Smutty Fitness: The ideal fitness time
I used to be an avid early morning exerciser but lately I just can't seem to drag myself out of bed in time no matter how early I go to sleep (read: two kids, hubby, full time job, etc.) I'm starting to wonder if I should just shift my workouts to the evening after the kids are in bed (around 8PM). I've heard a lot of comments about evening workouts leading to insomnia so I'm wondering if you have thoughts about this and about better types of exercise to be doing at that time of day (recognizing that this would likely be the only workout I could fit in during the day).
I am going to be totally honest with you: you are likely going to be just as successful at getting in your workouts once the kids are in bed as you have been at getting in your workouts before work. Especially now that winter is coming and it is only going to become darker and colder.
With that being said, to answer your question about insomnia, some people do have trouble falling asleep after a late night workout. I teach classes at my studio late in the evenings and I do find it difficult to unwind once I am home. Because I have being doing this for years, my body has become quite accustomed to late night workouts, but I still find it difficult to fall asleep. Insomnia, however, is a whole other topic and I’ve not heard of exercise causing insomnia, but yes, it might make it harder to fall asleep.
So what is a busy mom of 2 supposed to do?
In my opinion, you are going to be the most successful if you get your workouts done before you get home, which leaves you with three options: before work, at lunch or as soon as you are finished at work.
Before work. I know, getting up at the crack of dawn is not pleasant. I’ve been there. When I was training for Ironman I had to be in a pool before 5:30am. It was awful. And on the mornings that I would turn the alarm off, roll over, go back to sleep, I’d then spend the rest of my day hating myself for skipping my workout. And not only would that stress me out, I would stress out about the fact that I had to somehow squeeze in a workout in my already jammed day.
What did this teach me? That the 5 minutes of hell, when you are dragging yourself out of bed while most of the world is still sound asleep, is the most painful part of any workout. Once you are up, it is easy. And a day spent angry at yourself for skipping a workout is worse than the workout itself. So get up and get it done.
If that is 100% not an option, how about lunch time? Most of us take a lunch break and if it is planned right, you can squeeze in a 30 minute workout in, which is more than what you would get in if you wait until your kids are asleep. Pack your lunch and your workout gear together in your briefcase, but instead of grabbing lunch with coworkers, get moving. Break it up into cardio workouts two days a week, and strength workouts two days a week, as that will ensure you are in and out of the gym in less than 30. If you don’t have a gym then get outside for a walk or a run and eat your lunch when you are done.
If you need to be looking presentable before getting back to the office, keep this in your bag. A quick shot of the blow dryer and a spray of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, you are as good as new. If lunch time won’t work, then your last option is right after work. As soon as your day at the office is done, change into your workout gear and get in a quick blast. Just like lunchtime workouts, keep the after work workouts to 30 minutes and break them up into cardio days and strength days.
Life is all about priorities and making time for what is important to you. Whether that is getting up early, sacrificing your lunch break or taking a few minutes when you’re finished your day to get your heart rate up, you can do it.