It’s time to stop hitting the snooze button and get out of bed for an early morning workout routine. Read on for 13 reasons that should provide you with some motivation.
13 Morning Workout Benefits That Should Inspire You to Make It into a Habit
Wake Up and Workout!
How much of a fan am I of morning workout routines? So it’s 10 p.m. on a Sunday night.
While most of my friends are settled down in front of the TV trying not to think about the impending doom that is Monday morning, I am putting on my pajamas and setting my alarm for 5:00 a.m.
With a smoothie ready in the fridge and leggings and towel by the front door, I wonder if I am absolutely mad.
No, I’m not getting an early morning flight to an exotic country. I have made the conscious decision to attend a pre-work yoga class.
My sleep is definitely less than peaceful. I’m tossing and turning constantly.
I am wondering if it’s 5:00 a.m. yet, or whether I should actually just turn off the alarm. Then the music starts playing—it’s now officially 5:00 a.m.
Pulling myself out of my dreams is the hardest part. But once I get into the kitchen, glug some water, and rapidly dress up, I have adrenaline coursing through my veins.
There’s no stopping me as I sprint through the rain to my car.
It’s still dark. All the normal people in the world are fast asleep.
Why am I doing this?
As I walk into the studio, I beam at everyone, feeling like I’m a part of some special undercover exercise society.
“Good morning! Guess I’m not the only one mad enough to be up at this hour!”
I received a couple of smiles, but everyone else seems to be dreaming.
(Although the receptionist was smiling, I know she was thinking it’s all our fault she had to drag herself out of bed!)
And then it begins. The stretches, followed by the immense sweat of a hot yoga class.
Why on earth am I here? I am going to die!
I get told off for sipping my water when other people are obediently in their postures. Oops.
Oh, the pain, oh, the lack of balance. Oh, the humility!
What felt like an eternity later, I’m lying on my mat being dismissed from the class. It’s 6:30 a.m.
Wait, I did it! I actually did it!
The pride and smugness start to prevail. I merrily skip out of the room to rush off to work.
Why Early Morning Workouts Are Fitness Goals
As the day continues, I weigh up all the benefits of an early morning workout:
1. Massive Sense of Accomplishment
Before the day has even really begun, a workout has been completed. It’s not just sleep, eat, and work anymore.
There’s another added dimension to be proud of. Ohhhh, it feels so good!
2. Increased Productivity
Starting with such a positive rush of good vibes sets everything else up for the day. It gets things going in the right direction, and the brain has woken up!
3. No More Guilt
So many days can go by where I feel guilty about not having done exercise, or I know I’m going to be too tired to do anything when I get home.
But exercising in the morning completely eliminates that. Before you can even have the slightest thoughts of incapacity, you’re right there in the thick of it!
Tackle the problem before your mind is too awake to convince you otherwise!
4. Metabolism Is Boosted
Working out boosts the metabolism and continues for hours afterward. By going first thing in the morning, calories are being burned throughout the day when eating rather than just when I’m snoring away in bed!
5. More Time Later to Do Whatever
Places to go, people to see—there’s never enough time to do it all...until now! You exercise when others are sleeping, do the daytime job stuff, and then have all the time in the evening to do whatever else you want without having to schedule fitness time!
6. Better Diet
By setting off on the right foot first thing in the morning, it’s usually instinctive to put good food in afterward.
Immediately getting into the mindset of health is likely to change how you view food for the rest of the day. It’s a great kick-starter!
This one applies especially to practices like yoga. If you pay attention when you’re moving your body, you become mindful of it.
The subsequent behavior, emotions, and thoughts follow. This awareness so early on in the day can bring many benefits as acting with awareness is the best thing anyone can ever do!
8. Endorphins Are Released
Endorphins are basically happy chemicals that get released in the brain when we do things like exercise.
Getting these going at six in the morning means I eliminated that grumpy morning feeling. I didn’t dread going to work and could spread happy cheer wherever I went!
9. Quiet Time
Early morning is a seriously quiet time of the day. If you’re working out at 6:00 a.m., it’s unlikely that anything (including your own brain) will bombard you.
No mental to-do lists have woken up yet. You’re pretty much exercising on borrowed time, and there’s a general sense of peace that surrounds the morning!
Yes, that’s right. Sexiness.
Walking back to the apartment with a towel slung over your shoulder and skin-tight gym wear glistening with perspiration, you are telling the world you are motivated, fit, and you work out. And that, my friends, is sexy.
11. Good Sleep
Do you end up always hitting your alarm clock in the morning? An early morning exercise routine may help you with that one.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), a morning workout can boost the quality and quantity of your sleep. To be specific, it helps you reset your circadian rhythm, or body clock.
Exercising in the morning can slightly increase your body temperature, so you’ll have plenty of energy and stamina during the day. As the hours pass, you’ll find your temperature dropping to encourage a good night’s sleep.
12. Stress Relief
One of the benefits of working out in the morning is it kicks stress out of the way at least for the day. It empowers you to soak up the sunshine and nature, which studies show are good for your mental health.
In addition, a morning workout helps you fall asleep earlier in the evening. By the morning, you will feel refreshed and relaxed—ready to conquer the day!
13. Weight Loss
Sure, a morning workout such as cardio can boost your blood pressure and heart rate, but you need these to keep yourself awake and burn calories.
Whether you’re doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or yoga, your morning workout counts toward a healthier and leaner body.
RELATED: The Relaxed Workout
Maximize the Benefits of a Morning Workout with These Tips
There are so many benefits of morning exercise, but you won’t be able to make the most out of them without one thing: consistency.
Consistency is easier said than done, so to help you stay on the right path, I have some excellent tips on working out in the morning:
1. Prep Yourself for Gym Time
As they say, out of sight, out of mind. Do what I usually do before I fall asleep: I prep the things I need for my morning workout.
If you have scheduled gym time, place your gym clothes inside your gym bag and place it near your main door. You can even put your car keys in it to make sure you have no excuse.
Don’t forget your Blender Bottle, too, if you want to bring along your protein shakes anywhere with you.
2. Find a Friend
Admit it, there’s nothing fun about working out after waking up. I sure would want a few more minutes doing nothing.
If you want to stick to your goal, however, you can try working out first thing in the morning with a workout buddy. It can be a neighbor, work colleague, your teenager, parents, or spouse.
It doesn’t matter—find someone who has the same interests and similar goals as you. You can even rally the entire community to join you!
If you can’t find any, then consider investing in a personal trainer. This expert comes in handy when you’re overwhelmed with a lot of ideas on how to do a morning workout.
A personal trainer can draft a customized workout plan according to your needs and goals. You’ll have a mentor every step of the way, and, who knows, they can be a friend, too.
3. Complement Your Morning Workout with the Right Meal
Working out early in the morning goes down the drain if you don’t eat right throughout the day. Your nutritional needs depend on many things, but here are a few ideas:
- For your morning routine, eat good sources of carbs, fats, and protein for breakfast. Some examples are sandwiches made from gluten-free whole wheat bread and peanut butter (or nut butter).
- Eat healthy snacks in between meals, such as Greek yogurt, Sol Good Protein Bars, nuts, and seeds.
- Take a plant-based protein shake such as Sunwarrior Classic Protein as your pre- or post-workout meals.
- Choose the best sources for protein and avoid processed food as much as possible.
- Make your meals ahead of time.
- Consider meal replacements such as Sunwarrior Illumin8 for weight loss.
4. Increase Your Physical Activity Throughout the Day
Another way to maximize the benefits of working out in the morning is to increase your level of physical activity. Skip the elevators if your office is only within the first three floors!
If you live in a place with excellent mass transport, leave your car and commute. Take a walk around the block after lunch to avoid the urge to nap in the afternoon.
Remember, every bead of sweat counts toward your fitness goals. If you can do it physically, then by all means, do it.
5. Vary Your Morning Workout
If you’re having a hard time keeping up with your morning workout, it can be because you’re already getting bored. Same old, same old, they say.
The good news is you can vary your workout in the morning in different ways. For example:
- Schedule cardio, resistance training, and weight training on different days. Usually, cardio is best daily while others may be good for three times a week.
- Move the rest of your body. Choose exercises that also deal with your knees, legs, shoulders, arms, and abdominals.
- Modify your exercises. Instead of jumping jacks, go for skipping rope.
- Explore other forms of exercises such as HIIT, Pilates exercises, and even tai chi.
- Do you like to run? Change your starting position from time to time.
What is tai chi? It is a gentle form of Chinese martial arts that focuses on slow, focused movements and breathing.
Watch Dr. Weston as he explains the benefits of stretching in this video from Sunwarrior:
A sustained morning workout can spare you from a myriad of health issues, including obesity and depression. This makes it worth the trouble every single day.
It’s not going to be an easy journey, but with these tips on consistency, you can do it!
What are your suggestions on how to work out in the morning? Share your tips in the comments section below!
- “Anywhere” Workout: 30-Minute Full-Body Workout
- A Simple Total Body Workout In The Comfort Of Your Home
- The Hero’s Journey: A Perspective That Can Change Your Life For Good
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 9, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.