One of the great benefits of taking an online exercise class is the freedom to do your workout from the comfort and privacy of your home, at a time that works well for you. But what is the impact of doing your online martial arts training at different times of the day? Is it better to work out in the morning, or at night?
There really is no right or wrong answer. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, it’s more important that you maintain some consistency when taking an online physical activity class, because consistency is key to good progress. Excercise can be great at any time of the day, except for right after a meal—in fact multiple studies have shown that it’s best to exercise on an empty stomach if we want to get the most out of our workout.
In order to reduce the risk of injury and to feel our best, here are a few things to keep in mind when exercising at different times of the day.
Starting the Day Off Right
A lot of people like to exercise first thing in the morning, and with good reason—it’s a great way to deliver a burst of energy to the body and clear the mind for the day ahead. Some studies also indicate that exercising in the morning before you eat can help with weight loss. And this morning time is often more convenient for those of us with busy schedules that don’t allow time for an afternoon or evening workout. In the early morning, it’s always best to do your workout or take your class before you eat a meal. If you must eat first, have something light, and try to eat at least an hour or two before a mid to late morning class. Eating always increases blood flow to the stomach to aid with digestion, and when you exercise right after eating, you can feel sluggish, queasy, or light-headed, and if the meal is heavier you can also get stomach cramps.
And as our bodies tend to be stiff when we wake up, morning workout people need to devote a little more time and attention towards gently warming up the muscles and getting the blood flowing. In Boabom we always begin our classes with a comprehensive warm-up where we work with different muscle groups, going through a sequence of movements that focus on the core, legs, back, arms, neck, and even the hands, eyes and face. This warm-up, which we call Jassu, is great for any kind of exercise, not just Boabom, as it is designed to work the whole body.
Finishing Strong Before Bedtime
Then there are those who prefer to exercise in the evening, which can be just as beneficial as working out early in the day. Working out at night can help us clear our minds and leave the day behind. You may also find you have more time and energy to work out once you’ve wrapped up work and other responsibilities for the day.
But again, to make the most of this, timing is key. For some people, doing a class too late at night can energize you enough to make it difficult to fall asleep, especially if you’re not used to it. If you find you’re having trouble getting to sleep try to practice or take that class a little earlier. You can also build in some wind-down time after the class as well, with a cup of relaxing herbal tea, a warm shower, perhaps a book, meditation, or other activity that helps you dissipate that energy and prepare for rest. In the end, as you grow accustomed to it and develop a good routine, you may actually find that exercising in the evening helps you to sleep more soundly, as you shake off the stresses of the day and get rid of any built-up tension. At the Boston School of Boabom, many of our students find they prefer to practice the gentler style of Seamm-Jasani in the morning to help them wake up but then finish their day with stronger movements such as the ones used in Boabom, or even Yaanbaao, which is a style of Boabom where we practice with a staff.
Whatever your evening practice, you don’t want to work out right after eating dinner—the body needs at least an hour or two to digest. At the Boston School of Boabom we always recommend eating at least two hours before the class, but this does depend on the person. Some people need to have an empty stomach for three or four hours to feel their best for a strong class, while others may need to have a light snack, like a banana, an hour before. This will really depend on you, so…
Listen to Your Body
In the end, we’re all different, which is why there’s no one-time-fits-all when it comes to enjoying the benefits of an online class. Some of us roll out of bed raring to go while some of us don’t hit our stride until later in the day. And while it’s best to follow our internal rhythm, many of us have schedules that really only accommodate a certain time for classes or any kind of exercise.
So with all this in mind, the key is to find something that works for your schedule and then to make sure that your class, at whatever time, is the best it can be. Always listen to your body, and over time you’ll find the right rhythm for eating, warming-up, and winding down after your class. Finding this rhythm will give a unique energy and consistency to your practice, and you’ll be able to gain the maximum benefit.
If you’re ready to make an online martial arts class a regular part of your life, check out our free on-demand introductory class.