It’s a score that has refused to be settled for years: the early bird gym larks versus the weights room night owls. Who is better? Who is doing it right?
Should we all rise with the dawn and storm through a session before the rest of the world awakes? Or is it better to refresh your brain and body for the evening ahead with a 45-minute safari around the gym after a long day at work?
The truth is the best workout is the one you actually do. More important than any science or subjective opinion on when you should train are the dull practicalities of your day-to-day. When can you actually get to the gym? When will you enjoy it? At what time does exercise most make you find your ‘feel good’?
The key, as ever, is balance: training and eating in a way that makes you happiest – whether that means a 7am spin session fuelled by an espresso or a 7pm weights workout fuelled by cake.
Still not sure? The battle between the larks and the owls is long. Here’s the benefits breakdown.
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- Burn ‘n’ build
- 5 reasons why it’s better to work out in the morning
- 7 Long-Term Benefits of Waking Up Early
- Benefits of Waking Up Early
- Final Thoughts
- 4 Reasons You Should Exercise First Thing in the Morning (And How to Get It Done)
- Get wellness tips, workout trends, healthy eating, and more delivered right to your inbox with our Be Well newsletter.
- Why Morning Workouts Are Awesome
- How to Become a Morning-Workout Person
- Should I Work Out On An Empty Stomach?
- What is fasted cardio?
- When to workout on an empty stomach
- Pros and cons of fasted workouts
- But when it really comes down to it, the answer is pretty simple: The best time to work out is whenever you can do it.
- 1. Just do something.
- 2. Start before you’re ready.
- 3. Get out ASAP.
- 4. Make it meaningful.
- 5. Buddy up.
- 6. Pencil it in.
- 7. Adjust mealtime
- 8. Use your commute.
- 9. Aim for less.
- 10. Wind down
- There’s A Big Difference Between Working Out In The Morning And At Night
- 1. You get it out of the way in the morning.
- 2. It can be better for your health.
- 3. Your body is prepared.
- 4. And think of the workout classes.
- 5. Early birds are more consistent.
- 1. You’ll have a more relaxed morning.
- 2. You’re already fueled and warmed up.
- 3. It’s a good outlet to blow off steam.
- 4. The potential friendships are also a factor.
- 5. One word: Hygiene.
8 Benefits To Working Out In The Morning
- 1. It’s Easier To Follow High-Volume Training Systems
- 2. Your Hormones Are Working To Your Advantage
- 3. It Leaves Times For Other Priorities
- 4. You’ll Be More Focused When You Reach The Office Or School
- 5. You’ll Be Less Likely To Skip Your Workout
- 6. Your Metabolic Rate Will Receive A Quick Boost
- 7. You Won’t Have As Many Distractions
- 8. Your Mood Will Improve
- Rise and Grind
Morning workout: Testosterone, which fuels energy and muscle gains, soars in the AM: levels are a third higher.
Evening workout: Cortisol, the muscle-eating hormone, climbs by 75% in the morning, but normalises at night.
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Morning workout: An Appalachian State Uni study showed those who lift at 7am power down faster at night – and produce more human growth hormone – than evening trainers.
Evening workout: The same study found evening gym time raises body heat like a warm bath and promotes sound slumber. Late night training myth, busted.
Morning workout: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson works out long before the cock’s crow, at 4.30am.
Evening workout: Sports records are almost exclusively broken after the sun’s gone down. We’re looking at you Usain Bolt.
Morning workout: Extra energy, extra testosterone, increased metabolism, super sleep.
Evening workout: Longer lie-in, max strength, stress relief, pub evasion.
Burn ‘n’ build
Morning workout: Do your cardio at the crack of dawn and you’ll burn 20% more fat, reports a British Journal of Nutrition Study.
Evening workout: Go for a strength PB. After work, your anaerobic capacity is 7% higher, says Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Trying to find the best time for exercise? The truth is, it’s personal! Follow these tips to figure out what fitness routine works best for you.
Dawn, dusk or dead of night— when’s the best time to work out? Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you, because the benefits of physical activity depend upon how consistent you are.
You might have heard that the best time to exercise is early in the morning — to get your metabolism going or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your workout. But if you’re not a morning person, it may not work for you to try to get up at dawn to work out. The key is to do what’s most likely to work for you consistently.
If your schedule isn’t predictable, you may need to be flexible and have a plan for various times of day.
If you find that working out too late in the evening keeps you from falling asleep easily, shift your exercise session earlier in the day or try less intense, more mindful forms of movement.
What May be More Important than When
To stay motivated, choose activities you enjoy. If you’re a social person, do something that engages you socially. Take a group exercise class, join a recreational team or walk with a group of friends. If you prefer having time alone, walking, swimming or biking solo might be a better fit for you. If you’d like to spend more time with your family, find an activity you can all do together, like an after-dinner walk or game of soccer.
There are so many choices; don’t limit yourself to just one. Having a variety of fitness activities to choose from may keep you from getting bored or burned out.
Here are some activities you can do any time of day:
- Walking, running and jogging
- Dancing and aerobics
- Climbing stairs
- Playing sports
- Strength training and weights
- Yoga and Pilates
- Boxing and kickboxing
- Martial arts and Tai Chi
There’s no one right time of day to get moving. So do it at the time that’s right for you.
5 reasons why it’s better to work out in the morning
If you can get past the snooze button and your own crankiness, getting into the habit of working out in the morning does get easier.
Sergio Pedemonte, trainer and co-owner of Your House Fitness in Toronto, said while morning workouts aren’t ideal for every single person, it does have benefits during the day.
“Personally, I feel better and more productive during the day and night if I get my workout done in the morning,” he said.
Some studies have shown working out in the evenings can interfere with your sleep, while others have shown evening workouts led to better metabolism, the Daily Mail reported.
Speaking with Global News in 2017, strength coach Lee Boyce of Toronto said if you strength train, you should avoid doing it too early in the morning. “It has to do with your physiological peak,” he explained. “Your nervous system has to be up for the challenge.”
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READ MORE: Best exercises for women by age — What to focus on in your 30s, 40s and beyond
He said research suggested the best time to work out was during lunch hours or right after work.
“If you’re going to use heavy weights, it’s not recommended close to the time you wake up.” But either way, experts can all agree working out at some point of the day is better than not working out at all.
If you want to start working out in the morning, it really starts with creating a routine.
“Start by setting up an alarm, build a routine, start working out once or twice a week and build up from there,” Pedemonte said. “Always have a plan to execute while you’re working out.”
And if you can’t get up those first few days and get to the gym, don’t worry. Practicing a week of waking up before committing to the gym can help you get into a routine.
Once you’re there, make sure you know exactly what type of workout you want to do. “Don’t wing your workouts, plan them out ahead of time,” he continued. “This way, you can maximize your workout and not worry about time.”
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If you plan on working out during weekdays, divide the week up into themed days: arms, abs and butt, legs and full body can be starting points. You can also add days of cardio or take morning classes if you prefer. Either way, go in with a plan.
“Before you decide to do any exercise in the morning, remember to warm up properly,” he continued. “Whether it’s getting 10 to 15 minutes on the treadmill, doing 10 to 20 minutes of dynamic stretching, or using a foam roller and a lacrosse ball to release and activate the muscles.”
READ MORE: This is the healthiest morning routine, according to experts
Warming up in the morning gets the heart rate up and the body pumps more oxygen. “Warming up this way also causes the joints to release a liquid called synovial fluid. The purpose of the synovial fluid is to lubricate the joints, just as a car needs to be turned on in the morning for a few minutes before you go.
Below, Pedemonte breaks down the reasons why morning workouts are worth the trouble. He also runs a blog for people looking for even more tips.
You won’t skip a workout
If you wait until the evening to work out, you have a higher chance of skipping it altogether. “I notice that clients tend to skip more workouts at night time than in the morning,” he said. “A long, busy day might lead you to try and find an excuse to not work out.”
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You have less interruptions
“People typically start their morning grind after 8 a.m,” he said, so if you can squeeze in a workout before that time, you won’t be distracted.
“If I try working out after that, I usually get interrupted with work phone calls throughout the day. It becomes difficult to get focused again after being interrupted and many people lose motivation to work out.”
You will feel more productive
Research has shown people who work out in the morning feel more productive throughout the day, he added. “Because of the rush of endorphins, you will feel more focused and this helps you concentrate during the day.”
READ MORE: Best exercises for men by age — What to focus on in your 30s, 40s and beyond
Your metabolism will get a boost
“After working out, we get something called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), where the body is burning more calories than usual,” he continued. This will not only help with digestion but also boost your metabolism.
You will get a boost of energy
Mornings are often unpleasant and if you find yourself having a hard time staying awake, working out may give you that energy boost. “Working out in the morning leaves you energized for the remainder of the day because it increases the blood flow across the body thus making you more alert and aware.”
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Follow @ArtiPatel © 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
A morning workout is a fantastic way to start your day – for multiple reasons. Getting your recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be difficult for many full-time employees. Between juggling family priorities and working your nine to five, you can always find an excuse to skip the gym. However, making it a habit to exercise right after you get up in the morning might just be the ultimate solution to keep yourself motivated.
We know that it’s tempting to snooze for as long as possible instead of getting up to hit the gym before work. But if you can make it a habit to get your daily exercise in before you get to the office, you’ll feel more accomplished, confident, and enjoy many health benefits.
Check out six amazing benefits of morning exercise below:
Established routine. Working out first thing in the morning is an excellent way to establish a routine. Once an exercise routine is established, you’ll be a lot less likely to skip the gym. According to a research article published by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes about two months, or 66 days, on average, for a habit to stick and become automatic. After two months of morning workouts, you’ll be a pro!
More energy. Morning workouts are one of the best ways to feel energized and prepared for your day. In fact, a morning workout might even give you more energy than a cup of coffee! You’ll receive an instant energy boost and increased mental clarity that will lead to a productive day at the office.
Better mood. Expect to feel happier and more optimistic after a morning workout. Breaking an early morning sweat will reward you with a rush of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine – feel-good chemicals that will boost your mood and help zap stress. Plus, you’re guaranteed to feel happier knowing that you started your day with doing something amazing for yourself and your health.
Improved sleep. Exercise, in general, is known to promote better sleeping habits. However, exercising in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep at night (as it boosts your endorphins). One study found that participants who exercised at 7 a.m. experienced deeper, long sleep than those who exercised in the afternoon or evening. Morning workouts are the best way to reap all of the sleep benefits of exercise.
Lower blood pressure. Regular exercise is fantastic for helping to prevent hypertension. As it turns out, exercising in the morning might be even better! The same study mentioned previously also found that early morning exercise is best for reducing blood pressure. Researchers found that those who worked out in the morning reduced their blood pressure by 10%, and this reduction of blood pressure carried through the remainder of the day.
Less stress. Doesn’t it sound lovely to walk into your office free from any built-up stress and tension? Breaking a sweat before work will lower your body’s cortisol levels (stress hormones). Exercise will also help relieve tension and relax your muscles, which helps to fight the negative effects that stress has on your body.
If you can’t make a morning workout fit with your schedule, that’s completely fine! While there are many health benefits of working out in the morning, regular exercise is terrific for you no matter what time of the day it is. The most important thing is to remember to exercise daily – whether that’s in the morning, over your lunch break, or in the evening. The best time of the day to exercise is the time that works best for you!
Are you a morning workout person? If so, feel free to leave some tips on becoming a morning exerciser below!
Like this blog post? Share it with your employees or co-workers with this printable version of the blog!
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7 Long-Term Benefits of Waking Up Early
Last Updated on January 15, 2020
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I’m sure you’ve heard that waking up early is one of the keys to being successful. And you may have wondered, “Why? I thought getting sufficient sleep is an important part of being your best self!”
But when you hear that there are benefits to waking up early, these perks aren’t related to cutting your sleep short. They are a result of giving yourself that extra quiet time in the morning that you can use in a constructive way before the chaos of your day begins.
The idea of waking up at 5:00 in the morning was pretty dreadful to me, especially because I started this habit in the middle of winter when I just wanted to stay in bed. But as I began to adapt to my new morning routine, I found it to be increasingly easier to wake up when my alarm went off. Then, a few weeks into it, I was waking up at 5:00 without even having to set my alarm–and I was waking up energized and ready to tackle my day.
In this post, I’m going to uncover seven of the biggest benefits of waking up early. Mind you, this list is not all-inclusive, as the possible benefits of taking up this habit stretch far beyond the scope of this article alone. But consider the following to be the biggest “wins” by building this important habit.
Let’s get started!
Benefits of Waking Up Early
1. It gives you time to exercise.
I have to start with this benefit of waking up early because it was the one that had the greatest impact on my overall wellbeing. I can recall endless days at work where I would be looking for an excuse to skip the gym that night. I had some extra work I had to do, my stomach kind of hurt, I was having a tough day…
Waking up early means that you will have extra time to exercise which can help you burn more calories and improve your sleep at night.
The first thing I did with my extra time when I revamped my routine to wake up early was exercise. My alarm would go off and I wouldn’t even give myself the option to reconsider going to the gym–I would just get up and go. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t even completely awake until I had already run half a mile! But I got my exercise out of the way and I wouldn’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.
Starting your day with a good workout can help you burn more calories throughout the day and it will help improve your sleep at night. Further, studies have shown that exercising in the morning can actually help improve your decision-making skills for the remainder of the day and increase your sense of happiness due to the release of endorphins you will experience.
So if you are facing challenges that prevent you from exercising, waking up earlier might be a great solution for you. Your morning workout sessions are less likely to be cancelled than the ones that you schedule for after work, and if you do miss a workout in the morning, you will still have that second chance to go in the afternoon.
2. Your confidence will soar.
Having confidence in yourself is a long-term benefit to you because it will help you have a positive attitude, show leadership presence, and ultimately be a happier person. Doing things to make you feel better about yourself will greatly improve your life in several ways, including helping you feel like you’re better than everyone else.
I know, that sounds arrogant.
However, we are hard-wired to engage in social comparison–we all do it every day, whether it’s about how much money someone else makes or the awards someone wins at work for consistently meeting their goals, we often make ourselves feel bad in some way when we compare ourselves to other people. However, this tendency toward social comparison can be used to better your life rather than bringing you down.
Now, you’re not looking for ways that you are intrinsically better than others, but when you get up early in the morning and start getting things crossed off of your to-do list, you can certainly feel behaviorally superior to others who are dragging themselves into work at the very last minute. Getting that head start on the day can boost your confidence because you will already be on track to accomplish a lot in the day when other people are just starting to get up.
3. It can benefit your long-term career.
Whether you’re loving your current career or desperately trying to get out of it, waking up early in the morning can help you be productive with your work. If you work in an office, you are certainly used to being distracted pretty often with phone calls, emails, or people stopping by your desk, which can put a huge dent in your productivity.
If you can just have an hour or two of complete silence to focus on your work, you will be amazed at what you can get done, which will open the door for new projects that you can take on.
Alternatively, if you’re not loving your job, you can use the calm of the early morning for two things, either looking for another job or growing your side business. Let’s face it, looking for a job can be a full-time job in itself, and you can’t really be pulling up job-searching websites while you’re at work. You will get further in your job hunt if you take the time in the morning to do your research and really polish up your resume as you’re applying to jobs.
Alternatively, if you have a hobby that you love doing that you want to turn into a career, the morning is the perfect time to refine that. You won’t be able to achieve your dream of making your side business your primary source of income unless you’re able to put in the time. Paying attention to this goal before you’re completely exhausted from the day is going to make you more productive in achieving it.
No matter what your long-term goals are when it comes to your career, waking up early can give you the time you need to reach those goals sooner. And being happy in your career is a huge part of living a fulfilling life.
4. It decreases stress.
Think about how your mornings tend to go after you press the snooze button a few times until you absolutely have to get out of bed. You’re probably frantically running around the house, fighting for time in the bathroom, trying to find something–anything–to wear, skimming an email from your boss on your phone as you’re rushing to let the dog out, while also begging the kids to find their own shoes, eat whatever they can find, and not forget their science project that’s sitting on the dining room table. By the time you get to work, you’re still in a bit of a frenzy, visibly agitated, and already exhausted.
Waking up early can also help in improving your focus and can reduce stress.
Now rewind that situation and let’s say you got up early. You’re out of the shower and dressed before anyone else is awake, you have time to lay out a simple, yet healthy, breakfast for your family to enjoy together, and leave the house before traffic gets congested.
Both of these situations will set the tone for your day. If you add up all of your work days over time, it becomes clear that the more relaxed approach will help you improve your focus, be more present in the moment, and even allow you to spend more time with your family.
5. It will improve your sleep.
One of the greatest long-term benefits of waking up early is having the ability to go to sleep early as well. When you can train your body to be on a sleep routine, it will be easier for you to go to sleep on time and wake up early without an alarm clock.
Doing this is important for the health of your body’s circadian rhythm, and maintaining this schedule on the weekends is a key part of maintaining your body’s internal clock.
People who wake up early naturally become tired earlier, and having a predictable routine will help improve your quality of sleep, which will in turn help you wake up feeling fully rested.
6. It enhances your productivity.
Our brains are actually the most alert during the morning hours, so if you can have this uninterrupted time to focus, you will be able to accomplish more than you otherwise would. People also typically make more rational decisions in the morning than they do later in the afternoon after they have been making decision after decision all day long.
You can also improve your productivity in the morning by taking a moment to set your goals for the day and lay out your schedule. You can prioritize your tasks and knock a few things out before the sun is even up.
7. It improves your mental health.
All of these benefits put together lay the foundation for better mental health. Engaging in physical exercise, having confidence, decreasing your stress, and improving your sleep are all critical components to your psychological well being.
And why is your mental health important? Your mental health is critical to your welfare and life satisfaction from infancy through adulthood and beyond. Being in good mental health helps you realize your full potential in life, cope with any stressors that come your way, help you think, create and maintain relationships, and make valuable decisions.
Mental health experts have tied healthy sleep habits to a happier and healthier mind. Going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier is linked to having a more stable personality, while staying up late and sleeping in can lead to the development of depression. Even getting too much sleep can lead to depression. So it is important to find the right balance and get on a solid routine.
The benefits of waking up early don’t end here, but these reasons should be convincing enough to motivate you to make the change. So how do you start?
Start slowly by just waking up 30 minutes before your normal wake-up time. Continue to increase that by 30 minute intervals until you feel like you will have a solid two hours of peace and quiet before your day begins. Once you get through the first two weeks of making this change, you will find that you’re able to go to sleep earlier and eventually you will be naturally waking up at your goal time.
It won’t take long for you to realize how much you can get accomplished during this time, which will be a motivating factor on its own to get out of bed each morning. While it may seem far-fetched now, if you’re like me, these early morning hours will end up being one of your favorite parts of each day.
Connie Stemmle is a professional editor, freelance writer and ghostwriter. She holds a BS in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, running, or making efforts in her community to promote social justice.
1. You can accomplish absolutely nothing else the rest of the day and still feel accomplished. Because you already ran, like, three miles. Isn’t that enough?!
2. You might actually want (!) to eat healthy stuff afterward. You started the day on such a good foot that the salad bar at the cafeteria might start to seem appealing (especially if it’s fresh mozzarella day).
3. You’ll eventually get a better workout than you would later in the day. Technically, your body is wired to perform at its peak in mid-afternoon. But things like, oh, work can get in the way of workouts at that time. When you make exercise a regular part of your a.m. routine, though you’ll be less likely to skip it for other obligations. (Your friend will pretty much never move her birthday party to 7 a.m.) And once you get used to moving first thing in the morning, studies suggest that the body adjusts and might even surpass its afternoon performance peak.
4. You’ll feel less stressed when you get to work. And feel better about working late. People who exercise regularly report feeling more empowered and all around better about their work-life balance. Science says!
5. Bragging rights. You can say things like, “I saw the funniest thing at the gym this morning!” Then watch jaws drop.
6. Caffeine can fuel your workouts, and you drink coffee in the morning anyway. Research suggests that consuming caffeine before a workout can boost speed, endurance, and overall workout quality. Drinking a cup of coffee before exercising can help you burn more calories when your workout is done. Of course, drinking too much could give you the wrong kind of runs (and won’t improve your performance), so don’t overdo it.
7. You’ll stoke your appetite for breakfast. Studies show that eating breakfast inspires people to make better choices all day. Take that, breakfast-haters.
8. You’ll have nothing to dread the rest of the day. Things are only getting better. And less sweaty!
9. You’ll have a better hair day. It’s a win-win situation: If you wash your hair after your workout, it will be clean and shiny. If you leave your braid in, you’ve got a cool updo going on.
10. You could burn more fat. While there’s lots of conflicting research on the pros and cons of exercising on an empty stomach, a recent study suggests that you can burn up to 20 percent more body fat by exercising in the morning before your first meal. Just don’t wait until lunchtime to refuel. Getting a meal in early before you sit down at your desk to start your day will jump-start your metabolism and keep your appetite under wraps to reduce your chance of overeating later on, says registered dietitian Cristina Rivera, a board certified sports nutritionist.
11. You’ll start your day in an awesome mood. Even if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, a morning workout will boost your endorphins for extra smiles the rest of the day.
12. You’ll probably have more energy during your workout. Really. Think about it. Which is more difficult: sleeping or spending an entire day in your shoes? Thought so. “With enough sleep you will have more energy at the beginning of the day than the end to put into your workout,” says certified fitness trainer Stacy Berman, whose signature Stacy’s Bootcamp classes begin at 5:30 a.m.
13. Your skin will naturally glow. A post-workout flush = “Look ma, no makeup!”
14. You’ll give your metabolism a big boost! You burn more calories throughout the day when you do a morning workout than you would if you did an evening workout at a similar intensity, Berman says.
15. Your social life will peak. Ever gather up your college crew at the crack of dawn? No, no, you haven’t. So you won’t be missing anything when you take your morning run. Drinks later?
Want to make morning workouts even more convenient? Break a sweat before you leave your house with a workout on-demand from CosmoBody. Get a *~fREe~* 10-day trial here.
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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.
4 Reasons You Should Exercise First Thing in the Morning (And How to Get It Done)
By Brian Maher· 12/9/2014, 3:30 p.m.
Imagine this: It’s 5:15 p.m. and you’re getting psyched to leave work, hit the gym and tackle a good workout. You’re about to walk out of the office when you hear your name called. It’s your boss, he needs to have a quick meeting right now. Before you know it, it’s 6 p.m. and you’re supposed to help with dinner tonight, plus there’s traffic to deal with. Maybe today will be your off day (just like yesterday, and the day before).
Here’s a thought: If you’d worked out in the morning, this wouldn’t be your third off day in a row. But how do you become one of those crazy-dedicated people who heads to the gym before the sun comes up? It’s really not as hard as you might think. Here are four reasons you should be exercising first thing in the morning and a few ways to accomplish it.
Why Morning Workouts Are Awesome
1. You’ll have a feeling of accomplishment, even if you’re unproductive for the rest of the day. So what if you didn’t run all your errands? You ran three miles, did 50 push-ups, 25 pull-ups and 45 squats. Most would call that a pretty productive day.
2. You’ll start the day off on the right foot by setting the tone for the day. Ever notice how right after a workout, you generally make better decisions about your food? After a tough workout, very few people would want to spoil it by eating junk. By working out first thing in the morning, you’ll be more likely to eat a healthy breakfast and keep making good choices the rest of the day.
3. No other obligations will get in your way. When was the last time you had some place you needed to be at 6 or 7 a.m.? Thought so. Thing is, when you work out after work, things like meetings, meet-ups with friends and other errands tend to get in the way. That won’t be the case if you work out first thing in the morning.
4. Your blood pressure will be lower during the day. Everyone knows that exercise lowers your blood pressure both in the short term and long term. Wouldn’t it be nice to not blow a gasket at work because the printer ran out of ink?
How to Become a Morning-Workout Person
By now, I hope you’re convinced that you should work out first thing in the morning. But you’re probably wondering how you can do it without hitting the snooze button.
The key is preparation. Going to bed early enough is very important. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be exhausted in the morning and you’ll be more likely to hit the snooze.
The preparation really starts before your head hits the pillow. Before you go to bed, set up everything you need to get into workout mode first thing in the morning. Set your workout clothes and shoes up right by your bed so you can just put them on and go. To save time, you can also have your work clothes laid out and ready to go after you shower.
Take it one step further by planning out your breakfast. If you usually have eggs in the morning, hard boil them the night before so you can eat them in a hurry. The less decision-making you have to do right when you wake up, the more likely your a.m. workout will become a no-brainer.
And remember, your workout doesn’t have to be an hour or longer. By having a workout that’s more efficient and effective, you’ll be able to get more done in less time, leaving more time for sleep. Try one of these 20-minute workouts for a good burn in less time.
Brian Maher is the owner of Philly Personal Training, a private personal training studio in the Rittenhouse Square area. He and his staff of personal trainers offer packages to busy individuals looking to make lifestyle changes by improving their overall fitness and wellness. Read all of Brian’s posts for Be Well Philly here.
Should I Work Out On An Empty Stomach?
Working out on an empty stomach, or ‘fasted cardio’, may work for some people, but it isn’t for everyone.
I know that many of the BBG ladies have wondered if intermittent fasting might help them get results faster. For anyone who has tried intermittent fasting, you’ve probably done a cardio workout on an empty stomach, and you might already have an opinion about it!
- What Is Fasted Cardio?
- When To Workout On An Empty Stomach
- Pros & Cons of Fasted Cardio
- How Does Our Body Burn Fat
- Should I Do Fasted Cardio?
To help you to decide if you want to try fasted cardio, here are the pros and cons of working out in a fasted state, and whether fasting can make your cardio more effective.
What is fasted cardio?
Fasted cardio is exercise that you do when your body is in a fasted state. You enter a ‘fasted state’ when your body is no longer processing food, around 3-6 hours after eating.
When you do fasted cardio, you are working out on an empty stomach. Your levels of insulin (the hormone that is produced in the body when you eat) are low or at your baseline level.
When insulin levels are low, there isn’t readily available energy in the form of glucose in your bloodstream.
When you do fasted cardio, your body must rely on stored energy such as glycogen and fat to fuel muscle movement.
Fasted cardio doesn’t just have to be done first thing, it can be done at any time of day when your body is in a fasted state.
When to workout on an empty stomach
For anyone who finds that the best time of day to work out is first thing in the morning, it’s likely that you do your workout before breakfast!
Whether you are doing cardio or weights training, you probably want to know whether working out on an empty stomach can get you faster results or lose fat faster.
Some of us can eat before a workout and feel amazing, whereas others might feel nauseous or uncomfortable when they work out after eating.
Let’s take a look at why you might consider trying fasted cardio.
Pros and cons of fasted workouts
There are both cons and benefits to working out on an empty stomach.
It’s a debate that never seems to get settled: Is it better to exercise in the morning or at night?
The research is certainly mixed. Lara Carlson, Ph.D., associate professor of applied exercise science at the University of New England says that many studies favor the morning. “There’s research that has looked at people engaging in morning versus afternoon exercise, and those who exercise in the morning have lower blood pressure throughout the day and get better sleep,” she says.
That said, other studies show that people may have more power and strength during early evening workouts. A study published in the Journal Of Sports Sciences found that between 4 and 8 p.m. participants’ grip strength, vertical jump, and even reaction time were at their best compared to other times of day.
But when it really comes down to it, the answer is pretty simple: The best time to work out is whenever you can do it.
The busy moms, bosses, and athletes you’ll find here have perfected not only the sweat schedule that works for them, but also the motivation to keep it consistent. They’re not immune to feeling “meh”—they just have some tricks in their back pockets for getting out the door, whether it’s the first or very last thing they do.
1. Just do something.
There are definitely perks from sweating in the a.m. “Morning exercisers tend to have better adherence in the long run,” says Stephen Ball, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of Missouri.. “Life usually doesn’t get in the way as much at this time.”
Starting with a healthy choice can also have a snowball effect throughout the day. Household too hectic to scoot out to the gym in the morning? Set your alarm just 10 or 15 minutes earlier and do a few simple stretches or body-weight moves by your bed.
2. Start before you’re ready.
“People often wait until they’re in the habit of going to bed early before they start waking up for morning workouts,” says Sarah Sellers, nurse anesthetist and runner-up at the 2018 Boston Marathon, who usually trains at 4 a.m. “But they’re never sleepy enough at night to turn in.” So flip the script: Trigger an earlier bedtime by getting up and working out—even if you don’t feel totally rested. The short-term sacrifice will help cement your new routine.
3. Get out ASAP.
“The longer you dillydally after you wake up, the easier it is to talk yourself out of your workout,” says Sellers. She keeps breakfast short and sweet: a graham cracker and a big glass of water. (Full breakfast comes post-run.) Laying out everything you’ll need the night before can help you go from bed to gym in minutes.
4. Make it meaningful.
Ashley Kimmel, a project manager and a Ph.D. student in Philadelphia, runs with Back on My Feet, an organization that combats homelessness through running. The feel-good vibes from volunteering before work give her a boost before the day even starts and keep her from hitting the snooze button over and over…and over again.
5. Buddy up.
Kimmel loves the accountability of a run group to help pull her out of bed in the morning. But you can score it with a long-distance friend too. Share your fitness goals, and ask for help in keeping on track. “My coach and I talk on the phone once or twice a week, and I never want to let him down and say I skipped a workout,” says Sellers.
6. Pencil it in.
Evening exercise can blast stress before bed (hello, happy hour!), but last-minute dinner invites can be an endorphin buzzkill. Michelle Cheng is a regular at 8 p.m. Tone House classes; she books them a week ahead, then lets her friends know. “I set expectations. They don’t ask me to hang out at those times, and I don’t get FOMO.”
7. Adjust mealtime
“When I have late workouts, I tend to shift my lunch later—to around two o’clock or so—and make sure to have a snack, like a granola bar, on me before class,” says Cheng. Another option: Sometimes she’ll grab a takeout dinner and have a small portion of it before the workout, then eat the rest after she finishes her sweat sesh.
8. Use your commute.
Make your workout your method of transportation. That’s how Jennifer Indig, who works at a think tank in New York City, fits in her daily workouts: She runs home from work. “It kills two birds with one stone,” she says. “I get home, and I knock out my exercise at the same time.” (Plus, when you finish, you enjoy the comfort of your own shower!)
9. Aim for less.
Indig sticks to her routine—even when she’s dragging—with a counterintuitive trick: She gives herself the option to go a shorter distance than originally planned. “I’ll tell myself that I can hop on the train if I need to,” she says. “The first couple of miles are always tough, but once I’m in a groove, I’m motivated to keep going.”
10. Wind down
An evening workout can leave you uplifted too. “I’m more likely to keep making healthy choices, like grabbing a can of LaCroix instead of a glass of wine,” says Indig. “It gives me more energy to play with my little ones too.” Use that boost to fuel better rest: Make some tea, do a face mask, foam-roll, or journal.
Kristin Canning Kristin Canning is the associate editor at Women’s Health, where she covers fitness, health, mental health, sex and relationships, nutrition, active travel and wellness entrepreneurs.
There’s A Big Difference Between Working Out In The Morning And At Night
They say the early bird always gets the worm, but in the case of workouts, that isn’t necessarily true.
People always try to pin down the answer to when the best time to work out is, whether it’s at the crack of dawn or after a long workday. But the answer is that there is no right answer.
While research supports both morning and evening workouts, your best bet is to pick a routine that aligns with your long-term fitness goals, as well as something you can stick with. For example, a morning workout requires a nutritious dinner, a more rigorous warmup, and lots of sleep, while evening exercises require you to fuel right throughout the day, and to make sure parties or other social events don’t interfere with your gym date. If you feel like you’d fit into one category more than the other, then that’s most likely the better option for you.
Elite Daily spoke with three experts to understand the differences between working out in the morning and at night: Dominick Gauthier, scientific advisor to ASYSTEM, a subscription-based system of supplements and skincare designed to optimize the human body inside and out; Gideon Akande, personal trainer and Shadowbox Chicago instructor; and Gerren Liles, Hyperwear athlete and Equinox master trainer. All agree that there are benefits to working out in the morning and working out at night, but when it comes to highlighting those differences, it all depends on the individual.
Here are the pros of morning workouts:
1. You get it out of the way in the morning.
After a long workday, sometimes all you want to do is curl up on your couch and watch Netflix. Other times, maybe you’d rather take a nice, warm bath to wash away the stress of the day. And what about those times when you want to partake in an unexpected post-work outing with your colleagues or friends? In any of those instances, a morning workout would be ideal.
“A lot of things in life demand our attention now, such as work, family, and social responsibilities; it’s too easy to deprioritize training as the day picks up,” says Gauthier. “It takes more mental energy to meet the goal of training as distractions mount.”
Akande echoes Gauthier’s sentiments, saying, “Oftentimes, dinner plans/family emergencies/life happens as the day progresses and may derail your opportunity to exercise. Getting in early diminishes the chances of those situations taking hold of your fitness goals.”
2. It can be better for your health.
Your overall health can be improved by an early fitness routine. Akande says that “morning workouts rev up the metabolism and jumpstart your body’s internal furnace to burn stronger all day.”
Liles agrees, noting that “endorphins released from workout can set a positive tone to your day.”
In a previous interview with Elite Daily, personal trainer Erik Bowitz said you don’t have to be strict with your morning workout to make it worth it. According to Bowitz, 30 minutes is a good time to aim for because it “allows an appropriate amount of time to stretch, to warm up, to do 20 minutes of cardio or a workout circuit, and cool down. However, you can increase your heart rate via thermogenisis (aka the production of heat) for up to an hour after a workout, so the actual workout duration can vary greatly depending on intensity.”
3. Your body is prepared.
Sleep is the optimal time for your body to recuperate and recover. That means it repairs used muscles and converts your food into energy (glucose) for the following day. So when you wake up, your body is fresh and prepared for a workout. As long as you slept long and well enough, that is.
Gauthier, who has coached multiple Olympic champions, suggests “listen to your body and don’t be afraid to sleep through the alarm when optimal performance is required or when rest is going to pay off more than training on a particular day. That is not being lazy, it’s being purposeful.”
If you don’t listen to your body and try to “push through,” he warns, “You might feel awake, but you can’t enter an optimal zone for performance if your body is depleted, especially long term.”
Caleb Backe, a personal trainer and health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, previously told Elite Daily that he believes in morning workouts because it affects your mental well-being in a positive way. “As far as the mind-body connection is concerned, some amount of physical activity is almost essential for good mental health,” he said. “Moving your body helps to regulate processes of all kinds, and releases chemicals which help homeostasis and proper maintenance.”
4. And think of the workout classes.
These are arguably the two worst things that could happen when you’re ready to work out at the gym: 1. all the exercise machines are taken, or 2. the classes are full. You’re less likely to run into either of these issues in the mornings.
“Evening classes are often more packed,” Akande says. “Give yourself some room and a better instructor-to-attendee ratio by sweating early.”
Plus, think of the other attendees in your early classes. Liles says, “You’ll be surrounded by like-minded, driven people who can inspire your day.”
5. Early birds are more consistent.
According to Gauthier, consistency is key. “There is no doubt that the morning workouts are the way to go to ensure consistency,” he says. “Training the body and mind for performance is about building positive habits and consistently showing up for your training is the first part of that.”
In a 2007 interview with WebMD, Cedric Bryant, Ph.D, chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego, said, “Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better. The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere.”
In a study titled, “Relationship of Consistency in Timing of Exercise Performance and Exercise Levels Among Successful Weight Loss Maintainers,” led by Dale Bond, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Brown Alpert Medical School, he surveyed 375 adults who had solid exercise routines (minimum two days a week). Nearly half of the group (47.8 percent) worked out in the early morning, while the remaining 52.2 percent exercised in the late morning, afternoon, or evening.
Here are the pros of late afternoon/evening workouts:
1. You’ll have a more relaxed morning.
In addition to sleeping in, you won’t have to rush to pack a gym bag, post-workout snack, lunch, and a change of clothes. Akande says, “Evening workouts allow you to get a proper jumpstart on your morning,” which can include anything from “clearing out your inbox” to “returning phone calls.” Heck, even eating a full breakfast can be on the menu.
You’ll also be able to take your time in the shower, instead of a quick, 30-second scrub at the gym.
2. You’re already fueled and warmed up.
While your body may be refueled in the morning, your body may also be better prepared for a workout later in the day. Think about it: In the morning, your body is nowhere near stretched out because you’ve been laying horizontally for hours; BUT by the time the evening rolls around, you’ve at least somewhat stretched out your limbs by walking around all day.
Moreover, you’re already fueled up since you likely ate lunch, along with some snacks, which is the perfect energy you need for a workout after work. To put it simply, Liles says, “You’re more alert.”
3. It’s a good outlet to blow off steam.
After a long and rough day at the office or class, a light or intense workout can have a big effect on de-stressing when you’re trying to unwind and relax. Gauthier says, “While pushing through the zone of discomfort during intense workouts can take a lot of mental power, it is hugely satisfying and takes your fitness to the next level.”
This can also help you build “the confidence that you can meet the challenges you set for yourself in all areas of life,” he adds.
4. The potential friendships are also a factor.
Though many people think of working out as an individual experience, there are plenty of people who love to experience the social aspect of going to the gym. If you’re a member of the latter group, then after-work exercises may be the way to go for you.
“There’s more potential for the workout to be a social experience,” says Liles, because there are usually more gym-goers in attendance at the end of the day rather than at the start.
5. One word: Hygiene.
In a lot of cases, gyms don’t have a shower, which doesn’t always bode well for people who go to work after exercising. To avoid heading into the office sweaty and/or with bad body odor, Akande suggests “saving your workout for later in the day.”
So pick your optimal time, and get sweating. Whether that’s getting your blood pumping soon after you wake up, or opting for a post-work workout session so you can sleep in a little longer, there’s only one person who knows which routine is the better fit — and that’s you.
Additional reporting by Kaitlin Cubria.
8 Benefits To Working Out In The Morning
Awhile back, a study came out that said your testosterone levels were higher in the morning—as if you needed a study to tell you that. Afterward, I heard and read a lot of talk about how the morning was therefore the best time to work out.
Yet it’s not that simple, because of this little thing called “life.” The fact of the matter is that for most of us, the time we choose to work out corresponds with the time we have available, which explains why most gyms are typically packed after the work hours.
But perhaps we can give you a compelling reason—in fact, eight great reasons—to wake up a little earlier to hit the gym rather than save it for later in your day. Withhold judgment about how you’re not a morning person until you fully absorb all the advantages of morning training.
1. It’s Easier To Follow High-Volume Training Systems
Trying to do a triset or a giant set is all but impossible in a packed gym. This guy over here wants to work in. That girl over there wants to steal your dumbbells. Others cast an evil eye your way for hogging so much equipment. They would have a point—if the gym was crowded.
But it’s not, because you were ready to rise and grind before everyone else. Yep, it’s much easier to complete these types of training programs when the facility is less crowded. That just happens to be in the morning.
2. Your Hormones Are Working To Your Advantage
As mentioned, in the early morning hours, crucial hormones (i.e., testosterone) that help build muscle mass are elevated in the body. By exercising in the morning, you’re taking advantage of these naturally circulating hormones as they’re peaking, rather than later in the day when they’re lower.
3. It Leaves Times For Other Priorities
I may make a living from the gym, but it’s still not my number one priority. Nothing is more important than family. Clearly there’s a trade-off between the amount of time you spend in the gym and the amount of time you can spend at home. Which is why slicing off a small segment, like you can in the morning, is usually better than in the evening, when you have to fight rush hour, navigate a crowded gym environment, get home to shower, and allot whatever’s left for your family. The math simply works better if you get your workout done in the morning.
4. You’ll Be More Focused When You Reach The Office Or School
A bout of exercise increases your focus on the next activity, because your body is aroused. What follows a morning workout? For most people, it’s the office or school. Hence, one of the advantages of working out in the morning is that you’re more alert during those later hours.
What follows a morning workout? For most people, it’s the office or school. Hence, one of the advantages of working out in the morning is that you’re more alert during those later hours.
If you have trouble with early morning energy, a cup of joe or a pre-workout like Grenade’s .50 Caliber will help you boost focus, energy, strength, and endurance—not just in the gym but for many hours afterward.
Grenade .50 Caliber Pre-Workout Supports Explosive Energy, Strength, & Pumps! GO NOW
5. You’ll Be Less Likely To Skip Your Workout
It may take a cup of coffee to get your morning going, but once you’re up, there are few distractions on your way to the gym. But later in the day, any number of distractions can sabotage your workout: less motivation, fatigue, the gang is going out for some drinks, a sick child, an overdue report for work or school.
If you’ve already completed your workout, you can simply roll with whatever obstacles come up later in the evening without feeling bad that you missed another day. You’re far more likely to be consistent with your training if you get it done early in the day rather than waiting for later.
6. Your Metabolic Rate Will Receive A Quick Boost
Without a doubt, exercise can boost your metabolic rate. The degree depends on your current fitness level and the kind of activity you choose. All other things being equal, working out in the morning will help to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories for the rest of the day. This phenomenon is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
To get the greatest post-workout metabolic kick, do cardio activities like high-intensity interval training or bodybuilding-type resistance training with multijoint exercises.
To get the greatest post-workout metabolic kick, do cardio activities like high-intensity interval training or bodybuilding-type resistance training with multijoint exercises. Adding in a thermogenic product such as Grenade Thermo Detonator will give your morning workout added metabolic and fat-burning power.
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7. You Won’t Have As Many Distractions
Chances are pretty good that you train with a number of friends, which makes socializing pretty easy. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s easy for a short gabfest to turn a productive workout into one where you barely break a sweat. If you’re serious about getting results and not wasting your time, you’ll want to spend your gym time with minimal distractions.
You can bet that people who get up in the wee hours are more serious about their workouts. From my personal experience, the chances of someone distracting your workout is much less likely in the morning.
8. Your Mood Will Improve
You’re probably familiar with the notion that some workouts release endorphins, feel-good hormones that are increased following exercise of sufficient intensity and duration. But you don’t have to do hours of cardio to feel good about yourself; heck, you’ve just completed your workout for the day.
Nothing feels better than having a good workout under your belt, especially if you’re prone to blowing them off at night.
Nothing feels better than having a good workout under your belt, especially if you’re prone to blowing them off at night. Which is why there’s no better way to get your day started. You can boost your mood and sense of accomplishment by just be setting your alarm clock for a little earlier.
Rise and Grind
If you don’t train regularly in the morning, you may find that, at first, your performance suffers during anaerobic exercise (like bodybuilding-type training) as compared to late-afternoon workouts. Nevertheless, you can make larger improvements in exercise performance if you make morning training regular; that is, you do it consistently.3 So if you’re new to morning training, be patient but consistent with your a.m. workouts.
Yes it’s tough to get up in the morning, let alone try to complete a good workout. Soon enough, however, with consistency you’ll see your performance skyrocket and you’ll have a slew of good reasons that justify setting that alarm just a little bit earlier. For those of us who are already there bright and early, the secret is out!
For those of you who’ve already discovered the benefits of getting your workout done first thing in the morning, please contribute your own success stories in the comments below.