While working out during the day seems to be the most popular choice among active people, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only good time to exercise. Some people prefer working out at the end of the day because they enjoy it more, or maybe that’s the only time of day they have available between work, kids, and daily chores around the house.
Even if you’re someone who always works out in the morning, sometimes your only option is to push your workout to the evening to make sure you don’t skip a day. However, working out at night isn’t the same as doing so earlier in the day – and that’s why we’re here to help!
In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to successfully exercise at night so you can reap all the great benefits of a regular workout without putting your good night’s sleep at risk! But first, let’s get the big question out of the way…
Is working out at night bad for you?
The short answer is: not at all! The benefits are almost the same as working out in the morning. The main difference is that morning workouts are usually better for fat loss while evening workouts are better for muscle building and performance.
So… Why does working out at night get a bad rep?
Well, the primary reason is that nighttime workouts can cause trouble sleeping, which doesn’t just make you cranky in the morning and extra sleepy during the day, but also interferes with your recovery since the repairing processes happen at night. Luckily, this is completely avoidable!
Since you’re closer to bedtime, your approach to working out in the evening should be completely different than when you work out during the day. From what you do before you begin training and the kind of workout that you pick to your post-workout routine – planning wisely is the key to avoiding sleep disruption.
Useful tips for working out at night
Are you considering moving your training time to the evening or looking to maximize your current workouts at night? Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of these workouts:
Stay away from stimulants
When it comes to boosting your exercise performance, pre-workout supplements are undefeated. They help you get the most out of your workout by increasing your energy levels, your endurance, and even your focus while you work out. However, a lot of pre-workouts rely on stimulants, and you don’t want this before bed!
Caffeine is probably the most well-known stimulant found in pre-workouts, and while it can give you a great workout boost, it can also impact your quality of sleep and keep you awake and even anxious at night. Make sure to choose stimulant-free pre-workouts, as well as avoid caffeinated drinks before bed such as coffee and energy drinks.
Besides caffeine, here are a few other stimulants you should look out for in your pre-workout ingredients list if you’re taking it before bed:
Warm up properly
This one should be a given before any kind of workout regardless of the time since you need to get your body ready for what’s about to come. However, warming up is particularly important if you didn’t move around much during the day.
Maybe you spent all day sitting at your computer or your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, so naturally, your muscles and joints will be tight by the end of the day. But even if you stay active, no amount of random physical activity can beat a good dynamic stretching session that targets the desired muscles before a workout!
Stretch before going to bed
Just like warming up, you want to make sure that you have a proper cool-down session after your workout. Not only will this help your heart rate go back to normal and your body to release all the built-up tension from your workout, but it will also lower your body temperature to help you sleep well.
Going to sleep without stretching means being almost motionless for many hours after putting your muscles and joints under a lot of stress, resulting in a sore body when you wake up. This will affect your whole day from the start and might make it harder to work out the following night, so don’t ever skip your post-workout stretches!
Have dinner before your workout, not after
When you work out, you need all the energy that you can get, which means that you need to fuel properly before you train. And while you might think of dinner as the last thing you do before bed, if you’re training late at night, consider eating earlier!
Instead of having a fueling snack and leaving dinner for after you work out, swap them and have a good dinner around two hours before your workout. Not only will this give you all the nutrients and energy that you need for an effective workout, but you’ll also space your big meals enough before bed so that you don’t have trouble sleeping.
Get a healthy recovery snack ready
After you’ve had dinner and finished exercising, you need something to help you recover from the tough workout, preferably with enough protein to support your muscles after all the stress you put them through.
If you’re working out late at night because you’re busy the rest of the day, it’s a good idea to have your post-workout snack ready beforehand to save some time and ensure that you can get to bed as soon as possible. Protein shakes and smoothies with some protein powder are great snack options that are both easy to make and easy to digest!
No intense exercise right before bed
When working out close to your bedtime, you want to make sure that you’re not putting your body under so much stress that you end up having trouble sleeping, even if you cool down properly before doing so. This means no extra tough workouts at night!
Even though physical activity before bed can help you get deeper sleep, that’s only if it’s a low-impact workout. If you’re planning on doing a high-intensity routine on a certain day, such as HIIT training, make sure you work out at least 2 hours before bedtime. The closer you are to go to sleep, the lower impact your workouts should be!
Stay properly hydrated throughout the day
As an active person, you already know that drinking enough water should be a top priority since you lose a lot of it through sweat during your workouts. When you work out during the day you have time to catch up with your water intake later in the day, but this is something that you need to take care of beforehand with night workouts.
If you don’t drink enough water during the day, you’ll only have time to drink a small amount during and after your workout. After that, you’ll be asleep for many hours as you recover, and if your body isn’t properly hydrated then the repairing process won’t be as effective and you might wake up sore in the morning. So make sure to stay hydrated!
Don’t jeopardize a good night’s sleep
Sleeping isn’t only good for you but necessary, especially when you’re an active person whose body needs to be constantly recovering from tough workouts. Try to follow these tips as closely as you can so you can keep a healthy sleeping schedule while still reaping all the benefits of an effective workout!
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