Working out in the Morning or the Evening?

Split legged front leverDo you have a hard time fitting workouts into your busy schedule?

People often ask me when is the best time of day to exercise.  Let’s weigh the pros and cons of a few different approaches:

Morning People
A lot of people like to exercise first thing in the morning in order to get it out of the way. If you do your workout before the stresses of the day start to pile up, then you don’t have to worry about life getting in the way and derailing your plans. I like this approach.

On the other hand, a good night’s sleep is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Sacrificing sleep in order to get a morning workout might be solving one problem, but it creates a new one in the process. Besides, you’re unlikely to muster up the energy for a great workout if you’ve only had 4 or 5 hours of sleep.

The Lunch Crowd
If you can slip away from the office in the middle of the day, it can be a great time to fit some exercise into your schedule. Gyms are usually pretty quiet in the afternoon, which can let you get your workout done without a lot of distraction and wasted time. Just make sure you don’t skip lunch. Nutrition (especially post-workout) is a key part of the fitness equation.

After Work
The evening is generally the most popular time to go to the gym. After a stressful day, exercise can be a great way to blow off some steam. Plus you don’t have to wake up any earlier than usual!

The downside is that the gym can be very crowded and you may wind up spending half of your time waiting for the equipment you need. It’s helpful to have a back up plan and to be able to improvise in these situations.

Additionally, some people find that evening workouts rev them up too much and cause insomnia. If you are going to the gym in the evening, you might want to give yourself a few hours to settle down before bed.

Trainer Tips:
It takes time to make a habit stick–eventually early risers will go to bed earlier and it will get easier. But for night owls, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can allow for deeper and more restful sleep.

No matter when you get your workout in, the important thing is consistency. Get it in when you can fit it in, but don’t stop working for it or it might stop working for you!

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