Ideally, our workout timing is a combination of preference and logistics. Whether your exercise timing is based more on preference or more on logistics, there is a common denominator for exercise sessions no matter the time of day: planning. Just like Elvis is King of rock’ n’ roll, planning is King of exercise. Here are the top tips for morning, lunch hour and evening exercise.
You have probably heard that researchers suggest morning exercisers are more likely to stick to their routine and reach their goals. Why? There is a much smaller chance of something getting in the way of your workout time first thing in the morning (as long as you get out of bed!).
Pack the night before
Have your clothes, food and gym bag packed before you go to bed. This will not only help set your intention for the morning but will allow you to have an efficient routine the moment you step out of bed.
Drink water & eat a snack
Drinking a glass or two of water will kick-start your body and improve your workout performance. Eating a small snack will enhance your exercise as well, but it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you. Some things to try are ½ piece of toast, a handful of crackers or a rice cake with 1-2 tsp. of nut butter or a piece of fruit with ½ oz. of cheese. If you are a regular coffee drinker, feel free to drink a cup before exercise – studies have shown caffeine can help you workout harder.
Get enough sleep and enjoy your mornings
Pre-planning steps and a set bedtime allows you to set your alarm as late as possible to ensure you get enough sleep. Even if you have an early wake-up call, take a moment for some calming breaths or thinking of what you are grateful for before you hit the ground running.
A lunch hour workout can be a wonderful break in your day and is a great solution if your mornings and evenings are jam packed.
Have a plan for your workout
Knowing what you are going to do is important for any workout time, but it’s especially essential if you’re on the clock during a lunch hour. Not sure what to do? Pre-download or stream a 30-minute ICOD class. Pack and bring your lunch to save time and ensure you re-fuel properly post-exercise.
Freshen up fast
You can sweat and get back to work in your allotted time by freshening up quickly. Do a quick rinse off in the shower, use dry shampoo or pin your hair up and touch up your makeup as needed. Keeping your gym back stocked will ensure you have everything you need for a fast touch-up.
Workout with a friend
Scheduling an exercise session with a friend will add an extra stronghold to your planned workout time. You will be much less likely to let other obligations from work overlap into scheduled exercise.
There’s nothing like a post-work sweat session to relieve stress and let go of the day. An evening workout will also lead to healthier habits when you get home.
Go straight from work
If you can, get your workout done before going home where the temptations of other responsibilities (or your couch) call your name. If you workout at home, do it right away before focusing on anything else.
Plan your dinner
Aim to eat within an hour of completing your workout. If slaving over the stove is the last thing you want to do after exercise, cook your dinner in a crock pot or pre-chop ingredients ahead of time to minimize cooking time.
Make time to wind down
There are differing studies about whether working out close to bedtime affects sleep, but a relaxing nighttime routine can’t hurt, particularly if you have issues falling asleep.
If squeezing in a workout any time of day feels impossible right now, check out my tips for Fitting in Fitness.