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How to Improve Your Evening Routine to Maximise Your Fitness

What evening habits can help with my fitness goals?

Fitness is at the forefront of many peoples’ minds. Many of us want to lose weight, build muscle mass, and maintain a healthier lifestyle. However, with busy lives and commutes, it can be a struggle to stick to a routine. Even when you can’t get to the gym, there are ways to keep up with your health. One thing many of us do is settle in for the evenings as soon as we get home from work. Our meals, our nighttime habits, even the quality and amount of sleep we’re getting, can all contribute to meeting our health and fitness goals. 

What’s the best time to eat dinner for fitness?

The timing of our evening meal can be a contributing factor to our health. Studies have shown that eating dinner at an earlier time can have an increase in the amount of fat our bodies naturally burn overnight. Additionally, it is believed that allowing your body enough time to fully digest your meal before bed will lead to a better night’s sleep. While you shouldn’t go to bed hungry, falling asleep on a full stomach can lead to discomfort, and worsen conditions such as acid reflux or GERD. 

What are good dinner options for weight loss?

As easy as it may be to pick up food on the way home, you will see faster results when you cook your own meals. Focus on foods that are nutrient-dense, with as few ingredients as possible. The more natural the food, the healthier it is. Skinless chicken breast with roasted vegetables is a great option.

If you aren’t a carnivore, and want to stick to a plant-based diet, swap the chicken for a grilled portabello mushroom. If weight loss is your primary goal, you’ll want to avoid calorie-heavy, processed foods. Carbs can also work against you-- while they are a vital part of a balanced diet, eating a bowl full of pasta without any protein or vegetables will not give you any vitamins or nutrients. 

What dinner foods are great for supporting muscle gains?

Losing weight is not everyone’s health goal! If gaining muscle mass is what you’re after, you can add lean, high-protein foods to your diet to help support your gains. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and salmon are low in calories, but high in protein and amino acids, which help muscles recover after a hard workout. Eggs, beans, and legumes are great meat-free options that contain a large serving of protein. Add some dairy for calcium, such as a little bit of cheese or yoghourt, and you can feel good about maintaining your muscles! 

How much dessert can you have at night and not gain weight?

Well, that depends on what you’re eating! We would all love to eat ice cream and cake every night for dessert, but that’s usually not a healthy option. By switching out heavy desserts for something lighter, you can enjoy dessert without worrying too much about your weight loss goals. Try swapping out ice cream for a serving of yoghourt with some fruit, or have a small square or two of dark chocolate (which is high in healthy fats and fibre-- it’s not only delicious, but can help you feel more full!) 

What time should you get to bed if you’re trying to be fit and in shape?

Sleep is a vital part of our health. The amount of sleep you get every night directly impacts all areas of your health, from keeping your immune system strong to maintaining your mental health. If you are focusing on your physical health, then ensuring you get enough sleep is incredibly important.

Consider what time you wake up every day, and count back seven hours-- this is the minimum amount of sleep most adults can get before it starts to impact their health. To be at your best, try to get eight or nine hours of sleep each night. Note that this is the amount of time that you’re actually asleep; make sure you get ready for bed earlier, so that you don’t cut into your sleep time. 

How much sleep do you need at night for muscle building?

While we do not build muscle in our sleep, getting enough rest is integral to muscle recovery. While we sleep, our bodies release a higher amount of our natural growth hormones than when we are awake. Additionally, rest gives our muscles time to release amino acids, which aids in growth and development. Sleeping eight hours a night will give your body the rest it needs to perform at its highest ability. 

What time should you stop eating at night?

While many people have heard that you should stop eating after six pm (or seven, or eight…), there is little concrete science to support a specific time we should stop eating. Rather, think about making healthy choices if you feel hungry later at night! Additionally, consider the time you normally have dinner.

If you eat around 5:00 pm, but stay awake until 11:00 pm, you might find that you get hungry before bed and fill up with another meal, or some unhealthy snacks. Adjusting your dinner time may help you avoid late-night hunger, which will help you maintain a healthy diet and meet your health goals. 

What are healthy bedtime habits for weight loss and fitness?

Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep is incredibly important. To make sure you sleep well, consider putting down your phone, tablet, or laptop before bedtime-- thirty minutes to an hour before should be plenty of time. Engage in some relaxing activities to help yourself wind down; many people enjoy meditating, journaling, or reading a book quietly in bed.

Consider playing some relaxing music, or taking a warm shower and washing with lavender-scented products. If you find yourself stressed about the following morning before bed, you may want to prepare at night-- pick out an outfit, pack up your lunch and bag for work, and set everything you’ll need in a place you’ll find it. Take any steps needed to relax for the best sleep possible! 

Even if you prefer not to work out at night, you’ll find that your choices can have a great impact on your health and fitness. Whatever your approach to weight loss, muscle gains, or just overall health may be, try to find an evening routine you enjoy that supports you on your journey. 

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