When I first started on my strength training routine, I was working a night job. You may feel inclined to find an in house personal training Naples FL to help you with the journey. I discovered that early afternoon was too early for me — a visit to the gym around three P.M. had me zonking out at eight o’clock, and then waking up at midnight with my heart racing. Now that I habitually wake up earlier, I don’t always have to work out at night any more. But when I was on a nocturnal schedule, I found that it was important and necessary. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to working out at night, or in the evening. First, the low points, then the high points:
- It can change your sleep schedule. Remember that lifting weights will cause an immediate metabolic boost, which usually continues for a few hours. This can keep you awake, depending on when your metabolism usually rides highest. Try to keep your lifting workout close to your normal metabolic peak in order to avoid insomnia. Aerobics, on the other hand, can be done at many times of day.
- Snack bars are usually closed. You’ll have to bring your own snacks for midnight gym trips, or at least be willing to mix up a protein shake when you get home.
- It’s harder to find personal training. Some gyms only have personal trainers working during earlier hours. For after-dinner workouts, you’re often on your own.
- It can be harder to keep up with a plan. After dinner might be a healthy time to start sprinting, but our instincts tell us to settle down for a long winter’s nap, especially when family is involved. It takes more willpower in the evenings to get out the door and make it to the fitness center.
- Cardio can be less effective. First thing in the morning, when you haven’t yet eaten, a session of cardio can burn fat more directly. Later in the day, it’s more likely to use up the carbohydrates you’ve recently been eating.
- You can change your sleep schedule. Remember, depending on your own particular case, this can be an advantage or a disadvantage. When I was working at night, it was very useful for me to get to the gym and do my weight-lifting late; it gave me a rush of energy afterward. Similarly, see the point about aerobics, below.
- You can work off your dinner. Aerobic exercise after eating can help you keep from storing your food as fat! A good spin on the treadmill or exercise bike before or after supper can help the meal in your stomach from turning into the love handles on your stomach.
- It’s convenient for most schedules. For night workers, it’s before work; for day workers, it’s after work and before bed. A day or swing shift employee might visit the gym on the way home.
- The gym is less crowded late at night. I always found that I could avoid the noisy hordes of people fitter than me by hitting the gym after 9 PM. This works best if your gym is open very late, of course. I use a 24-Hour Fitness chain gym — I don’t always like the corporate outlook, but the hours are great, and late in the evening, I can always have my choice of machines. Furthermore, an exerciser in an empty gym doesn’t have to worry about appearances.
- You can tire yourself out and get a great night’s sleep. Though strength training can raise your metabolism, a moderate session of aerobic exercise can actually improve the quality of sleep, according to a study at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.1