Every day is a new day and a chance to start fresh. Working out in the morning is the best way to ensure the day starts on a good note. It kick starts your metabolism. It gets the positive endorphins flowing. It sets the tone for the entire day.
As I write this, we are in the middle of a blizzard in MN. It snowed 10 inches through the night and has continued on today. We’re slated to get another 6-8 inches. Still, I woke up and ran outside this morning.
Did I want to leave my warm bed to run in the cold snow? Heck no.
But have I been more productive today because I exercised? Definitely.
How many times have you missed a workout because life got in the way? It’s happened to me plenty. But by getting up and crossing it off the list leaves nothing to chance. It’s over and done, and when the craziness of life rears its ugly head, a workout doesn’t have 2B cancelled because of it.
Above and beyond this, there are many other positive benefits to working out in the morning. I’ll name my top three:
Increased Metabolic Rate
Exercise stokes your metabolism. It’s like putting more wood on a fire. The fire burns hotter; the fire burns longer.
Overall, in general, strength workouts will have a greater impact on your metabolism than cardiovascular workouts, but the overall increase in your metabolism will also be influenced by duration, intensity, type of activity, age, sex, fitness level, body composition, resting metabolic rate and previous training. A blend of both strength training and cardiovascular exercise is good for various reasons and the sake of variety.
Another benefit that most people don’t realize about exercise is called EPOC – which stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. In simple terms, your body doesn’t just burn calories while you’re working out; it burns calories after exercise as well. In fact, your metabolism can be elevated anywhere from 2 to 15 hours after you exercise! So, if you exercise from 6:00-7:00am it’s possible to have an elevated metabolism for your entire day…how nice is that!
Going into workout specifics is outside the scope of this eBook (stay tuned for future publications), but general recommendations are:
- Strength training with large muscle groups (legs, back, chest) will burn more calories than small muscle groups (biceps, triceps, abs)
- Complex movements (running, elliptical, speed walking) will burn more calories than simple movements (upright bike, recumbent bike)
- Weight bearing exercise (something where you have to support your own body weight – standing up) will burn more calories than non-weight bearing exercise (sitting down, lying down)
If you follow these basic principles, you’ll have a greater increase on your metabolism for the time spent exercising.
Improved Learning and Information Processing
Want to improve your brain? Then improve your body! Move!
When we move, we learn. When we don’t move, our brain, along with the rest of our body, turns off.
So, if we have something in our day that requires memory, thinking, attention or learning, the best possible thing we can do is to exercise in the morning.
Now, you may be thinking, “My memory and learning are great and I never exercise in the morning.” Kudos to you – you’re in the extreme minority. Still, I wonder how much better your brain could be functioning if you exercised in the morning? The research doesn’t lie.
And that’s what this ebook is all about; growth and development, and finding ways to improve.
This idea centers around the level of productivity we have during the day. Speaking from experience, there is no worse feeling than going to bed at night and wishing I could have been, or should have been, more productive with my time and energy.
And when I look at my days that are the most productive, there is a direct correlation between starting my day off with a good dose of exercise and my personal productivity. I tend to think this stems from feeling better about myself, feeling like I’ve already accomplished something, and feeling like I’ve beaten the world to the punch.
It’s a great feeling – while everyone else is sleeping, we’re awake and making ourselves better. Isn’t this what separates the extraordinary from the ordinary – having the discipline and consistency to do the simple things that produce big results?
To conclude, I’m not saying to get up and work out every morning. “Sleeping in” (I use this term loosely) is a beautifully restorative thing. I sleep in a minimum of once a week. No alarm clock whatsoever. But, in general, and especially if we have something important to do, we should always work out…almost without exception. It’s the best way to ensure we’ll be at our best.
Take Home Points
1) I understand it’s difficult to work out in the morning if you’re not a “morning person.” But believe me, I’m the furthest thing from a morning person. Give it a chance. Don’t try it for one week – if you’re not used to it there’s always going to an adjustment period. Give it an honest chance. Your action plan is to workout 3-5 days/week in the morning for 3 weeks. If you don’t feel noticeably more productive on the days you exercise in the morning, you’re free to go back to your previous routine. I’m hoping after 3 weeks you’ll be converted J.
2) If you’re someone that already works out regularly at lunch or in the evening, how many workouts are missed because life gets in the way? Is there a pattern to when this happens? Is there a way you could vary your routine slightly (even if you function better at night) to miss less workouts? It may be something to consider to make you more effective.