4 Reasons You Should Work Out After Dinner

A fitness expert explains the benefits of evening workouts

So many fitness fanatics love to tout the incredible benefits of working out in the early morning hours.

“You’ll feel so much more energized for the rest of the day.”

“You won’t have to worry about it later.”

“You set a healthy precedent for the rest of your day.”

Sure, these are all legitimate reasons why early-morning exercise sessions are great, but let’s face it: some people aren’t morning people, and that alone could be a good enough reason to pick a different time of day to hit the gym.

If you ask any fitness expert, most will say that the best time of day to work out is the time of day that works best for you. The time that’s most convenient, because less hassle means you’ll be more likely to actually follow through on a regular basis.

So, if the evening happens to be more convenient or you simply just hate waking up any earlier than absolutely necessary, below John Rowley, a nationally-recognized fitness expert and best-selling author of Old School New Body shares a few benefits that come along with working out at the end of your day.

1. You’ll calm your mind and relax your muscles.
“After a long day, an evening workout will help you clear your mind and de-stress before bed,” says Rowley. “If you’re like most people, you climb into bed at night and stay up for an extra half hour just thinking.  An evening workout session will actually help to ease your mind and loosen up your muscles for a good night’s rest.”

If you’re worried that late-night exercise might spark too much energy and will end up keeping you up, Rowley suggests that you make sure to cool-down after your workout with some light stretching or yoga.

“If you still don’t feel rested when you get home have a cup of hot tea or hot water and lemon,” he said.

2. The gym will be less crowded.
Rowley says that by working out in the evening and avoiding peak gym hours (6 to 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 3:30 to 7 p.m.) you’ll be able to work out in a less crowded and hopefully more relaxing environment. “There will be more machines open that you often wouldn’t have the chance to use if you’re on a time schedule or are working out during peak hours,” he said. “Evening workouts means access to more machines and space. You will have the opportunity to utilize more equipment, work on super sets or giant sets, or even create a strength training circuit.”

3. You won’t have to feel rushed.
“When you go to the gym at the end of the day you have much more time to do all of the workouts you want at the pace you want,” Rowley explained. “When you are working with time constraints or have to be somewhere afterwards your mind is focusing on other things. Going to the gym should help you release stress, not build it up.”

4. You can (hopefully) reap the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep.
Of course, this only counts if you go to bed on time and get a good seven to eight hours of shuteye. By scheduling your workouts for the end of the day, you can hopefully sleep in later and wake up feeling refreshed, rather than startled by a super-early alarm. “During the day focus on your priorities and when you’re completely finished go to the gym and reflect on how successful you were,” Rowley said.