4 Tips for Working Out in the Afternoon

A few months ago I quit ClassPass, a service I was using religiously about 4-5 times a week.

I had found a gym I really liked so I took advantage of their discounted “first month special” and put CP on hold. I went 2 times a week for a pretty high intensity class. At the end of the month I was so worn out physically and mentally that I knew I overdid it…so I kept ClassPass on hold to rejuventate and save money in the meantime.

I still haven’t started it up again because A) I’m getting an MRI next week so I’m still waiting on that knee pain diagnosis. My ego gets the best of me in classes and sometimes I don’t stop if something hurts (I know, DUMB)…hence the need to work out alone. (Before you yell at me, my doctor said I can do anything that doesn’t hurt!) And B) there’s that whole money thing.

I was looking for an applicable photo but found this instead.

I was looking for an applicable photo but found this non-applicable one instead. Way better.

So, I’ve found myself slacking. I’m running a couple times a week and doing strength training on my own but I’m just not getting in as good of a workout by myself. Half the days I really, really struggle to even put my tennis shoes on. (Poll: Do you call them tennis shoes or sneakers? Or another random word? Brendan makes fun of me when I say tennis shoes.)

Sadly, gone are my days of working from home. When I could wake up at a normal hour, exercise, eat breakfast and be ready to work by 9AM. Ahhhh the good ol’ days. Now, I have to be at work by 6AM so I exercise after work. (I seriously envy the willpower of those people who wake up at 3:45AM to work out. HOW?) I’ve been going to my apartment complex’s gym but I’m finding it very hard to motivate myself right now. If it’s a running day I’m all about it. But lifting by myself? Not so thrilling.

When I’m feeling like this, there are a 4 things that help me take the first step out the door:


Have a workout ready to go. Don’t just wing it – When I do, I spend a lot of time wandering around the gym. The most helpful thing for me is Pinterest. I pin lots of exercise graphics so I can pull one up at a moment’s notice. I organize them by strength, HIIT, running, etc…so it’s as easy as possible to find what fits for that day.

One of my favs - no equipment and not a lot of space or time needed.

One of my favs!

Have a fun playlist ready. You know what I love? When I’m so pumped about a playlist that I can’t wait to exercise. It’s instant motivation. I usually keep a few options on my phone. If I’m not enthusiastic enough about my music, I’ll take 5 minutes before a workout (which turns into 20 minutes, be careful) to find a new song on iTunes and add it to the top of my playlist. (BTW, I was told recently that no one uses iTunes and everyone uses Spotify. IS THIS TRUE?)

Here’s one of my current playlists:

Plan with a friend. Since college football season is over, Brendan has been getting home a little earlier from work and we’ve been able to exercise together. If he’s going to the gym it’s harder to say “no, I’ll stay home and eat cheese” like I want to. Or, I’ll plan in advance to meet a friend or take a class. That’s the best thing about scheduling in advance – you usually can’t cancel without paying fees, so you just have to rally if you’re feeling lazy.

And sometimes you're married to that friend and it's awesome.

And sometimes you’re married to that friend and it’s awesome. COUPLES WHO SWEAT TOGETHER STAY TOGETHER RIGHT BRENDAN?

Prepare snacks. Some days I’ll be at work STARVING and then go home and eat everything in the kitchen. Needless to say, a workout at that point isn’t really on my mind. By the time I digest, it’s time to start cooking dinner and watching Wheel of Fortune. (Isn’t this what all 30 year olds do?) Anyway, my point is this: bring meals and/or snacks to work. Don’t let yourself get all famished and hangry.

These napkins say “eat” on them so this photo totally makes sense.

Of course, a good night’s sleep the night before is important…but if you’re still dragging, I hope these are helpful for you!

Are you a morning or afternoon exerciser? What do you do to stay on track?

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. January 27, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    These are good tips! I exercise at both times of day and am glad someone wrote about afternoon exercisers because early morning just doesn’t work for everyone. I actually think afternoon exercise is a GREAT habit because you watch what you eat during the day (i.e., no heavy greasy lunch if you’re going for a run) and you can go to the gym which means you avoid some rush hour traffic!

    • January 27, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      Thanks Amy! People are always pushing morning workouts…I get that it’s nice to start the day that way, but sometimes the afternoon is just the best option for me. And you’re so right…it forces you to take better care of yourself all day! Plus the traffic thing…so many advantages!

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