Exercise is an important part of maintaining your health and wellbeing. But, what happens when you can’t fit a workout into your morning or afternoon schedule? A lot of studies and advice seems to discourage working out in the evenings, but is it actually a bad thing to do?
As it turns out, evening workouts aren’t evil or unhealthy. Advice that says nighttime workouts are bad isn’t quite complete, because there are a few qualifiers to that statement. Working out too late at night CAN be bad, but if you do evening workouts the right way you can experience a lot of great benefits too!
Benefits of Working Out in the Evening
Just like working out at any other time of the day, evening workouts have benefits for your body and mind. Here are a few of the main benefits from nighttime workouts:
- Get rid of the stress from that day.
- Experience deeper sleep than before.
- Be happier and less rushed in the morning.
If you stay consistent with an evening workout schedule, you can see all of these above benefits and more.
How to Avoid Being Tired After Work
One of the biggest obstacles for you when you want to work out at night is fatigue from work. After a long day, it might be difficult to convince yourself that exercise is a great idea! So, how can y you keep yourself from being too tired to exercise after work? Try some of these suggestions:
- Go straight into your workout
If you head home and rest before your workout, you are not likely to get back up and go exercise. Resting after work will kill any momentum you had. It’s a better idea to go straight from working to working out, and rest afterwards.
Don’t have a large lunch, dinner, or snack right before you plan to work out. This is not going to end well for you. Instead, eat something filling in the afternoon that will maintain your energy levels throughout your after-work exercise session.
- Pay for the gym or workout class ahead of time
You will be much more motivated to attend a workout class or gym that you’ve already paid for than one that you plan to pay for when you arrive. Committing your money to a certain exercise session makes it more likely that session will actually happen. No one wants to waste money!
If you don’t plan a time for your workout, you might skip it for something else. Think about it: you are getting out of work at 6pm and you want to exercise, but your friend invites you out to a movie at 6:30. If you don’t have a workout planned on your calendar, you will probably accept the offer and convince yourself that you’ll work out afterwards.
Don’t fall into this trap! Tell your friend you have plans, but you can make the 7pm showing instead. You don’t have to mention that you’re doing a workout, but treat your workout as if you’re having a meeting or a date. Respect the time slot and be consistent.
- Plan ahead – don’t give yourself a reason to quit!
If you’re not prepared ahead for the gym or a workout session, you are going to find some reason to give up. Pack a bag with everything you could possible need: headache medicine, gym clothes, water, pre-workout energy bars or snacks, music, and whatever else it is you might need to get motivated. When you don’t have all of this stuff ready and available, you might think it’s more of a hassle than it’s worth and skip the gym altogether.
Those who plan to exercise at home need this advice too! Before you go to work, set out your workout clothes and whatever you need. Set up the area that you’re going to working out in and write down which exercises you’re going to do. If you do this, you won’t even have to think about anything when you get home. You can simply get dressed and start on item one of your list. You won’t have a single excuse to back out if you set yourself up for success like this.
- Prepare a reward for a successful workout
Knowing there’s something at the end of a hard workout will encourage you to go for it. Plan a reward that’s equal to what you are about to face, nothing too extravagant or crazy. Once you hit workout milestones you can give yourself a bigger reward, but keep it small in the beginning. A good piece of advice is not to reward yourself with something that will counteract your workout goals. For example, eating a candy bar after every workout is probably not an effective way to reward yourself, because it is counteractive to the workout you just did.
How to Plan Your Workout at Night
So, if you want to work out at night and not ruin your sleep, how do you do it? For a successful nighttime exercise routine, follow these tips:
- End your workout at least 2 hours before you’re going to sleep
It’s recommended that you don’t work out directly before going to bed. You can sleep very well after working out, but you need a little bit of time to let your body cool down and settle into sleep mode. Two hours is a good buffer time to let your heart and hormones calm down before you want to sleep.
- Don’t be afraid of home workouts
If you aren’t a member of a gym, then do your workouts at home. There are a lot of great exercises you can do with just your bodyweight or a few items around the house! Cardio exercises and yoga are some of the easiest at-home exercises, but you can even do strength training and body-building at home if you look up the right workout plans.
Once your workout is done, try not to do anything stressful or tiring. Let yourself relax and enjoy a snack while you put your feet up. Take a nice, warm shower or bath after your workout and drink some chamomile tea if you like it. Do whatever it is that helps you relax, so that you’ll be ready to sleep when your normal bedtime rolls around.
- Stay consistent with your timing
If you work out sporadically each evening, you’re less likely to be able to wind down and sleep well afterwards. But, if you’re consistent with your workouts than your body can get used to the schedule and go to sleep easily, even after a hard workout. It doesn’t take a lot to get a consistent schedule going, just do it for 3 weeks and you will have formed a habit. Your new evening workout habit will lead to better sleep, more energy in the morning, and a healthier you!
Evening workouts can be an excellent way to get in shape, enjoy better sleep, and stay healthy. If you plan ahead and make sure you do your nighttime exercise right, you’ll be able to go straight from work into an exercise routine before getting the fantastic sleep that night!
Are you a nighttime exerciser? What has worked for you to keep going with your workouts after a long day? If you’ve got anything to say, I’ve love to hear it in the comments below!