WAIT. Before you look at the title and scoff as you page through the rest of the newspaper, just give me a shot here. Now look, we all know we should exercise and we all know why. Exercise boosts mood, prevents disease, strengthens your muscles, improves respiratory function, and the list continues. Morning workouts are especially beneficial and add an entire new perspective to exercise. The following are five reasons why you should start hittin’ the gym in the A.M.
1) Nobody Else Wants To
If you can get yourself to the gym before about 10:00a.m., chances are you’ll be one of the only ones there. There aren’t many things more frustrating than having to wait for a bench press for six years when its your last exercise to do on your busiest day of the week. Working out in the morning can easily cut your workout time in half.
2) It Wakes You up and Boosts Your Mood
Trying to cut back on your daily cup of joe? Exercise releases “fight-or-flight” hormones and neurotransmitters that keep us awake and alert. Evolutionarily speaking, these chemicals, such as adrenalin, are pumped through the blood to assist with needs associated with defending yourself. Exercise, particularly high intensity cardio or heavy weight lifting, also releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller neurotransmitters. Endorphins, which are similar in structure to many medical-grade painkillers, are meant to ease the pain of muscle repair. Expect to feel pumped and happy after a morning sweat session.
3) Use Hormones to Your Advantage
Like mentioned above, exercising in the morning will allow you to naturally take advantage of your body’s own hormones. Many hormones pertaining to muscle growth and repair, such as testosterone, are at their peak in the first hours of your day. So, working out in the morning will take advantage of these hormones and will make your workout that much more efficient.
4) Free Up Your Schedule
For me, one of my favorite things about working out early is once you’re done, you’re done. I am usually done lifting before 10:00a.m. each day, which frees up my schedule for later in the day. This makes it much less likely you will skip a workout. Not only is that great in itself, but there’s just something about knowing that the workout is done for the day that keeps my mood uplifted throughout the day.
5) Boost your Metabolism
If your goal is fat loss, you may have heard the term “post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.” For all intensive purposes, it basically means that after exercise, EPOC occurs, which raises your body’s oxygen consumption thus also raising your metabolism throughout the day. This means you burn more calories just sitting doing nothing! To get the most out of this phenomenon, it’s best to do some sort of high-intensity cardio.
If you need more convincing or just don’t consider yourself a “morning person,” I’ve been there and done that. In fact, I’m likely the least of a morning person you’d ever meet. So, if you’re in my boat, try this. Buy 100mg caffeine tablets. These tablets are equivalent to about an 8oz cup of coffee, and are very inexpensive, at about 120 tablets for less than $10. Set two alarms in the morning: one for when you want to wake up and one for an hour beforehand. For example, if you want to wake up at 8:00a.m., set an alarm for 7:00a.m. and another one for 8:00a.m. When the first alarm goes off, quickly take your caffeine tablet and go back to sleep. Within 30-60 minutes, you should feel awake and alert, all without the grogginess and unpleasant feeling of waking yourself up. Only use this trick if you’re a true morning Scrooge though, because one of the best things about working out in the morning is the energy it gives you!
So go ahead! Get yourself up and to the gym early tomorrow, I promise you’ll notice the difference.