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what’s the best time of day to work out?

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This post is sponsored by Health I.Q.!

When I first started getting really into fitness in 2012, I would roll out of bed every morning at 5:30am to hit the elliptical for 45 minutes before going to work. I kept that up for awhile until I started to explore group exercise classes – almost always taking place at 5:30pm after work, completely reversing my regular routine. It showed me that there might not be a “correct” time of day to get up and get working out, but I did always wonder if it made me a bit lazier by not getting up early and joining the hardcore in the dark, early mornings.

If you’ve ever wondered what the best time of day to work out is, here are some things to consider!

  • The best time of day to work out is the time you can dedicate to it. It sounds obvious or silly, but it’s true! This is something I struggle with. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t work out in the morning or on my lunch break that there’s no point or that all my “free” time for the day is up. This is the most important thing to consider when trying to plan out your workouts.
  • If you need consistency and accountability, make a schedule and find a buddy to work out with. This was a big part of why group exercise was so effective for me. It was at the same time every day, and though I didn’t have “friends” in the classes, there were definitely people I was friendly with and came to enjoy seeing every day. Whether it’s a gym exercise class, a standing date with a friend, or a personal trainer, it can be a worthy investment as you get your fitness in gear.
  • Working out in the afternoon might be the best time of day to prevent injury or sleep interruption. Working out in the morning might be difficult because of sore muscles from sleeping in a strange position, and fatigue can put you more at risk for injury. Being active too close to bedtime can throw your circadian rhythm off. The afternoon might be the perfect time to protect your body and avoid feeling too “awake” to sleep!
  • Consider your safety and comfort when deciding when to work out. Maybe you go to the gym but it’s packed after work. Start becoming an early bird! Live by a really gorgeous park, but feel nervous about a pre-dawn run alone? Watch the weather, hydrate, and go for a spin after it’s a bit busier.

Take the quiz below to learn more about the best time of day to work out and start saving today. Your results on Health I.Q. can even help you qualify for lower life insurance rates!

About Health IQ:

HealthIQ’s mission is to improve the health of the world. In pursuit of this mission, they’ve created over 1,000 health-related quizzes and worked with innovative insurance companies to create financial rewards for health conscious people. To date, Health IQ has helped over ten thousand triathletes, vegans, runners, and other health conscious people secure billions in life insurance coverage, and they hope to expand to other financial rewards in the near future.

About Health IQ’s Learn About Life Campaign:

Learn About Life is a health-education campaign, with the goal of driving more people to learn something new about their health. To accomplish this goal, Health IQ has partnered with a select group of nonprofits and bloggers to produce and promote thousands of health related quizzes. If you’re a non-profit or blogger and want to learn about how you can support this campaign, email with subject line “Learn About Life…I’m In”

July 22, 2017

New Fitness Adventures

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Since I moved, I’ve gotten to broaden my work out horizons and take some new classes, different workouts, and try some disciplines I’ve never gotten around to (I took hip hop cycle a week ago and my “area” is still not totally recovered) .

As part of my gym membership, I got a free health assessment/personal training session. I knew it was just going to be a sales gimmick, but I went anyway, hoping that a trainer would correct my form on things like squats and lunges where I’ve been having so much knee pain lately. It started with him asking about my fitness goals, why I joined a gym, etc etc. It was totally scripted and geared toward someone insecure who had never been a gym member (or at least hadn’t been for a long time.) Once I think it was finally clear to him that I’m not unhappy with how I look, he started to go on about body fat percent like I hadn’t heard any of it before. Once we got into the actual workout, it was hard, and he had me do weight training things I’d never done, but he didn’t once correct my form and spent half the time watching a female bodybuilder lift. I guess I had always thought that trainers were as much for counting reps and teaching new moves as they were for correcting and motivation. (Needless to say I did not sign up to train with someone four times a week for the low low sum of $500 per month.)


I compare that with the group classes I’ve taken – all the Les Mills teachers in my Charlottesville gym were The. Best. I loved every single one of them were extremely engaging and took the time to help, to fix form, and motivate.

This weekend, a new friend invited me to the hot yoga studio where she teaches. By the end of it, I was so sweaty that I was sliding all over my mat and falling out of poses, but it felt great. I never really thought yoga was something I would enjoy (aside from restorative, which, let’s face it – is more “naptime” than active) and I really didn’t think that anything would stop the racing thoughts I’m so used to now.

What you can't see is the salt caked under my shirt and the beads of sweat rolling down the sides of my face.

What you can’t see is the salt caked under my shirt and the beads of sweat rolling down the sides of my face.

Both the training session and the hot yoga class have gotten my mind thinking hard again. Ever since I started taking group classes, I’ve known I want to teach someday. But I had never seriously considered personal training. After having a bad experience, I’m starting to consider it more and more – like there are probably a whole lot of people I can connect with and help without making them feel bad and helping to empower them, whether their goal is weight loss or something else.

Do you prefer group ex, personal training, or just working out by yourself? What do you think would make a great teacher?

September 8, 2014

September Goals

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After that whirlwind summer, I’m desperate to get back on track. While I did, arguably, complete my biggest goals of the year in getting a new job and moving out of Virginia, many other things that are important to me flew way to the wayside.

  • Be active every day, even if it’s just a walk around my complex or the golf course
  • Pay off my credit cards (I utilized them often during my move. Oops.)
  • Go to 3 networking events
  • Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies per day
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day (I used to be very good at this, but I fell off the rails as soon as I left my last job.)
  • Bring lunch to work 3x a week
  • Go to the gym 4x a week
  • Post 2x a week
  • Read 2 books
  • Get better organized

Through all of the moving frustration (the Ikea fail – actually, all the furniture fails, since there are more I didn’t blog about) the thing I have been most disappointed in myself for is that I’ve put my health to the wayside. I can’t remember the last time I went for a run. I eat more sugar that I need to. Actually, I eat more than I need to in general, so I’ve gained some weight back. It’s also hard to work in a restaurant where I get 50% off, so the delicious food is less than fast food… but I’m not sure how “good” for me it is. (The chefs have already caught on to me, though, and offer me a sweet potato every day.) As soon as my budget will allow it this month, I’m going to do a juice cleanse to get all the crap out of my system and really reboot everything.

I am a really big fan of specific goals, which is why mine typically include a number. But it’s hard to quantify how you “get better organized” – so I’m trying to work on a plan that involves maintaining meeting notes (I now sit in meetings for over ten hours a week), and on top of that, I have so many other things going on that I’m really starting to outgrow my Moleskine. Managing work events, networking, personal life, goals and fitness, I’m exploring all kinds of printers and planners and ways to make everything work.

The nice thing about my new job is that we have GREAT coffee, so I’m very rarely tempted to stop for Starbucks on my way in. We also get free pop or juice, and we just installed an espresso bar. The only thing I’ll need to go see the Siren for now is my sweet PSL.

In addition to my day job, I’ve also landed a side hustle in the city that I’m really excited about. So even as down as I still am a lot of the time, I’m trying to keep my head up. Good things are happening and I just need to keep believing that!

When you’ve “gone off the rails,” whether it’s with food, spending, or whatever else, how do you reel yourself in?

September 1, 2014

What’s In My Gym Bag {updated}

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what's in my bag

I love “what’s in my bag” posts and videos, and it’s been a long time since I updated my gym bag post. Since I’ve transitioned into mostly going to the gym after work instead of before, I don’t need to tote around my entire morning routine anymore, which has helped me downsize what I carry around considerably. In the spirit of full disclosure (and also probably some humour) I didn’t clean my bag out or anything before I did this post so I’m sure there are some funny finds in here.

Bag: I picked this Apana bag up at Marshall’s for $29. It has a lot of compartments, which is great. I am not crazy about the color, but it met all my other wants, so it came home with me and I’ve been using it for about three months.

Gym clothes: usually a mix of about two sports bras, four shirts, mismatched socks and if – IF I’m lucky – I remembered to throw in some activity-appropriate bottoms. I forget to do this more often than you think lately, which explains the overabundance of bras and tops. By some miracle, today there are two pairs of capris. There’s also a pair of Injinji socks and some Crazy Compression socks as well.

Toiletries: deodorant, Vaseline, Bodyglide, mascara, face/body wipes, lipstick, lotion, perfume. Whatever will let me run out to an impromptu post-gym dinner date.

Wallet and planner: I’ve just been toting my gym bag to work as a purse lately. It works for now. This also means that 4/5 days a week when I haven’t remembered to bring my lunch bag home, there’s also a sandwich or sweet potato in here.

Hair accouterments: Sweaty Bands and extra hair ties. I never remember that the hair ties are in my bag, so they never get used.

Nutirtion: various snacks, protein, and drink mixes. Note the absence of a water bottle.

Injury support: Dr. Cool wrap, KT Tape, wrist brace.

Armpocket, iPad, earbuds: treadmill entertainment. (Unless the wireless at the gym isn’t working and I get wrapped up in an episode of Dateline that keeps me hooked for 45 minutes longer than I anticipated to run.)

(At least) two pairs of sunglasses and an empty sunglass case: I have no explanation for this. For some reason the glasses never make it to the case.

Target receipt: there is nothing in this bag that was purchased on that receipt.

Does your “gym” bag do double duty? What’s your must-have product?

I was provided a sample from Crazy Compression, Showerpill Dr. Cool, and Armpocket for review, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Update, 5/15/14: I’ve been using this bag since early February, and after three months of use, the handles started to come undone. If you’re a heavy gym go-er like me, I wouldn’t recommend this bag, even though I still love the organization of it.

April 21, 2014

The Beyonce Life Plan {spring into summer}

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So a couple months ago Athena and I discovered that we are soul mates, which is awesome. I had been (she probably does not know this) reading her blog for like three years, then we became friends on the Twitter, and now we text all the time. She helps keep me focused (eyes on the prize) and we have developed the Beyonce life plan together.

What is the Beyonce life plan, you ask? It’s basically a lifestyle change program like any other, but a whole lot more fun. (And with a pretty great personal model, too.) You find a friend (or a group of friends) and use each other for accountability. Set up your goals and lean on each other for support. I realize this is not the most revolutionary advice, but it makes it a little more fun to have a sort of inside joke to talk about texting Yonce.

The beauty of the Beyonce life plan is that it is customizable. Here’s my plan to get back on track after working for 20 days in a row and eating like crap:

  • Grocery shop once a week for fresh fruits and vegetables
  • No added sugar
  • Three servings of vegetables (this used to be super easy for me when I was juicing but I have found it much harder now)
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Pack healthy snacks for work
  • Go to the gym five times a week
  • Do laundry weekly

When I work too much, everything else goes to the wayside. Eating well (or eating real meals at all), going to the gym, and general maintenance get thrown aside for grazing on unhealthy snacks, conserving energy to get through the day at work, and three-day blowouts and outfits that become more and more questionable. Having a partner in crime and a go-to photo to look at (regardless of whether it is attainable for my body or not) helps considerably – especially when I want to make bad food choices. This Beyonce cannot eat McDonald’s, no matter how much I think I miss the fries. This is really the worst part for me, so whenever I want a muffin or something sugary, I look at the photo of Beyonce pictured above and think twice (or three times) about what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.

Your plan might include cutting gluten or evaluating your finances, automating payments and savings, or starting a program like Couch to 5k. Set up your plan, find your Beyonce, and you too can become like this:

Let us know if you are joining us!

Disclaimer – obviously Beyonce is not affiliated with two silly bloggers who are using her to inspire our plan to get our lives together. But thanks Yonce!

April 18, 2014