Sometimes it can feel like it takes all the effort in the world to just reach over and hit that snooze button in the morning, and working out is the last thing on your mind. But, there are many benefits to waking up with a morning workout and with these tips you may even begin to love your morning workout routine.
Benefits of the Early Exercise
Although it may sound counterintuitive, expending energy actually creates more energy in our bodies. When we exercise, we increase blood flow, which delivers more oxygen throughout our entire body. With the delivery of more oxygen, more energy is created, which is the best way to wake your body up naturally. Think of exercise as literally breathing life into your body.
Besides delivering increased oxygen throughout your entire body, exercise also releases endorphins that provide a “feel-good” sensation. This natural “exercise high” will start your day off on a positive note, as well as carry you through the day with an improved mood with the sense of accomplishment that you completed a task first-thing in the morning. This will mentally prepare you to take on more tasks and boost your productivity levels, which in turn will continue to keep up your mood.
Although exercise and healthy nutrition contribute to a healthy weight no matter what time of day you are exercising, research shows that exercising before eating in the morning enhances weight loss because your body is relying on fuel from storage rather than fuel from recent food consumption. Also, exercise increases your metabolic rate, which means you will be burning more calories throughout the day after your workout.
Scheduling your workout in the morning really ties all of the benefits together. Knowing that your workout is completed and you can get yourself ready for the day is a huge mental feeling of relief. It means no negative thoughts when you look at that gym bag by your desk reminding you that you still have to visit the gym, or worse, the guilt you put on yourself if at the end of the day when you’re spent and realize the workout is out of the cards for you. That way, when somebody schedules an end of the day meeting, you can join-in and participate, rather than silently resenting them for ruining your workout plans.
Yes, sleep can actually improve with early morning workouts. Exercising in the morning, rather than in the evening, affects the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) so you get better-quality sleep. A late evening workout’s energy boost can negatively affect your body’s circadian rhythm, not allowing you to fall into a deep sleep cycle. Adequate sleep helps balance the hormones that control stress and appetite.
However, remember that adequate sleep is just important, if not more, than early morning exercise. If you are only scheduling workouts into your morning routine and not also scheduling earlier bed times, being sleep-deprived will negatively impact your health. So, if you’re setting that alarm for an early wake-up call, climb into bed that much earlier.
Tips to Try
Get to Bed
If you’re a natural night owl, begin going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your goal bedtime. Ideally, this would be seven or eight hours from the time your alarm is set for to feel well-rested.
Even if you’re getting adequate sleep, you may still feel sluggish if you’re not properly fueling with good nutrition, or enough. Many times when people start a new workout plan, they restrict their diet considerably trying to maximize weight loss, which may help in the beginning but will confuse your body to hold on to what it can. You must fuel your body with enough healthy energy in order to have energy.
Make A Plan
Know why you are setting your alarm by having a workout plan – are you running a certain distance or time, are you getting an interval workout in, or maybe catching a class. If you’re not prepared and have a purpose, that snooze button is going to be much more tempting to hit.
Snooze Is Not An Option
Speaking of the snooze button, it’s not an option. Have your clothes laid out, or even sleep in them! If you really are that tired and you’re getting to bed too late knowing it’s going to be extra difficult to wake up in the morning, allow yourself that time to get sound sleep so that you are well rested and can maybe squeeze in a workout later in the day with enough energy. Sleep deprivation in order to get a workout in has more cons than benefits.
Gradually Get Into It
If you’re new to morning workouts, set a goal for getting up two times during the week at first before jumping in all five weekdays. In the beginning, your goal is to simply get to the gym and do something, whether it’s a little resistance training or a quick jog on the treadmill. If you begin to hard, too soon, you’ll be burned out before the end of the first week.
**Please be aware that this article is not a diagnosis, prescription, recommendation, or fitness program for any individual, and does not guarantee results. Before you begin an exercise program, you should always talk it over with your doctor. He or she may have specific recommendations — or warnings — depending on your health and the other medicines you take.