One of the big advantages of having an elliptical at home is that it’s always available for training. But when should you use it – in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening after work? We’ve got the information and common sense advice you need to make the right decision for you.
When shouldn’t you train?
While there’s really no clear-cut, universally ideal time to train, there are undeniably some times or circumstances that are simply not conducive to an elliptical workout. Don’t train when you’re feeling especially fatigued, when you’ve just gotten out of bed, or if it’s either very cold or very hot.
Even if elliptical training is one of the safest forms of exercise, any sport can lead to injury if you’re not alert enough. For example, you shouldn’t exercise early in the morning unless you’ve first performed a serious and prolonged warm-up. Also, avoid exercising if you haven’t eaten for a long time: you risk hypoglycemia.
Of course, the flip side of this last advice is that you shouldn’t be working out just after a meal, either. Wait 2-3 hours after eating – the beginning of the digestive process requires an inflow of blood and high amount of energy. Intense physical exercise diverts blood to the muscles, interrupts digestion and puts a major stress on your digestive system.
Aches and pains: your body’s warning signals
Take the necessary time to recover between sessions: wait at least 24 hours, and more in case of an especially intense session. Most importantly, listen to your body.
Aches are a good indicator: other than performing a simple active recovery training session, don’t train when you’re experiencing a lot of aching joints and muscles. Aches are micro-lesions within muscles. They appear as a result of an unusually intense physical effort. It’s therefore logical to wait for them to go away before resuming exercise. If not, you increase your risk of injury, and your performance will suffer, too. But rest assured: the more you progress, the fewer aches you’ll feel.
Not too hot, not too cold
One more thing to consider: your body temperature, which follows daily cycles. It’s at its lowest a few hours before waking, increasing gradually until the end of the afternoon, before naturally dropping at the end of the day to help you sleep better.
This is why it’s important to warm up extra during a morning session, and also why exercise is not recommended before bedtime. Physical activity raises your body temperature and can disrupt your sleep. Along with body temperature, outside temperature also has an influence – even when you’re working out at home. Is it especially cold in the room where you work out? Extend your warm-up time. Is it hot instead? Postpone until a cooler time of day.
In summary, the best workout time is when you can do so safely: anything that can weaken you (fatigue, hunger, cold, excessive heat) should encourage you to put off your session until a more opportune time.
Who knows you best? You do!
Apart from these few basic principles, there are no absolute rules. The best time for you is when you can naturally integrate your workout into your daily routine. You’re a morning person? Train before starting your work day. If you’re more of a nightcrawler, go for a late afternoon workout. In general, find the best compromise between work, time spent with loved ones, your various other commitments, and the time of day when you feel at your best.
Once you know your schedule, identify your ideal workout moment. You’ll find that your body clock will sync up with your chosen workout time. You’ll be more effective, and you’ll make faster progress. And this will kick in a sort of virtuous circle: the more progress you make, the more you’ll be motivated, so you’ll want to train and progress more.
So, hopefully you see now: it’s up to you to figure out when the best moment of the day is for you. And of course, your home fitness device is definitely the best way to help you to optimize your training schedule over the long term, because you don’t have to go anywhere to get your workout in! A home elliptical machine will always be available. You just need to choose a reliable, legitimate brand. NordicTrack offers you a complete range of quality devices, along with advice and training programmes. So don’t put off for tomorrow what you can start today. Right now, get out your schedule planner and book yourself some time for your home fitness training.