Awake, Fit and Happy? Kick-start Your Day with Morning Workout
Don’t feel like running or pumping iron after a long day at work? Usually it’s actually much easier to fit a morning workout routine into your daily schedule. Endurance and weight training activate your body and mind. Many of us are able to start the day fit and invigorated thanks to our morning exercise. The catch: You will have to pop out of bed earlier. Fortunately, for the most part that’s simply a matter of training – just like the rest of your routine.
Why a Morning Workout?
The fitness centre is deserted and clean, the machines are all up for grabs. What’s more, you get to benefit your fitness and health first thing in the morning. At this early hour, your training allows you to acutely feel your muscles at work, as you make them supple and activate their flexibility. You decide on the duration and level of intensity of your morning workout, which will probably depend on how much time you have and what your training level and goals are. After your training, that’s already one thing to tick off your to-do list: done! You have met your quota for the day – at least in that department. Getting your fitness routine in during the morning frees up more time for the rest of your day. If you work out in the evenings, this usually cuts into your quality time with family and friends or your hobbies. That’s the biggest reason to opt for morning exercise – and it’s a good one!
Reasons Not to Start Your Morning with Exercise
There really aren’t many arguments against working out in the morning. Perhaps the rhythm of your day and your preferences might lead you to decide against an early bird workout. Do you meet up with people in the gym or go running together in the evenings? Perfect! Then you’re already combining your training with your social life, so you won’t miss out. Is it torture to drag yourself out of bed in the mornings, but do you feel fit and capable in the evenings? Then a morning workout might not be your cup of tea. Of course, it is largely a matter of practice – at least in part. The more often you see your morning exercise through, the more natural it will feel to you and the less effort it will take you next time round.
Whether morning workouts suit you depends on your inner clock, your habits and your individual sleep-wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). The latter is partly genetically determined; in darkness, the body releases the hormone melatonin, which is known for causing sleepiness. If a morning workout simply does not match your rhythm, do not force yourself. However, one try can certainly not hurt. Why not give it a shot for three weeks and consider it a challenge!
Morning Workouts and Breakfasts: Do They Mesh?
Yes and no. Naturally, nutrition – or rather the timing of nutrition – is also an important aspect to consider with respect to your morning workout. Not everyone can or wants to eat something first thing in the morning. If you exercise on an empty stomach, you will probably not be at your maximum performance capacity, but you can still enjoy an effective training. The keyword here is: ‘fat metabolism training’. Through specifically selected, easy to moderate training sessions on low carbohydrate reserves you achieve adjustments in the body that promote endurance and optimise your fat metabolism.
If you do not wish to skip breakfast, you should just eat something small before your training, in case you wake up hungry. A banana or an energy bar will probably be enough. As soon as you start your morning exercise, you will notice your appetite fade into the background. Your workout will stimulate protein absorption, which means that it is best to enjoy a high-protein breakfast after your training session.
How to Become an Early Riser?
Plain and simple: not everyone is a morning person. So the goal is not to have tears of joy stream down your cheeks as soon as your alarm clock sounds. However, with some planning and routine building, it will become easier to get out of bed and make it a habit. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, before incorporating fitness into your morning routine. Getting up early can already take some effort by itself. So it’s better not to start your first early morning after having had a short night. When you don’t feel up to it, your workout will soon seem like torture and the positive effects will fail to manifest. If necessary, morning exercise also means hitting the hay earlier the night before.
To save time in the mornings and start your day relaxed, you can lay out your sports outfit before going to sleep. To get motivated it can help to have a training partner start with you; someone who has the same goal, so you can push each other and help each other stick to your morning programmes. But remember: an overly ambitious programme will soon feel like a chore instead of a pleasure and might weaken your resolve to be an early riser. So, don’t overdo it! You do not need to be at