By now, if you have followed me at all on Instagram, you know that fitness is a huge part of my life. I advocate working out every day, or as close to that as possible, no matter how busy you are. The benefits are mostly obvious, so I won’t go into that now. What I want to discuss is WHEN to workout
The best time of day to workout depends on what your goals are. There are a lot of factors that come into play, but generally, working out early in the day is optimal for losing fat, while later in the day is better for gaining muscle. For me, I’m in maintenance mode, so the time of day is less important than just getting it in, at least from a body composition standpoint. From a life-optimization standpoint, it still matters… a lot!
When we opened our office space at the beginning of the year, the team switched to regular business hours. To optimize my day, I started heading to the gym, or my backyard, at 5:30am to be sure my workouts didn’t get scheduled over with meetings or evening events. It worked well for my body and the company… or so I thought!
What I failed to realized at the time was, by jumping out of bed and heading straight to the gym, I was wasting my most creative hours, the time when I come up with the best ideas and solutions for ATO Ventures and our portfolio companies. There is a very good, scientific reason why this is so – not just for me, but for most people.
Your brain waves change throughout the day, ranging from Delta waves, experienced in deep dreamless sleep, to Gamma waves, seen when you are concentrating your hardest in a conscious state. As you are coming out of sleep, your brain moves into an Alpha state, where you are still relaxed and not yet fully engaged mentally. It is in this state when thoughts flow freely and you often get your best ideas. You may notice the same state when you are in the shower or settling in to meditate.
Over the past several months of morning training, missing this precious Alpha state ultimately became extremely frustrating for me. I would be obligated to go to the gym, but all I really wanted to do was think, read and write.
To solve this problem, I simply changed my schedule. Doing so, however, impacts the team, which is new and still getting used to working with one another, so we had to put some thought into it. We now work together from 9:30am -3:30pm. The rest of each person’s day is up to him/her to schedule. I use my mornings for creative thought, journally and strategic planning. I am also now able to meditate BEFORE I start my day rather than after the gym. I then workout at 4pm, an optimal time for me since this is when I am sleepy and less able to focus anyway. It also leaves my evenings free for events and additional business objectives.
Problem solved! Will let you know how it goes.
When do you work out? Is it the most optimal time for your body AND your mind?
Jennifer P. Hopp is an investor, advisor and entrepreneur from Silicon Valley who recently moved to Puerto Rico. In addition to being the Managing Partner at ATO Ventures, an early-stage Venture Capital fund, Jennifer works with aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced business owners to start and grow their companies while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She is an avid supporter of Puerto Rico and often helps companies relocate or set up new operations on the Island. To learn more about Jennifer and funding opportunities for your startup, follow Jennifer on instagram @Hopp.vc