The Best Exercises to Do Before Bed to Lose Belly Fat

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 8, 2023
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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One of my regular clients recently had to leave the gym temporarily because of his newly arrived baby.

Being a religious gym-goer, he asked me to give him some exercises he could do before bedtime after his son falls asleep, which will keep him from gaining fat and help him avoid the infamous “dad bod”.

So I decided to conduct thorough research to determine which before-bedtime exercises are the most efficient for fat loss. I read numerous articles and did a three-month trial on myself, so I can confidently recommend what works best for all my current and future parent-to-be clients.

These are my insights.

Quick Summary

  • To lose belly fat before bed, combine cardio and strength exercises with light to moderate intensity, lasting up to 30 minutes.
  • Engaging in dynamic cardio activities such as lunge jumps and jump squats before bedtime enhances fat burning and strengthens cardiovascular fitness.
  • A Nutrients Journal study demonstrates that a 30-gram evening snack of casein or whey can increase the next morning's metabolic rate.
  • Personally, I've found that maintaining a cool bedroom temperature, as suggested by the Diabetes Journal study, effectively boosts metabolism.

What Exercises To Do Before Bed To Burn Belly Fat?

A group lifting a dumbbell

There are several different types of exercises you could do before bed to lose belly fat.

The important thing to remember is that they have to have a light to moderate intensity and last no longer than 30 minutes.

The ideal scenario would be if you combined cardio movements and strength exercises to reduce belly fat more efficiently.

However, keep in mind that it's not possible to specifically target belly fat reduction through exercise and that the effectiveness of pre-bedtime exercises for fat loss can vary widely depending on individual factors such as overall health, sex, and metabolism.

Cardio Exercises

Check out these best cardio workouts for weight loss.

Kick off with three rounds of lunge jumps, squeezing in as many reps as you can in 60 seconds. Take a minute to catch your breath between sets. Then, hit jump squats using the same rhythm.

Cardio's great for ramping up weight loss and melting fat. Doing these moves right and with oomph can boost heart health, zap fat, and inch you closer to your weight loss targets.

As you get fitter, up the ante on your cardio sessions to keep the momentum going.

Strength Exercises

A person doing squats

Resistance training before bed not only helps in burning fat but also in building lean muscle, which requires more energy than fat, thus boosting overall metabolism.

  1. Start with leg muscles. Perform a basic body-weight squat, focusing on the negative phase. Make one set of 10 to 15 reps.
  2. After squats, do 15 reps for each leg of stationary lunges.
  3. Afterward, come crunches—do three sets of 10 reps.
  4. To further engage the core, you can insert a glute bridge in the same pattern.
  5. For the end, try isometric exercises—get into your plank pose and try to hold it for at least 20 seconds.

After you have done everything, a good option is to slow down your heart rate by doing some stretching exercises.

Related Article: Cardio vs Strength Training

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What Other Routines Before Bed Could Help You Lose Weight?

A woman double thinking what to eat

Except for exercise, here are some things that may also help you lose fat during the bedtime period:

Early Dinner and Food Choices

From my own journey and Harvard Health's advice, nixing food after 5 p.m. and smart meal choices can be a game changer for weight loss [1].

Trust me, it's worth trying.

Eating early narrows your calorie intake window and boosts sleep quality since late-night meals focus on digestion, as Michael Hamlin of Everflex Fitness explains.

Can't dodge that late dinner?

Opt for foods loaded with tryptophan, like turkey or cottage cheese. Tryptophan aids in both weight loss and better sleep, as stated in The Lancet journal's study [2].

A Nutrients journal study found that a 30-gram evening snack of casein or whey ups the next morning's metabolic rate more than skipping dinner [3].

Specific Scents and Room Temperature

Another cool tip: a 1995 study from the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine and Surgery found that peppermint, banana, vanilla, and green apple smells may suppress appetite [4]. So try sipping mint tea or lighting a minty candle at night.

Also, keeping your bedroom cool might help shed belly fat. I've found that keeping the bedroom cool, as backed by the Diabetes Journal study, really cranks up your metabolism [5].

Lastly, combining bedtime exercises with high-quality nighttime fat burners has personally given me great results.

Related Articles:

Are There Any Downsides Of Working Out Before Sleep?

A woman stretching

There are some downsides to working out before sleep, especially if you are doing it at the wrong time or the wrong way.

Exercise will raise your heart rate and body temperature.

It might increase your metabolism, signaling your body to stay active and awake, contributing to sleep issues.

Also, cardio before bed may induce too much endorphin production, keeping the person alert for a long time.

"Many people find that exercise too close to bedtime, often within an hour or two, can make it difficult to fall asleep due to its stimulating nature and effect on body temperature, so become an expert on you and experiment with exercising at different times of day (and night) and see how that affects your sleep."

- Adam Perlman, Health & Wellbeing Expert at Duke University

You should keep in mind that it is harder to stay consistent if working out is the last thing you do in a day.

In my coaching experience, those with a morning exercise routine often stick to it better. It's not just me saying this – a 2019 Obesity journal study also links morning workouts to better sleep [6].

FAQs

What to Drink Before Bed to Lose Weight?

To lose weight, before bed you should drink some of the popular beverages like:

  • Cinnamon tea
  • Soaked Fenugreek water
  • Chamomile tea
  • Aloe Vera juice
  • Turmeric Milk

It's recommended to avoid drinking alcohol as the body may stay busy metabolizing alcohol instead of excess fat during the night and prevent you from losing weight.

What Is The Best Time to Exercise at Night?

The best time to exercise at night is two to three hours before sleep. However, having just a one-hour window between exercise and sleep may be enough to avoid sleep disturbance for most people.

Can I Workout at Night After Dinner?

You can work out at night after dinner, but the best option is to wait a few hours (3 - 4) after your meal. The rule of thumb is to have some light dinner or snack so your body can fully recover during the night and burn fat. If you want to take a walk or ride a bike, it's OK to do it right after dinner.


References:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673670920155
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997367/
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265072153_Weight_Reduction_Through_Inhalation_of_Odorants
  5. https://diabetesjournals.org/diabetes/article/63/11/3686/34165/Temperature-Acclimated-Brown-Adipose-Tissue
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.22535
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About The Author

Senior Coach
Connor Sellers holds a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Rutgers University He is an author and personal trainer with the mission to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their fitness and lifestyle goals. He mantra is that staying fit has an overall positive effect on one’s body, mind, and spirit.
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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
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Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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