Learn to Love the AM Grind: Why Morning is the Best Time to Exercise
You’re probably groaning already after that title. Already you’re thinking of earlier nights, no more sleeping in, and all of your friends thinking you’re crazy. While these are all valid concerns, be assured that there is far more to gain from working out in the morning than there is to lose. In fact, it has been shown to be the most beneficial time of day to exercise for a multitude of reasons. Today you’ll see just how beneficial morning workouts can be, and how you can learn to love the early morning grind.
I’ve been in a lot of exercise-related situations, whether it was working out alone, with a friend, playing sports, training others, or going to practice. I have always found that even though sometimes it is hard to roll out of bed at 6 AM, the earlier I’ve been able to perform physical activity, the more beneficial it has been. Now I understand that sometimes people’s schedules don’t allow them to workout in the mornings – I’ve been in that spot before working a job that started at 4:30 AM. Sometimes life really does get in the way. But when my schedule and life allows it, I try my best to get my sweat sesh in during the first few hours of the day.
The Earlier, the Better, and Here’s Why:
1.Working out in the AM sets the tone for your entire day. Think of it as a domino effect – if the first decision you’re making when you wake up is for your health, it puts you in a conscious mindset to keep continuing those choices throughout the day.
2.There is less chance of something happening that will keep you from your workout. Say you wake up at 6 and are out the door for a run by 6:15. I highly doubt there will be something major that occurs in those 15 minutes that will interfere with you getting your workout in. If you’re trying to exercise later in the day, there is a much greater chance of being too tired, getting distracted, or making excuses to do something else by the time the afternoon or evening rolls around.
3.If you’re exercising outside or away from home, gyms, sidewalks, and parks will be significantly less crowded. Most gyms are busiest between 5-8PM, since this is a “convenient” time to go after most peoples’ work days have ended. And while it’s ambitious to hit the gym after a hard days work, there will be longer waits for equipment and you will most likely already be pretty tired from the day.
4.Exercise in the morning feels more rewarding than any other time of day. Because its the first thing you do, there is no room for the “punishment” mindset. I know for me personally, sometimes a later workout feels like I’m trying to reverse any “mistakes” I might have made during the day. Where as a morning workout just feels like a time to energize for the day and start off on the right foot.
5.Working out in the morning will help stabilize your sleep patterns. While an evening or afternoon workout will definitely also tire you out and make you ready for bed, it will actually make you more prone to oversleeping. Even though you might need to go to bed a little bit earlier than usual to make it up for your morning grind, your body will be on a much more balanced cycle and have enough energy left to make it happily through the rest of the day.
Now that you’ve discovered just how great it is to workout in the morning, it’s time for the hard part – learning to get up and do it, and eventually love your new routine. Here are some of the best pieces of advice I’ve either heard or implemented myself to make it a bit easier to roll out of bed once that alarm goes off.
1.This one is a no brainer, but make sure you’re going to bed on time. Now I’m not saying you need to go to bed at 8, but you need to be getting at least seven-eight hours of sleep each night. So if you want to wake up at 6:30, you should be going to bed around 10:30 or so.
2.Keep your alarm away from your bed. I keep mine on my desk across my room, so I have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
3.Turn on the lights right away. While you might need to squint for a minute or two, that blinding light is going to help get rid of the melatonin left in your system – a hormone triggered by darkness that induces sleepiness.
4.Either lay out exactly what you’re going to wear the night before, or sleep in the clothes you’re planning to workout in. If you’re going to the gym, make sure your gym bag is completely packed. No one is efficient at getting ready in the morning when you still have the mental capacity of a zombie. Making sure everything is ready to go means you can get up and go without wasting precious time.
5.Find a partner to get up with you! Misery loves company, so if you’re really having a hard time getting up, find a friend who will be willing to get up with you. Plus, you’ll be able to challenge and keep each other accountable which will set you up for an even better workout.
If you can think of other things that will help you get up, such as shutting of your phone earlier or setting a really motivational alarm (Rocky theme song, anyone?), be sure to implement them! Everyone’s process will look a little bit different, just figure out what works for you and stick to it. Pretty soon your early morning exercise will feel like just as much of your routine as brushing your teeth – it might not be as easy, but if you skip it you’ll notice.
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