Summer’s about half way over and while it might be tempting to sleep in, the extended daylight morning hours may be the best time to create a new behavior. I’ll admit, I’m not much of a morning person but once you have a child, lifestyle changes are a necessary evil. In addition, with my profession, I’m up early to workout others. With being up early, there’s a sense of accomplishment, most notably that you still have your entire day in front of you. Why not start your day with some exercise? After all, who wouldn’t want to be done with it before the excuses begin to mount?
Morning Exercise Recommendations
I know. You’d still rather sleep. But I promise you, once you get started, the new habit will take over, hopefully as the year progresses into the colder and darker mornings ahead. Here are some recommendations to consider:
• Aim for eight to nine hours of restful sleep the night before. Not a bad habit to develop right there. We collectively sleep very little.
• If possible, consume a small, easily digestible carbohydrate/protein meal with water to maximize your workout. For convenience, prepare the small meal the night before and store it in the fridge for quick access. Now I know there are those who prefer or can not eat first thing in the morning and that’s ok too. Just understand there is NO benefit from exercising on an empty stomach and that your energy stores will be compromised.
• Follow your workout with a post-exercise carbohydrate/protein meal to promote recovery and act perhaps as your breakfast.
• Perform a dynamic lower- and upper-body warm-up particularly because muscles and joints are generally tighter earlier in the day.
Six Morning Exercise Benefits
Beating the Heat
Perhaps the most logical or obvious reason to train earlier in the day is to avoid working out in summer heat. Exercising when it’s generally cooler in the early morning is also healthier to prevent heat-related cramping, fatigue (disrupting and ruining workouts) and worse, a possible heat stroke.
Early Birds Catch the Worm
Be an early bird exerciser before heading to school or work (so the workout is over and done without having to schedule it around other activities). Also, training early in the day makes the remaining time available for other things you’d like to do.
Get an Early Mood-Boosting/Energizing Endorphin Rush
Exercising any time during the day stimulates desirable mood-elevating endorphins. Working out early in the morning, however, gets the endorphins flowing for optimizing energy and a positive outlook for the rest of the day!
Start the Day with a Feeling of Accomplishment
Completing something productive and worthwhile such as an intense or challenging workout elicits a great feeling of achievement to begin the day on a high note.
Jump-Start Your Metabolism
Beginning mornings with a heavy weight training session or high-intensity interval training, for example, are both excellent for revving metabolism throughout the day.
Make Morning Workouts a Year-Round Routine
Early morning summer workouts can become habit-forming throughout the year (in a good way)—as exercising before school or work can be more preferable than scheduling them later. Busy schedules during other times of the year can zap one’s mental and physical energy and attitude for even considering evening workouts, for instance.
There are many benefits to exercising in the morning, but of course the best option is to just do it whenever it fits your schedule. Make it happen.
Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.