The Positives and Negatives of Working Out at Night
Working out in the a.m. has its perks, sure, but if you're a p.m. sweater, here's what to expect from your gym time.
The early bird doesn’t *always* get the worm. While you’ve likely heard of all the benefits of waking up before the sun (especially if it’s to sweat), in the land of exercise, many experts feel that working out at night has its benefits, too (woo!). Plus, sometimes it’s just easier to hit the gym on the way home than having to avoid hitting snooze on your alarm to sneak your workout in.
Of course, there’s science to back both working out in the a.m. and in the p.m. (Not to mention it’s also easy to skip your workout if you’ve put it off).
So what are some of the upsides and downsides of choosing to work out later in the day? Here, we’ve rounded ‘em up.
The Perks of Working Out at Night
You’ll be more alert.
Feel like you're sleepwalking on the treadmill after hitting snooze a few times? This feeling of tiredness (paired with an inability to concentrate) can lead to injury, which could ultimately sideline you from fitness (not what you're going for). Working out at night? You’ll have had the whole day to fuel your body and build the level of alertness and energy you need to crush your workout.
You can burn off steam.
Exercise is a serious stress-reliever but what’s there to burn off at 6 a.m.? Having an outlet (might we suggest you consider boxing?) at the end of the day can provide a healthy outlet for releasing those daily stresses.
You’ll likely have more sources of accountability.
It tends to be easier to find a friend who is willing to meet you for a 5 p.m. workout versus a 5 a.m. one—and accountability is a key factor in sticking with your workout plans.
The Downsides of Working Out At Night
You might not be *as* consistent.
Generally, it’s easier to stay on track with a fitness regime first thing in the morning. After all, when your usual gym time interferes with happy hour, you have to choose between working on your fitness and tossing a few back with friends. Then there’s the whole issue with just not feeling up for fitness after work: If you go home to change, the idea of leaving the house again to work out can seem like the hardest thing in the world.
You’ll likely hit up a crowded gym.
If you’ve ever been to a gym between 5 and 8 p.m., you know they’re packed during that window—meaning it’s going to be harder to get the machine or group fitness class you really want. This could be enough to deter you from going to the gym in the first place or derail your plans a bit.
Post-workout insomnia is a *thing*.
It’s not just you if you feel like you can’t sleep after sweating hard at night. While it’s generally accepted that exercise at any time of the day will help you sleep, sometimes, cutting your workout too close to bedtime can leave you with an unwanted jolt of energy. Choosing low-impact workouts and cooling down can help you drift off faster.