Many of you are fighting the battle to be a morning person. Getting up and getting your workout in early can be a great way to keep yourself on track. But not everyone can be a morning workout person. Some of us start work too early for even a 5 am class, or just can’t force themselves out of bed and find themselves blowing off workouts in exchange for an extra round of hitting the snooze button. Just because you’ve failed at being a morning workout person doesn’t mean you have to fail at hitting the gym regularly, but evening workouts require dedication and sacrifice, too. Before you decide to commit to a nighttime fitness routine, here are the questions you have to ask yourself:
Can I give up my happy hours?
If Happy Hour is important to you because it’s the only time you socialize with friends, the best opportunity to build relationships at work or it’s simply that thing that you’re looking forward to all day at work, evening workouts might not be for you. At both my current job and my last job, people expected that I would say no to Happy Hours because the hour after work was my dedicated gym time. I’ve also trimmed my TV-watching time to weekend mornings and maybe a half hour show during the week to create extra time for the gym. If you’re not willing to trade your current after-work activities for the gym, sticking to a routine will be all but impossible.
Do I get out of work at a consistent time?
This is a real one. I’m pretty lucky in that, for the most part, I know what time I’ll be able to leave work. Whenever I start a project, I tell my project team that 6:30-7:30 pm is my workout time, and I’m happy to get back online later but that’s a must. If you have a boss or teammates who tend to send ASAP requests just before it’s time to pack it up for the night, it’s easy to find yourself missing your gym time. Boutique fitness classes that start between 5:30 and 6:30 also tend to fill quickly, so if you don’t know in advance when you’ll be able to scoot out of work, you might find yourself shut out of the classes you want to take.
Will I still have time for a healthy dinner?
When you work out after work, you’re tacking an hour – plus travel time to and from the gym – onto the time it takes you to get home from work. For me, that means I rarely walk through the door before 8 pm. I’ve never been great about grocery shopping for the week, so if I have to get groceries after the gym, it can be even later. Fortunately for me, my husband’s schedule of late has meant that he can get groceries and start dinner before I get home. If you want to plan to work out at night, it either means needing a dinner buddy to help you cook, or doing serious meal prep over the weekend so that healthy food can be on the dinner table with time to digest before bedtime.
Do I have a safe way to get home?
I love to bike to work, but I am very cautious riding at night. Walking around alone in the late evening can be more dangerous, and means you need to be extra alert and aware of your surroundings. If coming home after the sun goes down makes you nervous about getting home, think about whether you’re willing to pay for a cab or if you have someone you can walk or ride home with. If your workout routine is running, make sure you plan a route that is well-lit and populated, although this advice is true whether you’re a morning or an evening person.
Am I ok with showering at night?
One of the biggest perks to working out in the evening is the ability to shower at home instead of hoping there’s an available shower at the gym before you have to head to work. However, evening workouts mean evening showers. I need my morning showers to wake up, and also because sleeping on my natural curls leads to total disaster. In the summer, this means I sometimes shower twice a day, but in winter, my skin gets too dry to make that a reality. As a result, I’ve learned to sacrifice my morning showers – and blow dry my hair daily – in order to make evening workouts feasible. If you can’t make that sacrifice, you’ll have to decide if you want to work out in the morning or go to bed super sweaty.
Do you work out at night? What are your keys to success?