Hey! Hi! Super excited to talk about today's topic because I know a lot of people struggle with consistency when it comes to working out after work. But morning workouts seem like a drag. But evening workouts aren't happening... ugh....
I was talking to a gal at my gym who is a tax preparer and didn't go to the gym all of April because she's been busy with taxes. YES- work can take over your life and make it hard to set time aside to take care of yourself.
When I was a teacher, I used to struggle with working out consistently because I would say, "I will just do it after school!" And then school would be a stressful day, I'd stay late, I'd feel sooo low energy, and it was easy to say, "Nevermind, just don't have it in me today."
Even now, I have complete control over my schedule and when I take client calls and when I work on the blog, podcast, videos, and the upcoming Imperfect Eating Mastery course, and yet I was finding myself not getting after work workouts in and then feeling frustrated with myself.
There are some pros and cons to before work workouts and after work workouts, and I'm going to go through them today. And then I'll share what's been working so hopefully it can help you figure out what time of day is best for you to actually get them done!
I'm not naturally a morning person, but I've learned through trial and error that once I open my phone, turn on a source of media, start my work day, or start doing chores around the house, it is hard to set time aside for myself.
Every morning when my alarm goes off, I am pissed off for a few minutes, and then I get my shit together and get out of bed to move my body. If I don't dedicate this time in the morning, it's less likely to happen later in the day because I will have started my to-do list, which is never-ending!
I have control over this time in the morning. I use it to move my body.
If you're someone who falls into depressive holes, creating a morning movement habit helps you get out of that hole. And if you're moving your body first thing in the morning, that means you're NOT on your phone looking at social media and feeling terrible about yourself.
My mental health has been pretty good over the last few months/years, and this morning movement habit has definitely helped.
Your body releases endorphins when you exercise.
And completing a task releases dopamine and you get to feel accomplished and like a responsible adult first thing in the morning. Which is a great way to set up your day!
I find that when I do a super hard workout in the morning, it kinda messes up my day. I feel really low energy. It's probably because I didn't have a solid breakfast before the workout. I don't really enjoy pushing myself super hard first thing in the morning. My morning workouts are just about getting myself moving. I think it's okay to not push yourself to the max first thing in the morning. You have a lot you're going to need to do the rest of the day.
Ok, so- My blog/podcast isn't about getting you to be #1 in the race. I'm here here to get you to keep showing up! If you plan on running races, I do think it's helpful to practice moving your body first thing in the morning and figure out what works for you with nutrition and warming up your body. Doing the during the week and on weekends will give you some knowledge for race day.
As the day goes on, it's easy for something to pop up to prevent the workout from happening. THERE ARE SO MANY VARIABLES. You could feel tired, low energy, or sick by the end of the day. You could get a flat tire or an emergency work event. Your kiddo could have something pop up that you need to tend to. You could get in an argument with someone and just not feel it.
As I was working on Imperfect Eating Mastery, I noticed I kept saying, "Ok, I just need to finish this last video. This last edit..." And then 4:30pm would pass, and I knew I wasn't going to make it to a 5:00pm class. And then I would just keep working, and 5:30pm would pass, and I knew I wouldn't make it to a 6:00pm class. And then while I could just go and workout in my own house by myself, I would not want to go!
I can push myself harder in an evening workout than a morning workout. My body is loosened up from being awake for 10+ hours. I've eaten several delicious meals and had lots and lots of water. I am stronger and faster in the evening than I am in the morning!
I am also mentally ready for the physical challenge. Like cool- let's lift heavy things! Let's run fast sprints! I think I'm still half asleep and stiff in the morning!
There are a lot of running groups that meet in the evening. Most people get off work and are ready to run at 5pm or 6pm. I know of a running group that meets at 4:30am, but that's just waaaaay too early for me! And it's easier to be social after an evening class than it is after a morning class. Once morning workouts are done, you are on to the next thing. When an evening class is done, you can grab a drink together!
1. I do a NON-NEGOTIABLE morning walk with Jameson and Paul.
2. I go for a NON-NEGOTIABLE 20 minute run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
3. I strengthen for 15 minutes after the run. (NON-NEGOTIABLE!!!)
Those have to happen! No negotiating! (I try to negotiate for a millisecond but stick to my system, otherwise I will feel terrible.)
1. I (ride my bike) and go to an evening Crossfit class a few times a week. It's not as consistent as I want it to be, but once Imperfect Eating Mastery is done, it will free up some time!
2. I go to an evening Run Club one time a week. I'm still new to the club! I wasn't able to go one time because of when Jameson got sick and another time because it was raining, and I was being a baby.
3. Paul and I might go for a walk to the grocery store or ice cream shop.
Ultimately, it is up to you and figuring out what works for you and your life. Don't worry about what you find on the internet about "the best time to workout" because the best time is the time you actually will go consistently!
So many people look for "the best diet" or "the best workout" but it's all subjective!
The best is the thing you will actually do... and do consistently.
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