For some sports, early evening is the best time for peak performance


According to a new review published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, timing can be a crucial part when it comes to peak performance. It has long been thought that if you want to give your best – whether it’s training, training or competition – you should go for late afternoon or early evening. Based on our circadian rhythm, it is believed to be when your body temperature is highest, resulting in looser muscles, faster metabolic reactions, and faster transmissions of nerve signals.

Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. If so, the Olympic events would only take place in the afternoon and early evening, and personal bests would be achieved with apparent ease. The fact remains that the key question that has long plagued sports and exercise researchers is whether our body clock peaks at a certain point in time, or whether peak performance is simply based on how many times. time we are awake or when we last. eat.

As Alex Hutchinson writes for Outside, “Several studies have shown that if you shift your sleep-wake cycle by a few hours, you also shift the timing of your peak performance by a few hours, suggesting that the external rhythms of daily life are important. Then there’s the matter of individual variation: it seems unlikely that early risers and night owls will peak at the same time.

In light of this, Harvard researcher Raphael Knaier sought to collect as much data as possible on the topic and found a total of 63 relevant articles, but due to inconsistencies in testing, only 29 of the studies were used in the meta-analysis. These were then divided into four categories: jump height, anaerobic power, grip strength, and endurance exercise. The results found “strong evidence” that jump height and anaerobic power peak between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. “Some evidence” suggests peak grip strength between 1 pm and 9 pm. Regarding endurance, little difference was found between the moments.

When is the best time of day to train?

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While there is some evidence to suggest that we may perform better later in the day, the reasons for this are still unclear. Whether this is the result of body temperature, wake time, or daylight remains to be seen and there are a number of variables between individuals that need to be controlled for researchers to uncover a clearer answer. This may sound like something that sports organizations should take into consideration, but the fact remains that when it comes to hosting a competition there are a number of factors that go into the timing of the competition. Event. Consider Eliud Kipchoge’s attempt to break two hours in the marathon for Breaking2, a race that saw him circle in the morning. This was not a mistake of the event planners, but something more practical. If he had run later in the evening, he should have taken into account the evening temperatures and what to eat throughout the day to fuel his performance. Sometimes early morning departures are just easier.


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