Afternoon workouts may not get as much glory as morning workouts, but saving your sweat session for the p.m. may have weight-loss benefits. For one thing, many of us feel better once our bodies and minds have had time to perk up.
"Working out in the mornings can be tough for some people because you may not feel alert and awake," Wesley Beans, CPT, personal trainer at TS Fitness NYC, tells LIVESTRONG.com. Exercising when you feel more energized may help you go harder and longer, which may net you better weight-loss results over time.
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"I've also found that working out [in the afternoon] can help you get to bed earlier, and allow for quality sleep at night," Beans says. And sleeping at least 7 hours per night has been associated with lower levels of fat and a decreased risk of obesity, according to a February 2017 study from the Journal of Sleep Research.
Plus, people who work out around the same time are more likely to score higher levels of physical activity every week (key for successfully dropping the pounds), no matter when they choose to exercise, according to research published in the July 2019 issue of Obesity.
Are you an official member of the Afternoon Workout Club? This 20-minute weight-loss routine from Beans is for you.
Try This Afternoon Workout if You're Trying to Lose Weight
Always start with a dynamic warm-up to loosen up your joints, activate your muscles and get your heart rate up. Finish off with some static stretches.
Do: 3 rounds of the following exercises.
Move 1: Alternating Spiderman Lunge With T-Spine Rotation
- Begin in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders and body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Bend your right knee to step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Keep your left leg extended out straight.
- From this position, raise your right arm out to the side. Rotate at your chest as you stretch your right arm toward the ceiling.
- Return your hand to the floor and step your right foot back to return to plank.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Alternate for 5 reps per side.
Move 2: Marching Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart on the floor.
- Squeeze your glutes and push into the floor with both feet to raise your hips. Bridge up onto your shoulders so your hips are extended as high as possible without arching your lower back.
- Keeping your hips raised and level, raise one foot off the ground by bringing your knee up.
- Return your foot to the floor and repeat with the opposite foot. Alternate marching steps for the full number of reps without letting your hips drop.
- Do 10 reps on each side.
Move 3: Plank to Downward Dog
- Begin in a high plank with hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Keeping your arms and legs straight, press through your hands to push your hips up and back.
- Gently press your heels toward the floor. Pause briefly.
- Return to a high plank and repeat.
Do: each move for 20 seconds, resting 15 seconds in between each. Perform 3 rounds total.
Move 4: Squat Jack
- Stand with feet together, arms by your sides.
- Jump your feet hip-width apart, landing softly in a squat with knees bent 90 degrees and one hand tapping the ground in front of you.
- Jump your feet back together, hands at your sides.
- Jump your feet hip-width apart again and tap the ground with the opposite hand.
Move 5: High Knees
- Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
- While staying in place, lift one knee as high as you can (but at least to hip-height), with the opposite arm bent 90 degrees and reaching toward your shoulder.
- Staying light on your toes, quickly switch arms and legs to run in place.
Move 6: Plank Jack
- Begin in a high plank with hands under your shoulders, body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Brace your core, then hop both feet outward so your legs form a V shape.
- With abs still engaged, hop your feet back together, keeping your hips level.
If you feel your hips drop toward the floor, narrow your hopping distance.
Do: 3 rounds of the following circuit, resting 30 seconds in between each exercise.
Move 7: Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand facing away from a bench, box or step. Reach one foot back and rest the top of your foot on the object.
- Bend your front knee to sink your hips. Keep your chest high and front knee in line with your front foot.
- Push through your front foot to return to the starting position.
- Complete all reps on one leg before switching to the other.
Move 8: Slow Push-Up
- Begin in a high plank with hands under your shoulders and body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Keeping your core tight, bend your elbows and take 5 seconds to lower your chest toward the floor with control.
- Spend 5 seconds pushing back up to the top position.
Elevate your hands or drop to your knees, if you need to modify.
Move 9: Superman
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead.
- Arch your back and squeeze your glutes to lift your chest, lower legs and feet off the floor. Don’t look up, which can strain your neck.
- Lower your arms and legs back down to the floor and repeat.
Endurance and Core Circuit
Do: 3 rounds of the following circuit. Take little to no rest between exercises but rest 15 seconds at the end of each round.
Move 11: Bear Crawl
- Begin on all fours. Keeping your back flat and hips level, lift your knees so they hover a few inches above the ground.
- Engage your core and step your opposite hand and foot forward.
- Repeat until you’ve taken four steps.
- Then, step your opposite hand and foot back to reverse the movement, taking another four steps. Keep your hips level.
- Repeat another 5 times.
- Take 4 steps forward and 4 steps back, then repeat 5 more times (6 rounds total).
Move 12: Side Plank With Abduction
- Lie on one side with your legs extended and hips stacked.
- Bridge up by pushing the ground away and propping yourself up on your forearm and feet.
- Keeping your shoulders stacked over your elbow and legs stacked on top of each other, lift your top foot as high as you can.
- Return your foot to the join the other and repeat.
- Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other.
Move 13: Cross-Body Mountain Climber
- Begin in a high plank with hands under your shoulders and you body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Tighten your abs and keep your back flat. Lift one foot off the floor and bring your knee toward the opposite elbow.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
- Alternate your knees quickly, keeping your hips level.