There's no right or wrong time to work out. The best time is the one in which you actually get yourself to the gym. Morning workouts are great because you can get your sweat sesh done and out of the way before having to deal with all the craziness that comes with life. You're also less likely to come up with excuses—"my meeting ran late," "I forgot to bring my gym clothes," "I need to pick up my kids"—when you work out first thing in the morning.
However, the best-laid fitness plans of the early riser often don't pan out. Here are a few tips you may find useful as a member of the presunrise workout club:
Pack your gym bag the night before. Have everything ready to go for the morning before you turn the lights out. This means laying out your gym clothes and shoes, making sure your iPod is charged, and packing a small snack if you'll need it.
Perform a longer warm-up at the gym. Your body temperature is lower in the morning than it is in the late afternoon or evening, and your joints might be stiff. For this reason, you may need to spend a few extra minutes on the treadmill, doing dynamic warm-ups, or performing lower-weight warm-up sets to wake up your body and loosen up your joints and muscles.
Recruit a partner. If you can convince a family member or friend to meet you at the gym in the morning, you're less like to hit the snooze button and skip your workout. Going back to sleep won't be an option when you know someone's counting on you to show up.
If your morning starts early, and midday workouts aren't an option, evening workouts might be your best option. They can be a great way to end your day and relieve a little office stress, but this is also the time gyms are usually busiest.
Here are some tips to help you navigate through a crowded weight room and still get your workouts done in less than an hour!
Learn smart exercise substitution. Most exercises can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells, so pick whatever is available. Even if your program says barbell bench press, using dumbbells will be just as effective. And don't be afraid to use machines in a pinch. The equipment may be a little different, but at least you won't be wasting time waiting in line.
Do multiple exercises on a single piece of equipment. The number of exercises you can do with a pair of dumbbells and an adjustable bench are endless. You can easily do several movements in succession before moving on to the next piece of equipment, though you may have to reorder the sequence of your training.
Use Monday as a rest day. Monday is quite possibly the busiest day on the gym floor, so consider reworking your split so that Monday is either a rest day or cardio day.
Whatever you do, whether it be morning or evening workouts, just make sure to show up!
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