The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of time of day on aerobic contribution during high-intensity exercise. A group of 11 male physical education students performed a Wingate test against a resistance of 0.087 kg . kg(-1) body mass. Two different times of day were chosen, corresponding to the minimum (06:00 h) and the maximum (18:00 h) levels of power. Oxygen uptake (.VO(2)) was recorded breath by breath during the test (30 sec). Blood lactate concentrations were measured at rest, just after the Wingate test, and again 5 min later. Oral temperature was measured before each test and on six separate occasions at 02:00, 06:00, 10:00, 14:00, 18:00, and 22:00 h. A significant circadian rhythm was found in body temperature with a circadian acrophase at 18:16+/-00:25 h as determined by cosinor analysis. Peak power (P(peak)), mean power (P(mean)), total work done, and .VO(2) increased significantly from morning to afternoon during the Wingate Test. As a consequence, aerobic contribution recorded during the test increased from morning to afternoon. However, no difference in blood lactate concentrations was observed from morning to afternoon. Furthermore, power decrease was greater in the morning than afternoon. Altogether, these results indicate that the time-of-day effect on performances during the Wingate test is mainly due to better aerobic participation in energy production during the test in the afternoon than in the morning.