Look, I get it. Life can get busy, and fitting a workout into your busy lifestyle can be hard. Sometimes, that means we have to get a workout in late at night.
I’ve been there myself … it was getting close to 10, and I had to decide whether to work out or hop into my cozy bed.
A lot of us wonder if it’s too late. Some of us even wonder if working out at night can keep us up or not.
Maybe you really enjoy working out at night, and it's been your routine for some time now. That's awesome, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that either!
But, today, I want to talk about the pros and cons of working out at night. Is it good? Is it bad? The truth is, it ultimately depends on your personal preferences.
So, let’s dive into the pros and cons of working out at night, and I’ll let you decide what works best for you!
What Are the Pros and Cons of Working Out at Night?
While I think that most of the arguments you can make about working out at night are all opinion-based … there are some exceptions.
Let’s look at some of the straight facts, as well as some of my personal opinions when it comes to the pros and cons. We’ll start with some of the benefits, or pros, to working out at night…
The Pros To Working Out at Night
So, what are the pros to working out at night? There are actually a few that may surprise you.
1. Working Out At Night May Relieve Stress From the Day
Exercise, in general, has been shown to help relieve stress. Even more specifically, aerobic exercise can help you feel relaxed hours afterward (1).
When exercising at the end of your day, this could be a great way to relieve stress and tension. Even just 30 minutes of exercise can help improve your mood and relieve stress (2).
2. You May Be Stronger At Night
Another potential pro to working out at night is that your strength may be higher. Muscle strength has been proven to vary depending on the time of the day, with peaks in strength around 4PM-8PM (3).
Some people may even feel like they have better workouts at night because they have a full day of calories to work with. This is just another thing to consider when it comes to night workouts!
3. The Gym May Be Less Crowded
There aren’t a lot of people who work out late at night. It doesn’t take a scientific study or research paperwork to prove that either. If you’ve never been to the gym past 8PM … it’s pretty nice.
Now, this may not always be the case. But, through my own observations, I’ve seen that not many people prefer to work out that late. If you don’t work out at a gym, then maybe this isn’t the most important piece to consider.
I figured I’d share it with you anyways as another upside to training at night. I don’t know many people who like fighting for equipment or having to skip certain exercises altogether because of the crowds!
The Cons to Working Out At Night
On one hand, working out at night sounds pretty great! On the other hand, there are some potential downsides to working out at night as well. Let’s take a look at those too.
1. Exercise Could Effect Melatonin Before Bed
One study found that exercise-induced stress before sleep had a negative impact on blood melatonin levels (4). Melatonin is an important hormone involved in your body’s sleep-wake cycles.
This could have an impact on whether or not you’ll be able to fall asleep as easily at night. So, if you have trouble falling asleep at night, late-night workouts may not work well for you.
2. May be More Difficult to Stay Consistent
While this point may very much be an opinion … there can be some truth to this statement as well. Have you ever had a day when you got so busy that everything got pushed back?
Maybe you ran late to work, so you stayed an extra half hour. Then, you had to get gas on your way back home. Then, dinner takes longer than you want it to. All of a sudden, you’re starting your workout an hour later than normal!
At this point, you either have to skip your workout, or you’ll lose sleep. So, if you’re anything like me, and you have crazy busy days … it may be hard to stay consistent. If exercise is really a priority for you, it may make sense to do it first thing in the morning instead.
The Do’s And Don’ts of Working Out At Night
As you can see, there aren’t a ton of pros or cons for working out at night. Whether or not you choose to work out at night is completely up to you.
For me, I prefer to work out in the early afternoon. However, there have been times when I’ve found myself working out pretty late.
If you do choose to work out late, or you find yourself in the same situation as me, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
Working Out At Night: The To-Do’s
Stick To Your Routine - Getting a workout in late at night means you have to be on top of your routine during the day. Otherwise, you could end up working out much later than you’d like. Make sure you stick to your routine!
Take a Post-Workout Shake - Even though it’s close to bed, you still want to make sure you are recovering properly from your training. Taking a post-workout recovery shake can be a great way to help you recover and reach your fitness goals.
Take Time to Cool Down and Stretch - It’s going to be pretty hard to go to sleep if you’re still wound up from your workout. That’s why I always recommend taking the time to cool down and stretch afterwards.
Hit Your Nutrition Goals - Sometimes, working out at night can take place of one of the meals or snacks we need to hit our calorie or protein goal for the day. If you’re working out with a specific goal in mind, don’t forget to account for the nutrition you may miss out on at this time!
Working Out At Night: The Don’ts
Don’t Take a Caffeinated Pre-Workout - If you are going to work out late at night, I recommend you stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can have a negative impact on your sleep. So, if you’re used to taking a pre-workout before training, try swapping it for a caffeine-free version!
Don’t Lose Sleep - Yes, working out and nutrition are important for your fitness goals. However, the same can be said about proper rest, recovery, and sleep. Make sure you aren’t going to lose sleep if you choose to work out at night. You should still prioritize 7-9 hours of deep, restful sleep a night.
Other Tips For Your Night Workouts
As you can see, there aren’t a ton of pros or cons for working out at night. Whether you choose to work out at night, or you choose to work out any other time of the day is completely up to you. The important part is to make sure you get to the gym and get it done!
Consistency with your exercise, nutrition, and recovery are what ultimately matter most. So, what are your goals? Are you trying to build muscle? Do you want to lose body fat? Maybe you want to do a combination of both.
Whatever you're looking to accomplish, we're here to help. In fact, that's why we created the 1st Phorm App.
The 1st Phorm App doesn't just give you good workouts to do at night for your goals, it also gives you access to:
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...and so much more! All you have to do is download the app and get started now!
If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches are more than happy to help out. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com anytime!
(1) Jackson, Erica M. Ph.D., FACSM. STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 17(3):p 14-19, May/June 2013. | DOI: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1c9
(2) Basso JC, Suzuki WA. The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain Plast. 2017 Mar 28;2(2):127-152. doi: 10.3233/BPL-160040. PMID: 29765853; PMCID: PMC5928534.
(3) Douglas CM, Hesketh SJ, Esser KA. Time of Day and Muscle Strength: A Circadian Output? Physiology (Bethesda). 2021 Jan 1;36(1):44-51. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00030.2020. PMID: 33325817; PMCID: PMC8425416.
(4) Monteleone, Palmiero, et al. “Physical Exercise at Night Blunts the Nocturnal Increase of Plasma Melatonin Levels in Healthy Humans.” Life Sciences, vol. 47, no. 22, Elsevier BV, Jan. 1990, pp. 1989–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3205(90)90432-q.