No one will argue with the fact that as long as you exercise at some point in the day, you’re in pretty good shape. But if you could tailor the time you work out to reap bigger benefits, wouldn’t you? Waking up at the crack of dawn and hopping on a treadmill may not be everyone’s idea of an ideal schedule. Yet there’s a lot to be said for working out first thing in the morning. Here are the top five reasons you should give it a try.
How many times have you planned to work out after work (or running errands or spending time with friends or attending some event)? By the time the day wraps up, you’re too tired and just want to relax—you’ll exercise tomorrow. Being busy can be a valid excuse, once in a while. You can, however, lessen the chances of skipping if you schedule in a gym visit in the morning. People who work out early in the day are much more likely, overall, to stick with their exercise plans. And just think: you’ll have one less thing to check off your to-do list before you can head home and unwind.
Improved daytime metabolism
Did you know that exercising in the morning helps you to burn calories throughout the day? When you exercise in the morning, your metabolism stays elevated, burning calories faster and more efficiently. This benefit is definitely better while you’re awake than while you’re sleeping! Working out early may also help curb food cravings throughout the day. I suggest to my clients to add the supplement CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) to their regimen for extra support in supporting a healthy weight.*
I know for myself (and my clients), starting off the day with a good workout sets the stage for healthier eating the rest of the day. After committing to waking up early and exercising, you don’t want to ruin it by making poor food choices. I also think that we look at food differently after a morning workout. It becomes your fuel for the day—you need to “feed the machine.” Knowing this, it’s easier to plan a day of healthful meals (and prepare, when possible, the night before). Start simply by making a protein shake before bedtime, so it’s ready to grab and go when you head to the gym in the morning.
Not only will an early morning workout help you to feel better physically, getting those endorphins going early in the day may help increase your productivity. Exercise is one of the best contributors to being more productive and focused during the day. It also helps promote clear thinking, enhanced alertness, increased energy and reduced stress levels (we love that!). Those feel-good compounds released early on can last well into the afternoon!
Better night’s sleep
Forget about sleep aids! Get in an early workout and your quality of sleep may improve. Whereas working out at night may keep you tossing and turning before you finally relax and fall asleep, daytime workouts promote better rest at night. Think about it. That early workout gave you the boost you needed to feel energized all day. So by the time you’re ready to sleep—you’re really ready to sleep. The solid rest means you’ll be ready to start fresh and alert in the morning. Time for another workout!