Tricks to working with your circadian rhythm to get the most out of your body

circadian rhythm

When you have a limited number of hours in the day, you want to maximize the benefit that you get from each hour you invest in training. The most basic way to do this is to just work harder. There is an ocean of tricks and techniques out there to help easily squeeze the extra 1% performance out of your body. One of these is being able to train harder by understanding your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm describes how your physical, mental and behavioral changes take place within a 24 hours cycle. Think of it like your body’s tide; how your muscles, hormones and brain activity ebb and flow throughout the day.

Boost your energy

This concept explains why some evenings you can start a run at racing pace, while some mornings you have to jog for 30min and still find your legs stale and unresponsive. While very few people have the pleasure of being able to sync all their training based on this, having a basic understanding can be key when planning your training around commitments each week. The crux of the research around circadian rhythm and endurance running is that the benefits of aerobic training are better received early morning, while the benefits of more intense anaerobic sessions are realized in the afternoon and evening. Below are some factors that explain why your body is wired to be able to train that little harder in the evening.

Your core body temp

Your core temperature is at its lowest around 4:30 am and highest around 7:00 pm. For this reason, you’ll find your muscles naturally more limber and responsive later in the day. If you’ve tried to work on your leg speed first thing in the morning, you have you’ll probably understand why core temp is important.

Your hormones

Your hormone levels ebb and flow throughout the day also, with experts suggesting your testosterone and cortisol levels being important to keep tabs on for high-intensity activity. To put it simply, your testosterone plays a role in how much you get out of your body, while your cortisol plays a role in the impact that stress has on your body. Your testosterone levels peak at night, while cortisol levels rise rapidly upon awakening then slowly decrease throughout the day. Your testosterone to cortisol ratio is commonly used as a measure of “tissue anabolism” or the rate of tissue damage from training, so it’s useful to know that studies have found that exercise in the afternoon and evening brings the smallest increase to cortisol and the largest increase to testosterone (Best penis enlargementpills 2020).

Your recovery

Protein synthesis, or your ability to use dietary proteins to repair muscle protein, peaks later in the day. All things being equal, you’ll recover faster from an afternoon workout than a morning workout.

Considering these, it’s clear to see while world record attempts all seem to take place in the evening. The only downside of training after work is that the energy levels aren’t ideal, not to mention the feeling of “office legs”. It can be averted by getting up at least every hour to go to the restroom or refill your drink bottle, as well as making sure you have a good, slow warm-up.

So there you have it. Overall, it’s important to remember that this is a 1%er, so doing an interval session in the morning will always be better than not doing a session at all. Instead, treat this as a weapon in your arsenal. If you have a choice in your training, there’s no harm in taking that extra 1%.