The Ultimate 20-Minute Evening Workout for Weight Loss

If weight loss is your goal, it's important to lift weights to build lean muscle mass.
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When it comes to weight loss, morning workouts get all of the attention. But while exercising first thing does offer perks for your waistline, evening workouts boast plenty of benefits, too. For one thing, your muscles and joints are more primed for action from the day's activities.

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"If you exercise later in the day when your body is all warmed up, you tend to feel better," says Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness on the NEOU App. And you're more likely to stay consistent with your workouts if they make you feel good, he adds.

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Plus, research suggests that people can exercise longer and harder during evening workouts, Forzaglia says. For example, in a September 2013 study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, a group of young men was able to sustain high-intensity exercise one minute longer during an evening workout than a morning workout.

What's more, February 2019 research in Experimental Physiology concluded that nighttime workouts may help lower levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin over time, which may help with appetite control and weight loss.

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That said, the best time of day to exercise for weight loss will largely depend on you. Choose a time that works with your schedule and preferences, as this will help you stay consistent with your program. "As a trainer, that's what I care about," Forzaglia says.

If you prefer evening workouts to help you shed a few pounds, end your day on a high note with this 20-minute weight-loss routine from Forzaglia. You'll get breathless and burn tons of calories in a short amount of time.

Keep in mind that doing intense exercise too close to bedtime can make it hard for some people to fall asleep, whereas others won't notice any negative effects. To play it safe, Forzaglia recommends finishing your workout at least one hour before hitting the hay.

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Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

Try This Body-Weight HIIT Workout for Weight Loss

The first circuit of this workout acts as a dynamic warm-up to get your muscles and cardiovascular system fired up, but feel free to do some dynamic stretches beforehand if you're feeling stiff. Once you're done with the workout, cool down with a few minutes of static stretches.

Warm-Up

Do: each of the 3 moves below for 30 seconds without any rest in between. Repeat the circuit for 3 rounds total.

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Move 1: Jumping Jacks

Move 1: Jumping Jacks
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Type Cardio
  1. Stand tall with your arms at your sides.
  2. Quickly hop your feet wide apart and raise your arms over your head.
  3. As soon as you land, hop quickly back to starting position.

Move 2: Inchworm

Move 2: Inchworm
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Region Full Body
  1. From standing, soften your knees and bend forward to place both hands on the floor.
  2. Walk your hands across the floor until your body is in a high plank.
  3. If you have space, take tiny steps forward to bring your feet to meet your hands.
  4. Walk your hands forward until you’re in plank position again.

Tip

If you’re short on space, walk your hands back to your feet instead of stepping your feet forward.

Move 3: Reverse Lunge

Move 3: Reverse Lunge
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Region Lower Body
  1. Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a large step backward with one foot and bend both your knees to 90 degrees.
  3. Return to standing by pulling yourself up through your front foot.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

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Circuit 1

Do: each of the 3 moves below for 30 seconds, resting 15 seconds in between each. Perform 3 rounds total.

Move 4: Skater Jump

Move 4: Skater Jump
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. From standing, shift your weight onto one leg and lift the opposite foot behind you.
  2. Squat down halfway on your working leg.
  3. Jump up and over to one side, aiming to cover as much distance as possible.
  4. Land softly and immediately jump to the other side.
  5. Continue alternating sides.

Move 5: Squat Thrust

Move 5: Squat Thrust
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
  2. Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of your feet.
  3. Quickly hop your feet back so you’re in a straight-arm plank.
  4. As soon as your feet land, hop them back up to meet your hands.
  5. Stand up and repeat.

Move 6: Alternating Jackknife

Move 6: Alternating Jackknife
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 3
Time 30 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Lie on your back with your arms overhead and legs extended straight along the floor.
  2. Press your lower back into the floor and lift your arms and legs off the floor several inches or until you feel your lower back start to peel off the floor.
  3. Sit up and lift one leg higher, touching your foot with your opposite hand.
  4. Extend your legs and arms to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Continue alternating for time, trying to keep your feet off the floor for the duration of the set.

Circuit 2

Do: both of the exercises below for 20 seconds, resting 10 seconds in between each. Do 4 rounds total.

Move 7: Squat Jump

Move 7: Squat Jump
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 4
Time 20 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your knees in line with your toes, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Jump up as high as possible.
  4. Land softly with knees slightly bent.
  5. As soon as your feet hit the ground, lower into a full squat and explode upward again.

Tip

If you need a lower-impact option, take out the jump and just do squats.

Move 8: Mountain Climber

Move 8: Mountain Climber
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Sets 4
Time 20 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Begin in a high plank on the floor so your hands are directly under your shoulders.
  2. Tighten your abs and keep your back flat as you lift one foot off the floor and drive your knee toward your chest.
  3. Quickly return your raised foot to start position while simultaneously driving the opposite knee toward your chest.
  4. Continue alternating your feet quickly.

Circuit 3

Do: 10 reps of each of the 3 exercises below. Do as many rounds as you can in 4 minutes.

Move 9: Jumping Lunge

Move 9: Jumping Lunge
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Begin in a lunge with both knees bent to 90 degrees and your front thigh parallel to the floor.
  2. Jump up explosively and switch your legs mid-air so your back leg becomes your front leg.
  3. Land softly and keep your front knee in line with your ankle.
  4. Continue jumping and alternating sides.

Move 10: Hand-Release Push-Up

Move 10: Hand-Release Push-Up
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Begin in a high plank on the floor so your hands are directly under your shoulders.
  2. Tighten your abs and bend at the elbows to lower your body to the floor with control, making sure your elbows flare out no more than 45 degrees.
  3. Once you’re in the bottom position with your chest on the floor, lift your hands off the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Return your hands to the floor and push back up to the top position.

Tip

To make it easier, perform the movement from your knees.

Move 11: Ab Tuck-Up

Move 11: Ab Tuck-Up
Image Credit: Mathew Forzaglia/LIVESTRONG.com
Reps 10
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended.
  2. Press your lower back into the floor and lift your arms and legs off the floor several inches or until you feel your lower back start to peel off the floor.
  3. With your feet and knees glued together, sit up and bring your knees to your chest.
  4. Extend your legs and arms to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat, trying to keep your feet off the floor the whole time.

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