While morning workouts seem to have their benefits, there is a lot of evidence that suggests that, when it comes to performance, late afternoon and early evenings are the best time to exercise. A study published in ‘Sport’s Medicine’ found that exercise performance was best in the evening, and an article published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that the evening is better for maximal anaerobic leg exercises. This rather suggests that late afternoon and evening may be best for building muscle and good for high intensity and power based exercise, such as weight training, and high intensity aerobic training. This could possibly be down to the fact that body temperature peaks in the evening and late afternoon, so your muscles will be warm and ready to go.
So, if you’re struggling through your morning sweat session, consider these five benefits of exercising at night.
1. You’ll build muscle fast
If your goal is to tone up, it may be best to do it shortly before you turn in. High levels of cortisol in the morning may actually hinder muscle growth, but Heather Webb, kinesiologist at Texas A&M University, told Shape increased testosterone levels during the evening boost it.
2. You’ll sleep better
If you’re a night owl who has all sorts of energy late into the night, you may benefit from an evening workout. Exercising at night will help expend some of that energy when you’re at your productive peak, helping you sleep better throughout the night and wake up refreshed.
3. You’ll make healthy after-work decisions
Happy hour, dinners out with friends, and relaxing in front of the TV can be just as integral to a healthy lifestyle as sticking to a workout routine, but scheduling gym time after work can keep you from making more indulgent plans a habit. Evening workouts can also help your diet — you can’t overeat or overdrink if you’ve got a yoga class to attend afterward!
4. You’ll stick to it
If you’ve been forcing yourself to wake up in the morning to exercise and haven’t been able to keep the routine, it may be time to stop fighting it. The great thing about morning workouts is that you can get your calorie burn done before you even start your day, but if you’re finding that you end up sleeping through your early-morning alarm, you’ll probably have more success if you can carve out time after work for exercise. If you don’t have time to go to the gym or on an outdoor run, try an at-home workout.
5. You’ll have time to decompress
Whether you’ve spent the day worrying about deadlines or rushing through errands, spending 30 minutes or an hour working out will help relieve that stress or give you time to think about your day — or help you take your mind off of it. Even if you feel like you’re too drained to exercise after a long day at work, it may just be exactly what you need to decompress and re-energize.