Ever wondered why athletes often make sure they get in an early morning workout or training session? Let me assure you – it’s not only to get it out of the way for the day, or because we are all happy morning people! There is always a method behind the madness when it comes to sports training.
As an athlete my reason was simple, I knew that an early morning workout would positively affect my performance and attitude. Getting up early requires discipline and athletes with discipline are successful. After adjusting to the initial shock of opening my eyes before the sun was up and getting used to the routine, I realized that I performed better early in the morning. My training stats confirmed my hunch – when I was a professional sprinter I achieved more during my early morning training sessions.
Scientifically it makes sense that our body is more efficient after a good rest and, as most people get their largest dose of rest and recovery at night, the morning is a time when your body is firing on all cylinders. You may also find you are more focused early in the morning before you face the challenges of your day-to-day task list. As a competitor, I also wanted to train my body to be ready if I ever had an early race. We talked about why competitions can help with personal fitness a few weeks ago and it’s important to prepare your body if you want to win a race that starts at the crack of dawn.
While you may not be preparing for your next race, there are good reasons for setting your alarm early and jump-starting your day with a positive jolt. I love to take athletic principles and use them in the fitness world and this idea can make a huge difference as you work towards your fat loss and fitness goals.
Five early morning workout tips to help you get up & get going
An early morning workout will free up the rest of your day and allow you to focus on the things you need to achieve. I find that the clear mind I get from jogging gives me the peace and quiet I need to plan my day and to make sure nothing is forgotten. Try using part of your exercise time to decide how you will spend your day so that you can make the most of your time.
We all have good intentions and I hear from so many people who say they always PLAN to workout but, over the course of each day, their time just fills up and they don’t prioritize exercise over the hundreds of other things they need to do.
How many times have your good fitness intentions gone to waste because your day became hectic, leaving you with no time or energy to take care of your body? By getting up early and starting your day with a workout, your plans can’t be derailed.
Improve your mood with a natural rush of healthy hormones. Exercise promotes the release of happy endorphins in your body. Starting your day with an early morning workout will generate a happy, positive feeling that will impact your own life and the lives of people you come into contact with all day long.
Success and the feeling of achievement will help you to build confidence. There are few better feelings than accomplishing a goal, both in sports and in life. By setting good habits and working out early, you are achieving a goal of being active. Confidence is a terrific byproduct that comes from determination and success.
Morning workouts can help you to burn extra fat throughout the day. By kick-starting your day with exercise, you are also boosting your metabolism and forcing your body to use energy to re-generate during the day. Exercise can improve your resting metabolic rate, which can make your body more efficient at burning calories.
Not swayed by my five reasons to exercise early? Well, as I always say: some exercise is better than no exercise and, really, whatever time of day you can squeeze in a workout is fine. Just so long as you do squeeze in the time to be active in some way every day!
I know there are a multitude of reasons why an early morning workout may not be for you. My hope is that this list will help you avoid the common mistake of deprioritizing exercise as I believe feeling fit will bring a heap of benefits into your life. Many people tell me that they feel a sense of guilt if they don’t start their day with activity or if they, once again, fail to fit in an after-work workout. I also find that starting your day positively by taking care of your body can boost your performance in other areas of life. By making your workout one of the first things you do each day, you side step the risk of exercise becoming a chore that you can keep delaying as other activities take precedence.
Exercise at any time of day can provide your mind and body with a life-changing boost. Just make an effort to be consistent and don’t let excuses stop you from being the best you can be.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.