I swapped my morning training to the evening for two weeks and was surprised at how much it improved my wellbeing

I’m usually an early bird, but I trained like a night owl to see if it suited me better

Woman checks her fitness tracker while running at night
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I’ve been struggling to get out of bed in the mornings recently, which makes it difficult to squeeze in an early workout. Exercise is important to me, so I decided to devise a different routine to accommodate this shift in my schedule.

I’ve heard mixed things about morning vs evening workouts, but most trainers I’ve interviewed have said that the most important thing is to exercise at a convenient time, so it's easier to form a habit.

With this in mind, I reshuffled my schedule and started picking up my weights in the evening: here’s what changed.

1.  I slept better

While a 2014 study reported in Vascular Health and Risk Management indicates that evening workouts could compromise the quality of your sleep, I found the opposite to be true. I slept more soundly, with fewer wake-ups, after evening workouts.

I wasn’t jumping straight from my post-workout shower into bed though, as I kept to my usual routine of reading for an hour before switching off the lights. But I found that I drifted off easily once I put down my book.

2. I felt more energetic

If I go too hard with a full-body dumbbell workout in the morning, I’ll have no juice left in the tank for the rest of my day. This is due to my chronic illness, which makes it harder to manage my energy levels.

Switching to evening workouts got rid of this post-workout fatigue. And instead of trying to hobble around on sore muscles for the rest of the day, I could get into bed and rest my body properly.

3. I wasn't as hungry during the workout

No matter when I scheduled my morning workouts, they always clashed with a rise in my hunger levels. This meant that I would either need to pause for a snack in the middle of the workout, or try and eat something beforehand which wasn’t ideal (no one likes doing crunches over a semi-digested banana).

Working out in the evening solved this hunger dilemma. Doing my exercise a little while after dinner meant that I had plenty of energy for the routine, plus I wasn’t faced with cooking or clean-up jobs once I finished. Instead, I had a small snack after my workout to rebalance my blood sugar levels but didn’t suffer hunger pangs during the routine.

Verdict: evening vs morning workouts

Working out in the evenings has improved my sleep, boosted my daytime energy levels, and ensured I'm not exercising on an empty stomach. All of these are big wins.

Not everyone will prefer evening exercise; others might find that elevated levels of post-workout adrenaline interfere with their sleep, which is why people report feeling more 'awake' after exercise.

I didn't face this issue, so I'll be sticking with my late-night training and enjoying the near-empty weights section at the gym. Bliss.

Need some new weights for your home workouts? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for Space.com and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.