What is the Best Time to go to the Gym?
There isn’t a universal time that’s best for working out. Many factors can help determine the best time for you to go to the gym.
Learning how to balance and prioritize all your different lifestyle, schedule, and social commitments—as well as understanding the results you are looking to achieve—will set you up for success as you make fitness a routine part of your life.
Know Your Schedule and Plan Ahead
When you hit the gym depends on work schedules, social schedules, and many other commitments that may pop up during the day. You may have kids that need to be picked up from school or taken to and from extracurricular activities. Regardless of your schedule, there is a time that can work for you.
It takes a little planning and commitment to build your healthy habit of working out, but it’s worth it. Here are some things you can do to stay on top of your workout with a busy schedule:
- Add your workouts to your calendar at the beginning of the week. All you have to do is show up.
- Plan your workouts for lunchtime; this may even help give you an energy boost for the rest of the day.
- If you have an extra busy week ahead, try planning for longer workouts on fewer days.
- If you are having trouble balancing your social schedule, plan workouts with friends or your significant other.
- Plan your meals. Working out right after you eat may make you feel sluggish or even negatively affect your digestion.
- Don’t schedule workouts when you are going to feel rushed. Giving yourself ample time to complete your training will help in the long term with avoiding injury as well as achieving results.
Is it Better to Work Out in the Morning or Evening?
Everybody is different. Some people prefer early morning workouts because it gives them an energy boost for the rest of the day. Some people avoid working out at night because working out too close to bedtime can often lead to insomnia. Others like to work out in the afternoon because it helps to break up their day. Only you can decide what time is best for you.
Listen to Your Body
It is essential to listen to what your body tells you to get the most from your workout. Our internal clock and circadian rhythm are significant factors when it comes to exercise. The afternoon is when your core body temperature is at its highest, this means your muscles are nice and warmed up, making it an ideal time for many people to exercise.
Forcing yourself to workout when you’re low on energy can often be counter-productive. If you aren’t a morning person—try working out later in the day. Save your workout until the afternoon or evening if that’s when you have the most energy.
If your workout feels difficult or you’re having trouble getting into it, try working out at different times. Figure out when you will get the most out of your time at the gym.
Best Time to Avoid Crowds at the Gym
Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned professional, many people want to avoid crowded gyms. During peak hours, it can be difficult accessing your preferred equipment or attending popular classes. Planning your visit during off-peak hours can help eliminate the stress of a packed gym.
Here are some tips you can use to plan your visit:
- Ask the staff at your local gym what days and times are less crowded
- Try waking up 45-60 min earlier on days you want to work out to beat the pre-work crowd
- Avoid going to the gym right after the workday ends to avoid the after-work crowds
- Schedule your classes a few days in advance so you are sure to get a spot
- Schedule your weekend workouts for late Saturday or Sunday afternoon during brunch hours when people are less likely to be there
- Try a 24-hour gym which will allow you to workout anytime
Try Taking a Class Instead of Working Out Alone
If you know your schedule isn’t flexible and you have to hit the gym during peak hours, try scheduling a class or a workout with a personal trainer in advance. This will give you access to equipment that may otherwise be unavailable to you during busy times. Some of the other benefits of scheduling a class or a personal training session are:
- Learning to use a variety of equipment, so you have more options when the gym is busy
- Working out in a group or with a trainer gives your workout an added energy boost
- Most classes are available many times a day so that you can plan your busy schedule around them
How Long Should Your Workout Last?
The length of your workout depends on many factors. If you are new to a fitness routine, it’s essential not to overextend, and possibly injure yourself. Try doing shorter exercises across many days to establish the habit. Once you settle into a routine, you can try pushing yourself with longer, more intense workouts.
The length of your workout also depends on the kind of results you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to lose weight, doing a longer cardio workout a couple of days a week paired with strength training sessions might be right for you.
If you are trying to build muscle and strength, you may want to focus on doing longer strength training sessions with a few cardio days between
If you aren’t sure where to start, speaking with a personal trainer or even your doctor can help get you started.
Don’t Be Afraid to Shake Things Up
You may have to get creative with your workouts. Try to have a backup plan if there is a wait time for the machine you want or to use the weights you need. Being flexible while at the gym can open you up to new workouts that you may not have considered before. Don’t be afraid to try new machines and exercises. If the treadmills are full, try doing a HIIT workout on a mat or grabbing a jump rope to get your cardio in.
The most important thing to remember is that consistency is key. Regardless of your daily routine, it is vital to move your body. Figure out what works best for you, and the benefits will follow. You’ll be on your way to a healthier version of yourself in no time.