Should You Work Out Before or After Work?

| Fitness

If you’re trying to figure out what the most efficient and beneficial exercise schedule is, there are a few things to consider, all of which are personal. Maybe you’re not a morning person, so the idea of working up a sweat before sunrise is nauseating. Sometimes the evening hours slip away from us with the chaos of dinner time, homework, practices and just being too darn exhausted. So, when is the best time to get up and get moving? 

workout time

How much time can you give to your workout? A solid workout is 30 to 60 minutes long. If you can give a full hour, that’s great, but it’s not always realistic. Thirty minutes of a well-planned workout is time well spent. Mix a little cardio with a little strength training for max results. Click here for a 30-minute turbocharged workout!

Early bird workouts: There’s something to be said for those who can rip themselves out of a peaceful sleep in a warm bed and throw on a pair of sneakers without blinking (maybe they’re still sleeping). While you’re asleep, your body releases muscle-relaxing chemicals like melatonin. This helps your body enter and remain in a relaxed state. When you wake up, it takes some time for this hormone to dissipate. If your body clock isn’t used to waking up at 5 a.m. and quickly switching gears, exercise will seem difficult and maybe even painful. But you can train your body to adapt by slowly pushing up your waking time and adding easy workouts like a long walk or stretching.

Benefits to early risers: Getting up and increasing your circulation is an easy way to get metabolism going. It also pushes out the sleepy-time hormones with a wave of endorphins and adrenaline to boost your day. It’s like a big cup of coffee with a happy pill. Exercise improves mood and overall attitude as an automatic cause-and-effect reaction. That’s a great way to start your day!

>> Read more: Morning Motivators: Tips for Getting Out of Bed and On with Your Routine

Hitting the gym after work: Whether it’s the gym, a trail or your living room floor, squeezing your workout in after work can help you spark your second wind and promote better sleep. Picture your energy reserve like a thermometer with the mercury level at the tippy top in the morning and slowly dropping throughout the afternoon. Adding a workout in before it drops below the salvage point can give you a massive boost to finish your day. But you’ll want to give yourself at least three hours post-exercise to wind down. Finish with a good stretching period to help you switch gears.

More time for excuses: As the day progresses, life happens and things tend to interrupt your plans. It’s easier to make excuses for skipping your workout after work. Maybe it’s exhaustion, traffic, dinner flops, toddler meltdowns, forgetting workout gear or terrible indigestion from lunch, you opt out. Instead of letting daily hassles conquer you, take them as a challenge and get creative. If you’re going to push a workout off until the end of the day, be prepared with a plan B and even C.

Exercise is “me time.” Getting up early before the kids start stirring and dedicating focused time to yourself is almost therapeutic. Or think of your post-work workout as a reward and destressor after a long day of demands. Don’t let the mommy guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself. Exercise should always be fun and enjoyable, and if it’s not, try something new!

>> Read more: 5 Workouts for Women Who Hates Exercise