It can be hard to get in a good workout when your only time to hit the gym is in the evening. So make the most of your late-night sweat session with these simple tips.
Eat a smart snack
Exercising on an empty or poorly fuelled stomach at any time of the day can be draining, and it’s only made harder when your body is tired from the day’s events. If you haven’t eaten much since lunch, be sure to have a snack before going to work out. Mayo Clinic suggests that a granola bar, a smoothie, a banana or crackers with peanut butter are just some of many options that will give you the energy you need to make it through your fitness routine.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drinking water before, during and after exercise is important no matter when you work out, but it doesn’t hurt to pay extra attention to your hydration during an evening workout. If you’ve had a particularly busy day and haven’t adequately replenished your fluids, you’ll likely feel it during your workout. So be sure to get your H2O well before you start exercising, and keep at it for the rest of the night.
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Start with a small commitment
Talking yourself into stopping by the gym or going out for a run isn’t easy when you’ve had a long day at work. So rather than planning an hour-long sweat session, commit to 25 or 30 minutes — barely the length of your favourite sitcom! If you’re absolutely wiped after half an hour, you’ll still have accomplished your goal and can call it a night. But there’s a good chance that once you get your endorphins pumping, you’ll be motivated to keep at it a little longer. The important thing is to get started; once you do, who knows where your energy will take you?
Take time to warm up
When you head to the gym in the evening, your body and mind have already been through a lot. So if you throw yourself into a set of treadmill sprints right off the bat, you might become overwhelmed by how tired you feel and think you simply aren’t up for a workout. Instead, give yourself five or 10 minutes to warm up. Walk leisurely on the treadmill, or do a few active stretches to shake out the physical and emotional stresses of the day and get yourself in the zone. It’s natural to want to get right into it, but if you give yourself time to warm up, you’re likely to enjoy a more efficient workout.
Plan a small reward
Giving yourself little positive reinforcements is a great way to stay motivated, especially when the notion of hitting the gym after a day of work seems unappealing. Your reward can be as simple as setting aside a half-hour of “me time” to watch your favourite TV show or planning to polish your nails a fun new colour. Having something to look forward to can often be enough to help you make it through the toughest points of your workout. After all, evening workouts aren’t easy, and you deserve a little reward!