Do you find it hard to carve out time for exercise each day? Or worse, do you find the exercise you do seemingly ineffective? A shift in your workout timing may be just what you need to help you get fit. People who exercise in the morning are more likely to make it a habit out of it, bringing truly longterm health effects. Not to mention, we have far fewer excuses and scheduling conflicts when we first open our eyes to the day.
We also see an increase in metabolism with early morning exercise, especially when it is done on an empty stomach. When we exercise in a fasting state (or after six-plus hours after eating), our body sees improved insulin resistance. That means our bodies can better process carbohydrates, proteins and fats, using the calories we eat more effectively. There's also an increase in human growth hormone, which directly increases the body's ability to burn fat and build muscle.
So whether you want to silence your post-work excuses or you want to get the most out of your hard work, these five tips will help you wake up ready to seize the day!
1. Be prepared.
The most common excuse to not exercise in the morning is lack of time. But by planning ahead the night before, you'll create space for more free time each morning. The night before a workout, prep for your next full day ahead: make a smoothie that's ready to grab and go for breakfast, pack your lunch and even pull out an outfit. Then, to prepare for your workout, fill your water bottle (or set your coffee machine), and lay out your workout clothes and shoes. Some people even find that sleeping in their workout gear helps them to fight excuses in the morning.
2. Sign up for a class.
Make getting out of bed and walking out the door the hardest part of your workout. By signing up for a class, you put the planning into someone else's hands and all you have to do is show up. Even if you're not fully awake for the morning's class, you're taking the powerful step of creating a habit. The more often you get out that door to your class, the harder you'll push yourself when you're there.
3. Be decisive.
Don't let your 6 AM brain be in charge of your schedule. She's grumpy, lazy and unlikely to support you in active choices. Make a commitment to yourself the night before and, even better, make a commitment to someone else. Pre-register for a class, schedule a walking date with a friend or tell your significant other your intentions. By saying it out loud,or putting money on it, you'll have extra motivation to light that fire under your sleepy butt come daybreak.
4. Create a behavior chain.
When building any new habit, it's helpful to link it to a part of your regular daily routine. That way, each day when you do that regular routine, it'll become a subconscious trigger to also do your new habit. For example, adding some sort of movement into your day each morning after waking up will create a placeholder that'll trigger your mind to think about exercising after waking each morning.
5. Embrace your negativity, then let it go.
To rid yourself of the "screw-it" mentality, you must first get to know it well. Examine the thought process you have around exercise and identify the moment that you usually opt out. Now you have powerful information to work with! It's those opt-out moments that must be removed to create better habits. For example, if you're someone who's always too tired to motivate after work, then starting an early routine will remove your "screw-it" moment. If you're someone who is stressed for time in the morning, then following the planning steps above will take away the morning "screw-it" response.