7 Reasons to Exercise in the Morning…Plus Some Tips to Actually Love It (Even if You Hate Mornings Like Me!)
Before kids, I used to work out in the morning before work. Sure, I hated the 5.30am alarm clock but I NEVER REGRETTED GOING!!! If I didn’t go in the morning I would spend the day dreading going that evening after work. And quite often, I’d find some excuse not to go and tell myself I’d just go the following morning.
“BUT I HATE MORNINGS” I hear you say…so do I. Trust me!!! Since having kids my routine has been so out of whack with their schedules. It has only been in the past few months that I have started getting into the routine of going in the mornings again….like 6am.
But, how do I keep motivated to do it, especially as I’m not a morning person? We’ll get to that in a minute.
First, let’s understand why getting up and moving our body first thing in the morning is a must.
1. Lose fat and enhance your metabolism
Your body burns more calories after your workout, even when you’re sitting at a desk or driving in your car. Get up, get moving, pump up your metabolism and then start eating. Whenever you eat your body can do 1 of 3 things with the calories you take in.
- It can use it as a source of energy
- It can use it to replenish your body
- It can store it for later (i.e. fat!)
What do you think happens when you eat after exercise? Yup – you are replenishing your body. What happens when you eat later in the day while your metabolism is still rocking from your morning workout? You guessed it – you are replenishing your body and providing calories to meet your higher metabolic needs. You do not get this benefit when you exercise later in the day.
2. Your work outs will be more consistent
Working out in the morning ensures that you don’t find an excuse to miss your workout with other daily items that can seem more pressing. For example, if you exercise in the evening you run the risk of being late from work, feeling overloaded with errands that must be done, or saddled with other unexpected to-do items. There goes your workout.
First thing in the morning is the time of day when you’re least-likely to have something “just come up”. This is the time to establish consistent exercise.
Other times you may simply feel too tired to exercise by the end of a long day. But, in the morning there is nothing to distract you from getting down to business. Exercise will be your first priority and it will get done.
3. Improve Your Physical and Mental Energy
I always feel SO AMAZING for the rest of the day when I get my work out done first thing. I am a lot more focused, organized and therefore accomplish so much more. The endorphins are flying and I have so much energy!
It’s like your morning dose of coffee (but without the shakes that coffee gives me)!!!
4. Develop Strong Self-Discipline
I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that waking up early in the morning to exercise enhances your personal discipline. Just like any habit, developing the discipline to get up and exercise in the morning only gets easier with time.
Perhaps more importantly, this discipline is likely to spill over into other areas of your life. After all, if you’re going to such lengths to exercise each morning, pairing that work with healthier eating, as an example, only makes sense.
5. Get Better Sleep
Waking up early in the morning to exercise will in turn help you sleep better. Your body will enjoy a healthy sense of fatigue at the end of the day and will be ready to sleep. Say goodbye to the tossing and turning that comes when your body is restless!
Morning exercise not only improves the length of sleep you will enjoy, but also your quality of sleep by promoting deeper sleep cycles.
Evening exercise can actually have the opposite effect. Exercise is a form of stress, and your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones including adrenaline. Would you take a shot of adrenaline and then expect to fall asleep soon after? (I didn’t think so)
6. Reach Your Fitness Goals
As mentioned earlier, waking up early in the morning to exercise places a high priority on physical fitness. Whether you are aware of it or not, committing to something (in this case morning exercise) that requires sacrifice (in this case sleeping in) creates a compelling argument in your mind that says, “it better be worth it!” I always work super hard in the mornings as I made such an effort to get there.
Nobody wants to wake up early every morning to exercise if they aren’t going to see results. The sacrifice required will subconsciously prompt you to work harder, eat better and help you commit to the process over a longer period of time.
7. Love Your Life
Do I even need to argue this one? You have created a strong habit of morning exercise, your metabolism is flowing, your body is looking and feeling better, you’re sleeping well at night, and your mind is as sharp as ever. Are you enjoying your new life yet?
Exercise has been touted as a cure for just about anything that ails you. Frequent colds? Exercise. Poor digestion? Exercise. Feel depressed? Exercise.
Exercise is a trigger that release endorphins, our built-in happiness drug.
So, while it might not seem enjoyable to get out of the bed to exercise, you can be sure that it is worth it. Aside from all the benefits that come with being healthier, your brain is literally going to its “happy place” when you exercise. Why not start your day off that way?
But I Hate Mornings!
The benefits of morning exercise are pretty evident, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to become a morning workout person if, well, you hate waking up in the morning. If it’s incredibly tough to drag yourself out of bed to do your morning workout, then try establishing a few “rules” that will help make the adjustment more likely to succeed:
Rule #1: Put Your Alarm Far Away
If you can reach your alarm clock while lying in bed then it’s too close!
If you have a hard time waking up in the morning, set a loud alarm and place it all the way on the other side of the room. A gentle buzz from a cell phone beside your bed won’t cut it. Force yourself to get up.
Rule #2: Be organized
Have your exercise clothes laid out ready to go, keys, wallet and phone!
Rule #3: Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To
If you’re going to get up and do a workout you hate, you can only expect this morning routine to last for so long. Make sure that your morning workout is something you look forward to. Set your favorite TV show playing as you hit the stationary bike, put on your favorite running playlist, or turn on that audiobook you’re trying to make it through. Or choose a class that you love!
Rule #4: Don’t Skip The Warm Up
You don’t need to spend 20 minutes stretching to get flexible, but you do need to limber up those muscles that are stiff from a night of sleep. Make sure to spend at least 5 or 10 minutes warming up with light movements before you ramp up the intensity.
Rule #5: Keep It Short
Who has 2 hours to spend exercising in the morning?
Not too many people, but nearly everyone can find 30 to 40 minutes if exercise is a priority. Whatever you do, make it short so that you have plenty of time to shower, eat breakfast, and get to work on time.