- 12 Tips to Make Waking Up for Early Morning Workouts Easier
- Get wellness tips, workout trends, healthy eating, and more delivered right to your inbox with our Be Well newsletter.
- Wake up with intention.
- Keep your alarm at a distance.
- Make your bed.
- Lay out your clothes the night before.
- Plan every minute of your morning.
- Make it a group effort.
- Find a workout that makes you actually want to wake up early.
- Or, start your day with something else you’ll always look forward to.
- Or, start your day with something you have to do.
- Don’t be afraid to hit the sack early.
- Ditch your phone at night.
- Prioritize the time you’re at your best.
- 18 Actually Helpful Tips for Waking Up Early to Work Out
- 13 Benefits of Working Out in the Morning
- 1. Fewer distractions
- 2. Beat the heat
- 3. Healthier food choices
- 4. Increased alertness
- 5. More overall energy
- 6. Better focus
- 7. Better mood
- 8. Support weight loss
- 9. Appetite control
- 10. Increased overall activity
- 11. Blood glucose control
- 12. Blood pressure management
- 13. Improved sleep
- High Knees
- Mountain Climbers with a Push-up
- Air Jump Rope
- Lunge with a Front Kick
- Plank Superman Reach
- Toe Touches
- The 5 Rules Of Morning Workouts
- BodyFit Plus
- What comes with BodyFit Plus?
- 8 Health Benefits of Morning Workouts
- 1. You’ll consume fewer unnecessary calories.
- 2. You’ll be more active all day long.
- 3. You’ll burn more fat.
- 4. You’ll lower your blood pressure.
- 5. You’ll sleep better at night.
- 6. You’ll protect yourself from diabetes.
- 7. You’ll build muscle more efficiently.
- 8. You’ll tap into the health benefits tied to exercising.
12 Tips to Make Waking Up for Early Morning Workouts Easier
These Philadelphia-area fitness pros have mastered the art of waking up for early morning workouts — here are their tips and tricks.
By Bailey King· 3/12/2018, 8:00 a.m.
Photograph courtesy of SoulCycle.
Raise your hand if you love to sleep. Okay, now raise your hand if you love waking up for early morning workouts.
We’re going to take a guess that we lost a few people on that second one. And rightfully so: Sleep is ah-mazing and getting the motivation to leave a warm bed to work out can be darn near impossible.
Despite the fact that many of us hate the thought of leaving our beds in the morning, early-to-bed and early-to-rise is an undeniable trend in our Sweat Diaries — you know, our peek into a week in the life of local fitness pros. Because Philly trainers all seem so well-versed in the art of waking up at the crack of dawn, we asked eight local fitness pros to share their tips for waking up early.
And just in case you think this isn’t for you, we’ll let you in on a secret: Some of these pros aren’t morning people either. If they can do it, so can you. Read on for 14 tips to crush your next morning workout.
Wake up with intention.
“I changed my alarm recently from Beyonce’s ‘Drunk in Love’ to Meek Mill’s ‘Ima Boss.’ I’ve been hustling at work, and I like to wake up reminded that I’m working hard for a purpose. You may have a partner who doesn’t appreciate a lyrical-affirmation alarm, in which case you can skip the song that gets you into your mindset and just start repeating the good stuff in your head. You have to wake up with intention, so remind yourself the moment you wake up (and while you drink water — always a glass of water before coffee) why you’re making moves in the dark before the rest of the world. It’s because you want to be strong, you are a badass, and strong badasses get up and work out in the dark — they don’t sleep in!” — Jessica Sullivan, Body Cycle Studio.
Keep your alarm at a distance.
“Something that really helps me is getting up to turn off my alarm. I have an actual alarm clock (I know, what does an actual alarm clock even look like?), not just my phone, that I set every night while I’m prepping my clothes and bag for the next day and put on the complete other side of my room. That way I have to get up to turn it off. Turn your alarm off and turn on all the lights and some music! I used to be terrible in the mornings and this trick has really helped me!” — Alex Fluharty, Solidcore.
Make your bed.
“Once you turn that alarm clock off, turn on the lights, and MAKE YOUR BED! I know, I sound like your Mom, but if you spend the minute or two that it takes to make your bed, you start to move around and get your blood flowing, plus you’re so much less likely to crawl back into it! And then of course once your bed is made, COFFEE.” — Alex Fluharty, Solidcore.
Lay out your clothes the night before.
“The night before an early workout, I always get all of my outfits ready. I work out/teach multiple times a day, so I have to change two to three times throughout my day. This way, when I wake up I don’t have to waste a single second thinking about what to wear. It’s dark and most of the time I am just trying to not put anything on backwards (or inside out, like I did this morning with my hoodie).” — Shoshana Katz, BPM Fitness.
Plan every minute of your morning.
“The longer my to-do list is in the morning, the harder it is to get out of bed. I have my workout clothes ready to go, down a glass of water while waiting for a K-cup to brew, and then I’m on my way. Since my eyes are still halfway closed at this point, what also helps is creating a morning playlist to wake the senses while also getting you focused for your workout.” — Jordan Hankins, The Fit Complex.
Make it a group effort.
“A great way to make waking up early easier is to have friend, or network, to keep each other accountable. While it may be easy to talk yourself into hitting the snooze button and staying under your warm blankets, if you’ve already given your workout buddy your word that you’re going to meet up for that 5:45 a.m. sweat session, it’s an incentive to get up and get moving or you risk a barrage of playful-yet-serious ‘thanks for standing me up, PAL!’” — James Taulbee, Fire for Effect Athletics.
Find a workout that makes you actually want to wake up early.
“If the 5:30 or 6 a.m. workout isn’t fun, you’re way more likely to hit snooze and pay your cancellation fee. Find a trainer you look forward to seeing, or sign up for a class with amazing energy/music/coaches (Body Cycle Studio Motivation Mondays at 6:30am, anyone?). If you’re bored with your workout, it’s not going to feel worth a walk in the dark to get there. Find a gym you love. Bonus: you can double down on the fun factor by getting a friend to hold you accountable. Even if the workout is fun, you’re way more amped to go/scared not to if you have a friend going too!” — Jessica Sullivan, Body Cycle Studio.
Or, start your day with something else you’ll always look forward to.
“Obviously, this doesn’t mean ‘start loving fitness overnight,’ it means you should try to find something you love to do at any time of day, and do that first thing in the morning while your body turns on. I wake up at 5 a.m. every morning, drink two cups of coffee, and play a game of Madden on mute while listening to NPR — it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. When I leave to workout at around 6 a.m., I’m fully awake, ready to perform and didn’t have to drag myself out of bed.” — Tom Wingert, City Fitness Exec. and fitness-lover.
Or, start your day with something you have to do.
“You’ll feel accomplished before most people even wake up. For me, this is when I make my playlists for class. Most mornings this is between 3:30-4:30 a.m.! I am a perfectionist, so I’ve found that giving myself exactly enough time to do my playlists makes me jump right on it and own it (and not spend five hours doing each one).” — Amandah Povilitus, Flywheel.
Don’t be afraid to hit the sack early.
“Anything is difficult the first time you do it, but if you start getting into a flow, everything becomes easier and then — whoa — you’ll start getting real tired at like 9:30 p.m. and be able to fall asleep for a full-night of sleep before that pre-dawn workout the next day.” — Tom Wingert, City Fitness Exec. and fitness-lover.
Ditch your phone at night.
“No matter what, I wind down by 10 p.m. every evening. I don’t care how late I’ve worked — I’ll skip dinner before I’ll go to bed at 11 p.m. during the week. I start turning off screens (I know, there’s always one more email you want to get to) and either read a book or spend some quality time snuggling my pet bunny, Kevin. Social media and emails in the evening are the worst things you can do for your sleep. As the energy from my day falls away, I close my eyes and go over things I am grateful for until I fall asleep. This is the best sleep you’ll get, and waking up feeling rested is half the battle at 5 a.m.” — Jessica Sullivan, Body Cycle Studio.
Prioritize the time you’re at your best.
“There’s nothing better than working on your fitness first thing in the morning. I recently took an inventory of my day-to-day and found that I am the most productive in the mornings, and I believe it is because I can filter through the day’s expectations with clarity before anything (including myself) gets in my way. The buzzwords we hear today when people describe their professional lives are ‘overwhelmed,’ ‘too busy,’ and ‘stressed out.’ I encourage everyone to make fitness a morning priority so it is something you achieve before those buzzwords leave your lips for the first time that day.” — Ryan Lewis, SoulCycle.
Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how:
- Like Be Well Philly on Facebook
- Follow Be Well Philly on Instagram
- Get the Be Well Philly Newsletter
- Follow Be Well Philly on Twitter
18 Actually Helpful Tips for Waking Up Early to Work Out
1. Cool down to warm up
“I ride a Citi Bike to the gym to teach — even in the winter. Those single-digit temperatures and that bitter breeze smack me so hard in the face, I don’t even need a cup of coffee!”
—Ryan Wilke, co-founder of Throwback Fitness
2. Set two alarms
“The first one lets me know I have 15 more minutes to sleep, which makes me happy. Then I meditate for 10 minutes, drink an almond milk cappuccino, play music (pretty loud — sorry, neighbors!), and throw on a super-bright Nike outfit.
Caffeine. Clear head. Neon. I’m out the door and ready to take on the day.”
—Holly Rilinger, Nike Master Trainer and creator of LIFTED
3. Pack accordingly and get in bed early
“Every evening I check to see what the morning workout will be and prepare my bag accordingly (not every day is a jump rope day). On weekdays I’m in bed no later than 10:30 p.m., so my 6:30 a.m. alarm doesn’t feel quite so brutal. I’m ready and out the door within 10 minutes.”
—Sandee Shin, CrossFit Virtuosity athlete
4. Flip a switch
“Blinding light as soon as the alarm goes off always makes me realize I don’t want to go back to sleep. Then I turn on some tunes — on days I need extra help I’ll go for Drake or Nikki — and grab my first cup of coffee rather than the covers.”
—Jessi Kneeland, personal trainer and iPEC certified life coach
5. Have breakfast ready and waiting
“When I’m looking at another 5 a.m. wake-up call, I’ll pre-order my favorite smoothie from my go-to smoothie shop to be delivered early the next morning.
Once I hit that send button, I know I have get up early — not just so I can eat it, but to make sure nobody else eats it (which, yes, has almost happened). I even label my alarm to say ‘Get your damn Liquiteria.’”
—Sarah Pope, personal trainer at Crow Hill Crossfit
6. Keep the alarm away from your bed
“I used to have an alarm clock that would purposely vibrate off my nightstand, then shake and roll all over the floor so I had to chase it to shut it off! For me, the hardest part is that initial physical act of getting my body out of bed. It’s all downhill from there!”
—Brian Gallagher, co-founder of Throwback Fitness
7. Prep your playlist
“The more I like my outfit, the more excited I am to put it on! Also, I always have an excellent playlist. For me, music dictates the way and the intensity in which I move.”
—Bree Branker, trainer for the FitOn app
8. Wear red and grab a mint
“Most of my workout clothes are red. The color’s known to increase excitement, energy levels, and circulation, and it really works to get me going.Elliot AJ, et al. (2011). Perception of the color red enhances the force and velocity of motor output. DOI: 10.1037/a0022599
I also pop in a peppermint Altoid, which I’ve done ever since my collegiate track and field days. Peppermint can create alertness, which is something I need running through Central Park in the early a.m.Moss M, et al. (2008). Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. DOI: 10.1080/00207450601042094
The only thing that I haven’t mastered is remembering my keys, which sometimes makes my workouts a bit longer than originally planned.”
— Jay Cardiello, celebrity trainer
13 Benefits of Working Out in the Morning
If you’re on the fence about starting a morning workout routine, consider the following benefits.
1. Fewer distractions
Morning workouts typically mean you’re less prone to distractions. When you first wake up, you haven’t started tackling the day’s to-do list. You’re also less likely to get phone calls, text messages, and emails.
With fewer distractions, you’re more likely to follow through with your workout.
2. Beat the heat
In the summer, working out in the morning will feel more comfortable, as the hottest part of the day is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s recommended to avoid outdoor exercise during this time.
If you prefer outdoor activities, it’s best to work out in the early morning, especially on very hot days.
3. Healthier food choices
An early morning workout could set the tone for a healthier day.
In a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, 2,680 college students completed a 15-week exercise program. Each week involved three 30-minute sessions of cardio.
The students weren’t asked to change their eating patterns. Yet, those who stuck with the program made healthier food choices, like eating less red meat and fried foods.
While the study didn’t test for the best time of day to exercise, the findings show how exercise can inspire healthier eating. Working out early may encourage you to make healthier choices throughout the day.
4. Increased alertness
A morning workout may be a better match for your body’s hormonal fluctuations.
Cortisol is a hormone that keeps you awake and alert. It’s often called the stress hormone, but it only causes problems when there’s too much or too little of it.
Typically, cortisol increases in the morning and drops in the evening. It reaches its peak around 8 a.m.
If you have a healthy circadian rhythm, your body might be more primed to exercise at this time.
5. More overall energy
Regular exercise is excellent for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. When you work out, oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs. This improves your cardiovascular system, endurance, and overall stamina.
By exercising early, you may feel more energized throughout the day.
6. Better focus
Physical activity also improves focus and concentration, regardless of when you do it. But if you have trouble focusing during the day, a morning workout might be just the ticket.
A 2019 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that morning exercise improves attention, visual learning, and decision-making.
In the study, participants completed a round of 8-hour days of prolonged sitting with and without a 30-minute morning walk on the treadmill. On some days, they also took 3-minute walking breaks every 30 minutes.
The days with morning exercise were associated with better cognition throughout the day, especially when paired with regular breaks.
7. Better mood
Physical activity is a natural remedy for stress. During exercise, your brain makes more endorphins, the “feel-good” neurotransmitters behind a runner’s high. It also doubles as a distraction from anxious thoughts.
Morning exercise is a great way to start the day on the positive note. You’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment, giving you an optimistic outlook for the day.
8. Support weight loss
Early workouts may be best for losing weight, according to a small 2015 study published in EBioMedicine.
In the study, 10 young men exercised in the morning, afternoon, and evening over separate sessions. The researchers found that 24-hour fat burn was highest when they exercised in the morning before breakfast.
If you’re looking to lose weight, morning exercise may help.
9. Appetite control
In general, exercise helps regulate your appetite by reducing ghrelin, the hunger hormone. It also increases satiety hormones, like peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1.
However, working out in the morning may control your appetite even further.
In a 2012 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35 women walked on a treadmill for 45 minutes in the morning. Next, researchers measured the women’s brain waves as they viewed photos of flowers (the control) and food.
A week later, the process was repeated without morning exercise. The researchers found that the women’s brains had a stronger response to food photos when they didn’t exercise in the morning.
This suggests that morning workouts may improve how your brain responds to food cues.
10. Increased overall activity
The perks of an early workout don’t stop in the morning. According to the same 2012 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, morning exercise is associated with more movement throughout the day.
After walking for 45 minutes in the morning, the participants showed an increase in physical activity over the next 24 hours.
If you’re trying to live a more active lifestyle, morning exercise may lend a hand.
11. Blood glucose control
Physical activity is an important part of managing type 1 diabetes (T1DM). But for people with T1DM, it can be challenging to work out. Exercise poses the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology found that morning exercise lowers that risk. In the study, 35 adults with T1DM did two separate sessions of morning and afternoon treadmill workouts.
Compared to the afternoon sessions, morning workouts presented a lower risk of hypoglycemic events after activity.
The researchers think cortisol may be at play. Aside from increasing alertness, cortisol also helps control blood sugar. Lower levels, which occur later in the day, could make it easier for hypoglycemia to develop.
12. Blood pressure management
In the United States, 1 in 3 adults have hypertension, or high blood pressure. Physical activity is one of the best ways to naturally control hypertension. But according to a small 2014 study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management, exercising in the morning may be the best move.
Over three separate sessions, 20 prehypertensive adults exercised on a treadmill at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. The participants also wore a medical device to monitor their blood pressure response.
The researchers found that the most favorable blood pressure changes happened on the 7 a.m. workout days.
13. Improved sleep
Getting an early workout might be just what you need to get a good night’s rest. The same 2014 study in Vascular Health and Risk Management demonstrated that adults got better sleep on the days they exercised at 7 a.m.
After the morning workout, the participants spent more time in deep sleep and experienced fewer nighttime awakenings. It also took them less time to fall asleep.
Exercising outside in the morning offers even more sleep-related perks. Light exposure early in the day may help increase melatonin levels at night.
By: Lisa Payne
If hitting the snooze button burned calories, our cardio routine could be done before we even got out of bed. Unfortunately, the only thing hitting the snooze button will do is delay getting your actual morning workout in.
Thankfully a quick morning workout routine can work just as fast at boosting your energy as a cup of java or matcha latte. But if you’re still siding with sleep over sweat, put on your gym shoes anyway. A daily 10-minute workout can burn approximately 100 calories. By week’s end, you’ll have burned at least 700 extra calories, boosting your metabolism and inspiring a pattern of healthier choices.
Start this quick morning workout routine bright and early tomorrow. (And remember to stay hydrated with Vital Proteins Collagen Water!):
Get right to it by jogging in place. Hike your knees up level to your hips and start pumping your arms. One right and left knee equals one rep. Count to 50!
WATCH: Erin Oprea’s Killer Leg Workout
Mountain Climbers with a Push-up
Start in plank with your hands underneath your shoulders. Bring your right knee in toward your left elbow and then your left knee towards your right elbow. From there, go into one push-up. Repeat 15 times.
Air Jump Rope
Bring both feet together and take your hands out as if you were holding an actual jump rope. Jump side to side like you were in a slalom ski race. Do 50 total jumps.
Separate your feet wide with your toes slightly turned out. Bend your knees and sink your hips toward the floor without bending forward. Move fast since it’s meant to be a quick morning workout routine! Complete this 25 times.
Lunge with a Front Kick
Reach your left foot behind you into a lunge. Kick your left heel out in front of you into a front kick. Then bring the left foot right back into the next lunge. Do this 15 times on each side.
RELATED: Collagen Protein vs. Whey Protein: What’s the Difference?
Plank Superman Reach
Start in plank. Without moving your hips, alternate raising your right and left hands forward like Superman. Do this 25 times on each arm.
Lie on your back with your feet straight up in the air. Lift your upper body up and reach your left hand toward your right foot, and then right hand to left foot. Do this 25 times per side.
To make the most of a quick morning workout routine, add in exercises that target your whole body. Repeat this workout two to three times and you’ll maximize your morning. Plus, that morning cup of java will taste even better post-workout!
The 5 Rules Of Morning Workouts
Mornings are, to put it bluntly, hell for some of us. The sound of the alarm clock violently ringing in our ears rips us out of rest and puts us instantly in a bad mood. Worst of all, we’re completely aware of being in a bad mood, but believe we’re powerless to stop it. We have to wait until the mood burns off and hope we don’t do anything we’ll regret later.
The sound of the alarm clock violently ringing in our ears rips us out of rest and puts us instantly in a bad mood.
It probably shouldn’t be this way. After all, the way you wake up in the morning affects the rest of your day—diet and training included. If you start out on the wrong side of the bed, you’re more likely to hit up the fridge and dominate that cheesecake you’ve been saving up for your re-feed, or post ill-advised rants on Facebook, maybe half-ass your grooming, and end up having to cut your gym time because you’re running late. A bad morning becomes a bad day.
Although it might feel like a curse, you’re not doomed to be either a “morning person” or a morning troll. There is a way you can wake up better, improve your mood, boost your metabolism, prime your body to build muscle and shred fat, and walk out the door feeling energized. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes. And yes, I do accept cash, thank you very much.
On second thought, I’ll teach you how to do for free, in the hopes that the world will be a happier and more awesome place. Or at least to decrease the chances that I might have to bear the brunt of your morning misery in the future.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to neural morning primers.
Neutral What-Ing What-Ers?
The concept of a neural morning primer (NMP) is simple. It’s a small 5-10 minute circuit-style bodyweight workout that’s programmed strategically to wake up your nervous system, get the blood flowing, kick your hormones into overdrive, and introduce a massive amount of oxygen to your body, thereby shooting your brain into productivity mode.
I’ve been prescribing these for clients for the last five years or so, but I don’t claim to have invented them. The concept has many other names and has been used since the dawn of bodybuilding. If you’ve read Arnold’s recent book Total Recall you’ll find a couple of pages inside describing his morning routines, along with the other Olympians. John Romaniello has advocated something similar, calling them “neural wakeup calls,” and others trainers have used different names. And if you check with the yoga folks, you’ll find many who utilize sun salutation routines right after leaving bed.
No matter the name, the benefits are real. Since the NMP is to be performed the second you pull your ass out of bed, you’re working out under a fasted state. This, in turn, will spur your human growth hormone secretion and improve your insulin sensitivity.
Also, due to NMP’s brevity, intensity, and flexibility demands, they loosen the body and provoke endorphin production (the feel-good chemical in your brain). In other words, you’ll walk out the door feeling awesomely awesome, like you’re the sexiest piece of meat on the planet.
So how can you build a successful NMP routine? Having tested them on many clients over the years, I’ve crafted these of guidelines to help you build your perfect routine.
1. It Has To Be Performed Immediately Upon Waking Up
This one has to do more with habit than anything. You create the expectation that your body has to perform the second it wakes up. It may resist at first, but with practice it’ll fall in line.
I hear you whining. “But seriously: right when I wake up?” Of course you can go pee and drink a glass of water, but that’s it. You’ll save yourself some spilled coffee and burnt eggs if you start off your day with a quick workout rather than, say, watching cartoons.
2. It Must Have At Least One Explosive Movement
In order to get your blood pumping like crazy, boost muscle building, and elevate your metabolism for the day to come, you need to include at least one sort of explosive exercise in your routine.
Jump squats and lunges are obvious examples, but you could also try explosive push-ups or tornado jumping jacks, where you spin 90-180 degrees during the jump.
Like most other things in life the best way to get better in this respet is to practice it every day.
3. It Must Have At Least One Static Stretch Movement
The stereotype is that every meathead is stiff as a board, and probably doubly so after staggering out of bed. But as anyone who ever saw Flex Wheeler do the splits can attest, aesthetic people are even more impressive when they’re flexible. Like most other things in life, the best way to get better in this respect is to practice it every freaking day.
Examples of such exercises are spiderman lunges with bottom holds (pushing your hips forward), Bulgarian split squats with bottom holds, Hindu push-ups with 3-second holds on top and at the bottom of the movement, and lateral lunges with a hold at the bottom.
4. It Should Be Short And Sweet
Remember, your morning workout is something you should want to do every day, and that includes your workout days. You don’t want to overdo it and be tired for the remainder of the day, or worse, work out so hard that your gym performance suffers. As a general rule, your morning workout should be under 15 minutes and not loaded with reps.
5. It Should Fit Your Aesthetic Goals
If you’re a man who wants to target your quads and shoulders, focus your morning routine there. If you’re a woman who wants to build your butt and chest, then by all means squat, thrust, and press when you wake up. If you want an impressive set of abs, congratulations—you’re human.
If none of those describes you, then fine. Be that way. If that sounds like you, here are the general templates for the routines that my male and female clients have found most effective for their aesthetic goals.
Women’s Routine Circuit: Repeat 1-2 times 1 1 set, 8-15 reps+ 6 more exercises
- 2,500+ expert-created single workouts
- 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
- Detailed workout instruction
- Step-by-step workout tips
- Training at gym or at home
Already have a Bodybuilding.com account with BodyFit Plus? Sign In
What comes with BodyFit Plus?
- Instructional Videos
Don’t risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.
- How-to Images
View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot.
- Step-by-Step Instructions
Quickly read through our step-by-step directions to ensure you’re doing each workout correctly the first time, every time.
Men’s Routine Circuit: Repeat 1-2 times 1 1 set, 8-15 reps (per leg) + 6 more exercises
8 Health Benefits of Morning Workouts
The absolute best time to work out is always going to be whenever works for you. After all, working out at 9 p.m. beats skipping it every single time because you slept through your alarm clock. But starting your day with a good sweat does have some serious advantages over leaving it for after work. Here are eight benefits of morning workouts that just might convince you to start exercising first thing. (Here are even more benefits of being a morning person, according to science.)
1. You’ll consume fewer unnecessary calories.
It’s logical to think that burning 500 calories in the morning could backfire by making you think you have a free pass to make up for the lost calories-and then some. But researchers from Brigham Young University found exercising in the morning can actually make food seem less appealing. For the study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers analyzed the brain activity of women as they looked at pictures of food and flowers, which served as the control. Women who’d exercised for 45 minutes in the morning were less fired up about the tasty images than those who skipped the workout. What’s more, the morning exercisers didn’t consume more food than the other group over the course of the day.
2. You’ll be more active all day long.
Getting that morning workout in also inspires you to keep moving throughout the rest of the day. The Bringham Young University researchers also found in the same study that people who work out in the morning end up being more active in general.
3. You’ll burn more fat.
To eat breakfast or not to eat breakfast before exercising? The question’s been argued in health and fitness circles forever. And while there are certainly benefits to fueling up before a workout-it’ll keep you going harder and longer-a 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study found exercising on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20 percent more fat than when a meal is eaten first.
4. You’ll lower your blood pressure.
In a study out of Appalachian State University, researchers asked study participants to hit the treadmills for 30 minutes at three different times of day: 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. Those who worked out in the morning reduced their blood pressure by 10 percent, a dip that continued all day and lowered even more (to 25 percent) at night. Most heart attacks occur in the early morning, so the researchers speculated a.m. exercise may serve as a preventative measure.
5. You’ll sleep better at night.
Ever book an 8 p.m. class and feel like your body was too revved up to fall asleep afterward? You’re not just imagining the connection. Better sleep is one of the many well-studied benefits of morning workouts. The National Sleep Foundation says while evening workouts can boost the body’s temperature and stimulate the body, which can make falling asleep more difficult, working out in the morning leads to deeper, longer, and higher-quality sleep when you finally hit the pillow 15 or so hours later.
6. You’ll protect yourself from diabetes.
Hitting the gym in the morning on an empty stomach has also been shown to protect against glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which are trademarks of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiology. During the six-week study, participants who exercised without eating first, compared to those who ate carbohydrates before and during the workout, showed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, on top of not gaining any weight.
7. You’ll build muscle more efficiently.
When you wake up in the morning, your testosterone levels are at their peak, according to the National Institute for Fitness & Sport. That makes morning the ideal time to knock out your strength-training workouts since your body is in prime muscle-building mode.
8. You’ll tap into the health benefits tied to exercising.
A recent study published in Health Psychology found that the most consistent exercisers are those who make it a habit. Waking up early and heading to the gym before the rest of the world needs something from you means you’re more likely to exercise regularly. It’s a lot easier to blow off a workout after work, say because a friend is unexpectedly in town or something comes up at work to derail you. Setting an early-morning alarm helps you be consistent, which means you’ll tap into all those health benefits-including increased immunity, longevity, and a better mood-that go along with regular exercise.
- By By Moira Lawler