeks of training, the skaters using the Tabata training system had more gains in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity benefits than those following a standard training regime.

Going Back to Basics: The 4-Minute Workout

While Tabata has been called “brutal” and “muscle killing,” the good news is that the best Tabata exercises consist of workouts that are very short. Not all Tabata workouts are just four minutes long, but you can certainly start with one of that length if that’s all you can do.

The original four-minute Tabata workout can be done in either aerobic or resistance form. For the aerobic option, use a bike and pedal at a very high resistance/fast speed combination for 20 seconds, then slow down or rest for 10 seconds before you do it again. You can also try a treadmill. Set the speed at 10 or higher and run (add an incline if you can handle it) for 20 seconds, then jump off and rest for 10 before jumping back on to run for 20 seconds more. Keep repeating this until you complete your four-minute workout.

The Best Tabata Exercises to Do At Home

No access to a gym? You can do a four-minute Tabata set without any equipment. Start in a squat/crouching position, then place your hands on the floor right in front of you. Next, kick your feet back until you hit a plank position. Immediately jump back into the original position, get up and jump up with your arms extended over your head. Make the jump as high as possible, then go back down into the crouching position and repeat. Repeat for 20 seconds before stopping and resting for 10 (depending on your speed, you should be able to do several of this in a 20-second period).

This is a great option if you want to fit in some exercise into your day but don’t have time to make it to the gym. Just do a Tabata set in the morning or right after work and you’re set for that day.

You can also use free weights for a variation of the Tabata workout. Simply pick one activity (for example, lifting dumbbells over your head) and choose the heaviest dumbbells you can handle. Do repetitions for 20 seconds non-stop, rest for 10 and repeat.

Something to Keep in Mind

Don’t let the four-minute part of the workout fool you: Tabata is incredibly intense and you could get injured if you use the wrong form or you push yourself too hard. If you have a medical condition, talk to your health care professional before attending Tabata, or work with a trainer to let proper form so you can make the most o

tabata exercise, interval training


Whether you’ve tried it or not, chances are you’ve heard about HIIT or high-intensity interval training. Simply put, HIIT is a type of workout that requires periods of very high intensity followed by a short period of rest. You repeat the cycle for up to 30 minutes, depending on the type of activity you’re doing.

Tabata (named after the Japanese scientist who conducted the original study on it) is the short version of HIIT. It requires just four minutes for the entire workout and it’s done at almost maximum capacity, proving very intense even for the best athletes out there.  The proper set up for a Tabata workout is 20 seconds of high-intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Tabata exercises can be a highly effective training method on days when you don’t have enough time to go to the gym or when you want to switch things up.

The Key To Tabata Exercises Done Right

Because Tabata is such a short workout, the number one rule you need to always follow is to pick activities that are very hard and quickly elevate your heart rate. For example, just doing quick feet won’t cut it, but jumping rope with high knees will because it’s a much more demanding activity.

Here are some other tips on doing Tabata exercises right:

  1. Pick activities that require you to raise your arms above your head or your knees up to your chest whenever possible. This elevates the heartrate much quicker and provides a more intense workout.
  2. Although anybody can try Tabata, this type of high-intensity, all-or-nothing workout is best for those with a mid to high fitness level. That’s because Tabata only works if you’re pushing yourself at maximum capacity (90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart capacity) and that might not be possible if you’re a beginner.
  3. You need an interval timer to do Tabata properly. Because of the intensity of the exercises and how quickly you move from the work periods to the rest periods, it’s almost impossible to just “count in your head.” With an interval timer, you can set your work and rest periods properly so you don’t go on or stop for too long.

Speed is important in Tabata. If you take too long for a single repetition, you won’t be able to do as many in the 20 seconds you have for work. So work fast but without sacrificing form. Poor form can lead to injury, since you’re lifting heavy weights or performing difficult activities that are pushing your body to the max.

Tabata Exercises to Try

While Tabata works with almost any type of high-intensity activity, some exercises are perfect for this short cycle.

  • Burpees, including side to side burpees and burpees that incorporate a  jump
  • High bench alternating step ups (swing your arms to increase your heartrate even more)
  • Jump switch lunges (instead of regular lunges) Again, swinging your arms makes the exercise more challenging
  • Hockey jumps

You can also use Tabata exercises with dumbbells, kettle bells and even the monkey bars to do chin ups. When using dumbbells, make sure you are going with very heavy weights for maximum muscle burn. Good options to try are kettle bell deadlifts, kettle bell swings and hang clean dead lifts (using a weighted bar).

When trying Tabata for the first time, pick an exercise that doesn’t require a lot of coordination. That way you can concentrate on form and repetition. Once you have mastered the rapid cycles of Tabata, you can try using different activities so your body stays challenged from session to session.


interval training, interval training benefits


You might have heard a lot about interval training benefits: it’s more effective, it leads to faster fat burning and it gives you both cardio and muscle training in one package.

What you might not have heard is that interval training has an additional benefit: It can help you beat boredom — one of the main reasons people don’t stick to their exercise routine. In fact, many experts hail interval training as one of the ultimate fun workouts.

Here are some other tips to help you stick to an exercise routine:

Tip #: Have Fun

Who says working out has to be boring? If the idea of sitting on a stationary bike for 45 minutes makes you want to cry, you might be the kind of person who does better with a more interactive workout. For example? Well, anything from a ballroom dancing class to joining the local karate center might be the answer. Or you can try different cardio and strengthening classes at your local gym.

If you are working out on your own, just varying your workout from one session to the next can do wonders. So try the treadmill one day, jump rope the next and experiment with interval training on the stationary bike or the crosstrainer on the third day.

Tip #2: Set a Fitness Goal

Not a weight loss goal. Make fitness about getting fit and let the pounds melt off as a  (great) side benefit. If you focus just on the weight loss part, you might end up frustrated if the pounds don’t come off as quickly as you expect.

What kind of fitness goal should you be aiming for? Anything from running a marathon a year from now to being able to run 20 minutes without stopping on the treadmill. Or you could aim for more immediate goals, such as upping your workout routine to four sessions a week or being able to lift heavier ways.

When you have a set goal in mind, getting through the tough days becomes a lot easier because you’re looking at the big picture and the rewards down the road.

Tip #3: Find a Buddy

A fitness buddy can take many forms. Asking a friend, family member or coworker to join you at the gym is the most obvious option. If you can’t find anybody to come along, however, there are other ways to feel less lonely during your workouts.

One is to hire a personal trainer. If having a trainer next to you for each workout is too expensive, try alternating a workout with a trainer and one on your own (or join a fitness class for your “alone day”). Or try a virtual trainer app such as Apernix LLC’s Personal Trainer or Life Fitness’ Virtual Trainer apps. These can guide you through a workout by telling you what machines to use and for how long. You can even choose pre-set programs in advance so you can be sure the workout you’re doing has the right intensity and length.

Tip #4: Bribe Yourself

No food rewards allowed, but anything else is fair play. For example, tell yourself you’ll get a manicure after you complete five workouts or a new shirt after you lose two inches off your waist. Or plan a small reward for after each workout, such as picking up a cup of sugar-free ice coffee from a local café or buying yourself a magazine or another small item from the corner store.

Keep the goals and the rewards compatible. Paying for a massage after each workout is probably not an affordable goal, but telling yourself you can only get a massage after 20 workouts is also not a good idea – making the reward seem really far away can kill your motivation.


hiit, what is hiit, interval timer


HIIT or high-intensity interval training is a type of workout that uses periods of alternate intensity. HIIT differs from traditional interval training in that the work periods are much more intense. In addition, traitional interval training can have periods of rest following the work periods. With HIIT, there’s more likely to be low-intensity recovery periods (where you’re still moving but at a low pace) rather than complete stop periods.

HIIT is sometimes also known as High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE) because of the rapid change in activity and the intensity used during the workout.

What Makes HIIT Different

One of the most important characteritistics of HIIT is that the workouts rarely last longer than 20-30 minutes. They can even be as short as four minutes if you’re following the Tabata regimen, a specific type of HIIT.

Experts believe that short HIIT workouts can be more effective for fat burning, cardiovascular training and weight loss than traditional workouts that are twice as long. For example, studies have shown that an hour of HIIT is as effective as over five hours of other types of workouts that follow an even level of activity (no ups and downs on intensity). That means people using HIIT obtain the same improvement in endurance and cardio fitness with a much smaller investment of time.

And the improvements are fast. A study published on the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance reported that as little as seven sessions of HIIT can improve your endurance performance by an impressive two percent. If you’re working out three times a week, that’s just over two weeks to start seeing significant results.

The reason for the impressive results? HIIT uses a larger percentage of muscles in your body (up to 80 percent of them) when compared with other activities. For example, standard cycling and jogging use just about 40 percent of your muscles during a workout.

How to Do HIIT Right

The good news about HIIT is that you don’t have to do the same workout over and over. In fact, it’s best if you keep switching your activities in order to obtain better results.

HIIT does adhere to some basic principles:

  • Always warm up before your first period of high intensity. The warm up can be as short as a minute or it can be several minutes, depending on the length and intensity of the workout to follow.
  • HIIT workouts can last anywhere from four to 30 minutes, but not longer. Because of the intense nature of the workout, exercising for a longer period can be too exhausting and could even lead to injury (due to overwhelmed muscles)
  • The most common HIIT formula is 2:1. That means if you do two minutes of high-intensity work (like running or sprinting), you follow that with one minute of walking (this would be considered your low-intensity period).Use an interval timer to make sure you get the periods right.

If you are out of shape and need to start slower, you can make your rest periods equal to your high-intensity periods. So can do one minute of running and one minute of walking, for example. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you can then start adjusting your periods to increase the time you spend on the high-intensity periods. Keep in mind that the goal of HIIT is always to alternate high and low intensity periods. If you don’t do this – or if the periods are too different in length, such as four minutes of hard work but only one of rest – you’ll be compromising the effects of the workout and you might not see the same results.

wearable technology, circuit training, CrossFit


Need a partner to help you get through your training session? How about one tiny piece of wearable technology that ticks all the marks and it’s the perfect price as well?

Meet Set Starter, a small timer you can wear on your thumb. Who says keeping track of your CrossFit workouts had to be difficult?

What Exactly is Crossfit Training

The name CrossFit is actually a trademark name. It belongs to a fitness company founded in the year 2000. CrossFit workouts are now licensed in over 7,000 gyms around the country and has inspired many imitations.

Chances are when you use the word “CrossFit” you’re actually referring to a more general way of training — what fitness experts call “circuit training.”

What CrossFit is all About

Whether you’re talking about the original CrossFit or thinking about circuit training, you’re probably picturing a mixed workout. The heart of CrossFit is a mix of cardio conditioning and strength training that works on muscular strength, flexibility, cardio endurance and more. The exercises are performed at a high speed and pace, constantly switching among activities to ensure you’re maintaining a high heart rate while also making the most of your muscle training.

Common CrossFit exercises include:

  • Handstand push-ups
  • Box jumps
  • Jumping rope
  • Lunges
  • Pull ups and push ups
  • Rope climbs
  • Rowing (in a rowing machine)
  • Running
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Deadlifts

Crossfit workouts are usually performed on “stations.” That means special areas are set up in advance so you can perform one exercise and then immediately move to the next one to continue your workout.

Where Set Starter Comes In

Official CrossFit training sessions are performed as group classes, with participants moving from one station to the next under the watch of a trainer or instructor. If you’re doing your own version of CrossFit or trying out circuit training, keeping track of repetitions or how much time you’re spending on each station can become difficult.

Instead of trying to count reps or constantly looking at your watch, you can simply program Set Starter for 30 or 60 second intervals. Once the timer starts, you simply keep going with the activities in your station until the alarm lets you know that the time is up. You can then use the next timer interval to rest before you move on to the next station.

For an even more intense workout, do two stations on a row and then rest on the interval. Keep doing that throughout the whole training session. CrossFit workouts are usually one-hour long, but if you’re doing your own version of circuit training, you can switch things up, increase intensity and decrease workout time. For example, if you make sure that every other station is high-intensity cardio, you could finish up your entire workout in as little as 30 minutes.

Tips for Mazimizing CrossFit Training

If you’ve never tried CrossFit before, try searching for a local class. Joining an official CrossFit workout will give you an idea of exercises to try, teach you proper form and help you learn more what makes this type of workout a good choice.

Other things to keep in mind when trying CrossFit or circuit training:

  • Vary the exercises you do in each session. Even if you’re working your arms on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, make sure you’re picking different exercises on each of those days. Variety is key to muscle development – letting your muscles get used to the same exercises will actually affect your results negatively.
  • Don’t skip rest between sets. Rest helps your muscles and your heart recover so they can perform at their best during the next set of exercises.


02I22785 copy


Let’s face it: keeping track of time without an interval timer is not always the easiest thing in the world. Get distracted with a good workout or with a set of exercises and it’s easy to keep going longer than expected.

The opposite is also true: you might find that you’re taking breaks that are longer than they should be. And this affects not only the intensity of your workout, but also your long-term results. After all, resting an extra minute here and another one there can easily steal away 15 minutes or more out of your one-hour exercise routine.

Sounds familiar? This is where wearable technology comes in. Sure, you could simply wear a watch, but there are many benefits to sticking to an actual timer. Keep reading to find out how an interval timer can help you during your workout.

What Activities Can Benefit From a Gym Timer

Any type of workout that has set periods of varying intensity will require some kind of timer. For example, interval training, where you mix ups and downs of cardio activity, requires careful timing. This is important because otherwise, you might make your periods too long or too short, and that in turn can affect how effective they are at improving your fitness level.

While the word “interval” often brings to mind sets done on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer, you can also do interval workouts when jumping rope, lifting weight, training with a kettlebell and more. You can also try interval running outdoors, as well as other activities that won’t require you to visit a gym.

Interval timers are not appropriate for impact activities such as boxing, since the timer has to be worn on your thumb during exercise If you are hitting a punching bag, for example, you run the risk of damaging or destroying the timer in the process.

The Benefits of Using a Timer vs. a Watch

Although interval trainings can vary in intensity, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is one of the most popular options. HIIT requires constant switching between periods of high intensity and low intensity or rest. Those periods can be anywhere from one minute to 3-5 minutes each. High-intensity and rest periods can be of the same duration or not, depending on the intensity of the activity and the type of workout you’re following.

Tabata intervals are a type of HIIT training that requires switching periods even faster than that. In fact, the typical Tabata workout is 20 seconds of very high intensity cardio training followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat for a total of four minutes, then either switch to a different type of exercise or rest for several minutes.

With such short periods of work involved in a workout, it would be extremely easy to miss out on your mark to stop or start without the help of a timer. Although a stopwatch would mark the time accurately, you would have to keep your eyes on it constantly so you know when to stop and start — a very difficult task when you’re engaged in a high intensity activity such as running or jumping rope.

With an interval timer, on the other hand, you can concentrate on the actual activity until the alarm (beep, vibration or light) goes off. That indicates it’s time to stop and rest – or to start your next set again.

In the end, an interval timer is there to make your workout easier and to take off the pressure. How much you take advantage of it depends on how hard you decide to work out after you slip the timer on.


hiit for running


HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is more commonly associated with gym workouts. That’s because this type of cardio training requires mixing short periods of high-intensity training with longer periods of moderate intensity. For example, a typical HIIT workout could be one minute of sprinting or doing jumping jacks, followed by two minutes of walking or slow cycling. These periods are repeated several times until you meet your desired workout time (15-30 minutes, for example)

Because of the way HIIT works, it’s often ignored by runners or other endurance athletes.  Done well, however, HIIT can do wonders for a runner’s workout and can even improve your resistance, cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Curious? Here’s how to adapt HIIT to work with a running workout.

Abandoning Old Ideas

The old principle of running has always been “run longer to run better.” That means the only way to improve your running fitness and abilities is to run more miles and to improve your speed.

If you want to incorporate HIIT into your running workout, you’re going to have to abandon that concept and instead adopt a new one: shorten the length of your run but add short bursts of sprinting and high-intensity running into the workout. This completely changes the dynamic of your workout and allows you to train differently. And that’s part of the reason why HIIT works for runners.

How Effective is HIIT for Running?

More than you might think. In fact, researchers have found that runners using a HIIT training program can achieve similar results to those using a traditional running training program. When comparing both groups, the results in maximal aerobic capacity (the functional capacity of your cardiorespiratory system) were almost identical.

Even better, when comparing HIIT runners to “traditional” runners, researchers found that people using the HIIT system experienced less fatigue.

HIIT provides one additional benefit. Seasoned runners might find that they’re having a hard time improving athletic performance after they’re reached a certain level. That means that even increasing the length of their run or running faster (or on an incline) still provides no aerobic capacity improvement.

Because HIIT provides a very different type of physical challenge, it can help runners break out of that plateau.

How To Do It Right

Not sure how to adapt a HIIT program to your running workout? Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Figure out your fitness level and how intense your low and high levels can be. For example, if your running fitness is only medium/low, you can simply walk during your recovery periods. As your fitness level gets better, you can switch to walking on an incline or slightly increase your walking pace.
  • Use a 2:1 formula for your HIIT training. For example, if you walk for two minutes, then run for one. Or go for shorter intervals of 60-30 seconds for maximum intensity and faster results. Just keep in mind that shorter intervals means you’ll have less time to recover from the high-intensity bursts. During the high-intensity periods, go all out and either sprint or run as fast as you can. Then slow down considerably for your recovery periods.
  • Don’t stretch the workout for too long, especially at the beginning. One of the main benefits of using HIIT is that you can get great results with a workout as short as 30 minutes. You can also use HIIT on days when you don’t have a lot of time to exercise. Then do your standard longer run on other days. Mixing things up challenges your body in new and unexpected ways and you might get even better results.
fitness training, fitness device


Some exercise myths refuse to die. In fact, some are so ingrained in our psyche, that you might actually be suspicious if somebody insists you got it wrong! The good news is that letting go of these exercise myths is not only going to help your workout. It’s also going to make your weight loss easy and reaching your goals a lot more feasible. Here five common exercise myths you shouldn’t believe:

Myth 1: You should stretch before your fitness training workout

Truth: The truth is a little tricky. Yes, you can stretch before your workout, but warming up is more important. Stretching before exercising is not going to prevent injury. In fact, the goal of stretching before a workout is to help increase blood circulation to the muscles, which can also be done with a quick warm-up. You should, however, stretch after you’re done exercising. This can help prevent too-tight muscles and might reduce some of the post-workout soreness.

Myth 2: I can indulge at dinner because I work out every day

Truth: Even an hour of extra tough cardio will only burn 600-800 calories. In comparison, a single slice of Pizza Hut’s Meat Lovers pizza contains 470 calories — eat half a pizza (four slices) and you’ve just consumed 1880 calories, which is the equivalent to up to three hours of intense exercise. So if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, don’t use exercise as an excuse to eat poorly.

Myth 3: Crunches will give you a flat belly

Truth: Sorry, no. Muscles are located under fat, which means that as long as you have extra fat in the abdominal area, you won’t get flat or well-defined abs. However, once you lose weight, crunches will help you gain definition. Another connected myth? That doing crunches will help you burn abdominal fat. The truth is that you can’t burn fat from a specific part of your body. Whatever type of exercise you’re doing, the fat you’ll burn will always be total body fat — which means it will come off different parts of your body, rather than exactly the one you’re working.

Myth 4: Women should skip heavy weights or they’ll get bulky  

Truth: Women have a very hard time bulking up. Why? Simply because of the way they’re built and the lack of testosterone — which is essential for muscle building. In fact, women have about 30 times less testosterone than men, so even lifting heavy weights won’t result in bulking muscles unless you’re doing weight training for several hours a day and taking muscle-building supplements. And here’s another reason why you should ignore this myth: lifting weights can help speed up your weight loss. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat, speeding up your metabolism and making it easier to shed pounds.

Myth 5: No pain, no gain

Truth: This myth is partially true, which is probably why so many people are confused by it. Working out doesn’t have to hurt while you’re exercising. Some muscle burnig and some discomfort are perfectly normal, but you shouldn’t be in serious pain. If you are, you’re either using the wrong posture or you’re lifting weight that’s too heavy for your current fitness level. Either way, you could seriously injure yourself. On the other hand, pain 24-48 hours after a workout is perfectly normal. In fact, if you’ve just started to exercise after a long break or if you’re trying a new activity, your muscles will ache. If they don’t, it’s probably a sign that the exercise is too easy for you and you should increase the intensity.

fitness device


According to an article in Psychology Today, by the time February rolls around, most people are already failing at their New Year’s resolutions.

Does that sound like you? If it does, don’t despair. Just because things didn’t exactly work out the way you expected them to during January doesn’t mean it’s all over. In fact, now might be a great time to reexamine and recommit to your New Year’s resolutions.

Re-Examine Your Goals

Not surprisingly, the top main reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is that they’re too vague and too big. “Lose weight” might sound like a perfectly reasonable goal, but without a specific number and the steps to get you there, you’re likely to get lost along the way.

What makes more sense? “Lose 5 lbs. a month” or “Lose 1 lb. a week” is a much better goal and it’s specific enough to help you figure out how to put it into practice.

It’s also possible that your goals are too farfetched, in which case you might need to sit down and figure out new ones. If you originally wanted to run for an hour five times a week and that hasn’t happened even once, ask yourself why not? It could be that you’re asking too much of your body. If you haven’t exercised in two years, expecting to run five times a week would be hard. It makes more sense to make a more “mellow” goal, such as walking on the treadmill for an hour 4-5 times a week. You can start adding some running to your routine a bit at a time, so you give your body time to adjust.

Replan Your Steps

Schedules, goals and life in general are always changing directions. What looked doable on December 31st might not longer be possible a month later. Rather than looking at that as failure, use it as an opportunity to set new goals.

You don’t have to give up on your original resolutions – but you might need to adapt them to your present reality. That could mean making smaller goals, breaking them into more steps or figuring out a different schedule entirely, or getting a new fitness device.

Try Something Different, Such as a Fitness Device

Maybe your original idea was to do spinning three times a week — until you realized it hurts your knees or leaves you so tired you can barely walk after the class. Rather than giving up your workout, why not give something else a try?

You can still keep your resolution of exercising three times a week but switch to a different activity. Give interval training a chance if you haven’t tried it before. It’s a well-rounded workout that not only gets your heart going but also works your muscles. Or walk into a yoga class one day and combine that with a run on the treadmill the other two days.

Other Things to Try

Still feeling discouraged? Here are three quick tips on pushing through those feelings:

-       Don’t wait for motivation to find you. Who said working towards your goals had to be easy? Keep at it even on days when you don’t feel like it. Chances are once you get going, you’ll feel good about it and keep moving. If you need extra motivation, buy yourself a fitness device such as a pedometer or

-       Sleep more. If working out for 30 minutes feels like running a marathon, it might be your body’s way of telling you you need to rest more. Add an hour of sleep to your schedule and see if that makes a difference. Bonus points: people who are well rested are less likely to suffer from depression and more likely to stick to their goals.

-       Rearrange your home for success. Stock up on healthy food and keep your running shoes near the door. Get rid of clutter – it’s bad for the mind and soul and a huge time waster.

morning workout routine


Is there such thing as a “best time” for exercise? The answer, not surprisingly, is “it depends.” If you have no choice but to work out at a specific time of the day (before or after work, for example), then do it. Any time is better than no workout because you can’t rearrange your schedule. If you have an option, however, certain times might be better than others when it comes to exercise.

The Benefits of a Morning Workout Routine

Have trouble sleeping? Then skip afternoon/evening workouts and get ready to sweat in the morning. A study conducted at Appalachian State University showed that people who exercise early in the morning (around 7 a.m.) sleep better and longer than people who exercise at other times of the day.

In addition, researchers also found that a morning workout routine lowers blood pressure, a major benefit for people with heart conditions or at risk of high blood pressure.

And here’s one more reason morning exercise is a winner: if you don’t sleep well, you’ll be tired, which means you won’t be able to give 100 percent during your next workout.

Exercising in the Afternoon

If you can’t work out in the morning, don’t worry–exercising later in the day also has a number of benefits. The major one? You’re more likely to have more energy. Even though you might be tired from a long day, experts believe anaerobic exercise (the type that requires short bursts of high energy) is more effective in the afternoon. In fact, in a study published in the “Chronobiology International” journal, researchers point out that people are able to achieve higher performance in repetitive exercises (cycling, swimming, rowing) during the evening.

In addition, you might be less likely to get injured if you work out in the afternoon or evening. That’s because your body temperature is higher and your muscles and joints more flexible in the afternoon than early in the day. If you’re lifting heavy weights or doing high-intensity interval training workouts, then evening exercise might be for you — even if it’s just for safety’s sake.

Worried about injuries but can’t work out in the afternoon? Then make sure you warm up well before your morning workout routine.

Evaluating Your Energy Levels

Let’s face it: not everybody is a morning person (or a night owl). If you absolutely hate getting up early, trying to do a morning workout at 5 a.m. will feel like torture. You will be unmotivated, tired and probably cranky. Plus, chances are you won’t put the same enthusiasm into your workout than you would if you were actually enjoying your time at the gym. So if that’s the case, just take a deep breath, accept your circumstances and find a way to fit exercise into your evening routine.

There are other factors you might want to look into as well. For example, if you hate crowded spaces, going to the gym at 5-6 p.m., right after work, might not be a good idea — that’s one of the busiest times. Want to enjoy the company of a particular crowd? See what time the people you like or know head to the gym and arrange your workout to fit those times too.

If you have a health condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes, ask your doctor if there’s a best time for you to exercise. Your doctor might recommend that you work out only after breakfast or taking insulin, and that might affect your schedule as well.

In the end, it all comes down to consistency. It doesn’t matter if you choose a morning workout routine or an evening one (or a mix of both). Being able to work out regularly — as least 3-4 times a week — is key to obtaining results.