The Garden Island Newspaper Website

When Should I Exercise? 
and do I really need to have a good time?

Aloha Doug,

Thanks for all of the information that you share in your column and on your website. I really like how you make fitness so much fun. I’m doing my best to fit fitness into my schedule each and every day. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of different things about the best time of day to exercise. I’m interested in hearing YOUR thoughts about whether or not it really matters what time of day I work out.

- Mahalo from Mercedes, Wailua 


Dear Mercedes,

When it comes to WHEN to exercise, most trainers will probably tell you to “work out when you feel like it and work out even when you don’t feel like it.” Unfortunately, in my opinion, this diction is fiction. Instead, there is a simple top ten list of timeline guidelines which are worth considering regularly and exercising accordingly.

As a personal fitness professional, helping a diverse range of clientele who are often working through (and around) an extensive assortment of issues (and injuries), I have come to realize that when is NOT always now. In certain circumstances, exercise is not always the best medicine and, depending upon the specific situation, can actually be a source of dis-ease.

Committing to exercise on a daily basis is a great thing, Mercedes! In general, whenever works for you works for me. Doing something is almost always a better option than doing nothing, and you can usually even work out whenever you feel like it and, sometimes, even when you don’t (hey… where have I heard that before?).

However, since you asked for my personal professional opinion, I’m going to get very specific as to when choosing INactivity might be the most sensible solution.


Don’t Exercise in the morning… IF you have arthritis or back pain. Be very cautious about early morning exercise, especially after chilly nights. Your body is stationary and cools down as you sleep, and it needs time to warm up before intense activity. If you do work out in the morning, always begin with light stamina, like walking or biking, then progress to strength and finish with stretching.

Don’t Exercise in the afternoon… IF you have skipped breakfast. Your body is running on fumes, not fuel… which is necessary for burning fat and building muscle. Also, if it is afternoon and you have just recently eaten a big lunch, your body wants to pump blood to your stomach, not to your muscles. Be sure to rest and digest for an hour or two first.

Don’t Exercise in the evening… IF you tend to skip exercise at the end of a long day. If you like to procrastinate, and often put off until tomorrow what you should do today, then don’t work out after work’s out. Instead, perhaps you would be better off finishing your fitness regime well before your day gets started.

Don’t Exercise on Sundays… IF you tend to exercise too much or too often. In other words, always take at least one day off each week from formal exercise. I always choose Sunday as my day of rest. Keep in mind that working out is most effective when properly paired with reparative recovery.

Don’t Exercise… IF you have exercised recently. More specifically, if you ran yesterday, don’t run today. If you trained biceps today, don’t train them tomorrow. Always rest and recover whatever mode or muscle you’ve worked. Proactive recuperation is much better than your body forcing you to take a break.

Don’t Exercise… IF you are exercising and experience ANY of the following “throw in the towel” symptoms: nausea, dizziness, pain or tightness in chest, difficulty breathing, or blurred vision. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your feelings. Stop immediately and seek medical attention!!

Don’t Exercise… IF you don’t exercise. If you have been sedentary for months (or years or forever), make sure that you get a physical before you get physical. A doctor’s work up is always recommended before a trainer’s workout, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history of heart disease, or if you smoke. You can still exercise… eventually; just don’t go it alone. Better safe than sorry!

Don’t Exercise… IF you haven’t exercised recently. Unfortunately, inactivity undermines fitness very quickly. Use it or lose it, right? For every week that you take off from working out, take at least one workout off from high intensity workouts. This may seem counterintuitive, but the safest and soundest penalty for taking a break from intense exercise is to reward yourself with yet another one. Again, the mythological methodical turtle wins the race, right?

Don’t Exercise... IF you are sick, or at least do a checkup from the neck up. If you only have a sore throat or nasal congestion, a light workout might make you feel a little bit better. On the contrary, a chest cold or bronchial hack deserves some serious R & R.

Don’t Exercise... IF you are injured, at least not with that specific body part. A qualified physical therapist can help you to work through an injury; a well-trained personal trainer can help you to work around it. Don’t pay a bigger price tomorrow by discounting professional guidance today.


(Bellows Puff the Magic Dragon)

Don’t Exercise... IF you have smoked. Also, if you HAVE exercised, please do NOT smoke!! I can’t think of anything more blatantly dangerous than smoking, either before or after a workout. The carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke has an affinity for hemoglobin which is approximately 240 times stronger than that of oxygen. 240 TIMES!!! When your body’s method of transporting oxygen is filled to the gills with the gaseous equivalent to water, it will drown you just the same. When it comes to exercise, smoking totally sucks… the wind out of your sails, away from the muscles, the brain, and, finally, with finality, the heart. Please know that this guideline is valid for ALL sorts of smoke.

Now, by knowing all of the best excuses for when to not exercise, you now have no more excuses to not exercise. In fact, there is no better time to for you to start exercising and, yes, you really can have a good time in doing so.

If you ever have any questions about exercise and eating or fitness and fat loss, I’m here to help. I’ll see you again in two weeks. In the meantime, you know where to find me…

In Health & With Hope,

Doug :-)  

Doug Jones earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland on a full academic scholarship and has served professionals and personalities as a concierge fitness trainer for decades. As a resident of Kauai and Connecticut, he has helped millions of people learn the secrets of fitness and fat loss through his Super 7-Week Shape-Up System. Doug has trained thousands of clients personally and is looking forward to helping you reach all of your health and fitness goals. 

please go to: http://Super7System.com  

please go to: http://DougJonesFitness.com