You’re busy! Busy! BUSY! We get it, and understand your frustration. You want to lose weight, look toned, think clearer and feel energized, but where on earth are you going to find the time amidst meetings, emails, travel, commitments and so on? Given you don’t get fit and healthy miraculously by sitting at your desk, finding a time to fit in your exercise is imperative. So, when is the best time to exercise? And why and how you can make it happen? Drum roll please… all you night owls who think morning people are completely bizarre creatures it’s time for a reality check … more drum roll please … the best time to exercise is first thing in the MORNING!
6 Reasons why mornings are the best time to exercise
1. No interruptions = it happens
Training in the morning is the best time of the day to train because it is your best chance of making sure you actually do it. There is less chance of ‘things’ getting in the way and de-railing your workout as compared to exercising during the day, at work, or at night. No meetings that go longer than expected; no excuses of lack lustre energy; no unexpected and urgent matters. As the day diminishes, you literally run out of time! By completing a workout first thing in the morning you improve your chances of establishing a regular habit of exercise. Even if you achieve nothing else for the rest of the day, you’ll still feel a sense of accomplishment!
2. Jumpstart your metabolism = Burn fat to start the day and burn more total calories
When you exercise in the morning you effectively jumpstart your metabolism which helps it to stay elevated for longer, thereby helping you burn more calories throughout the day (even after your workout is finished). Additionally, some research goes one step further and suggests that the morning is the best time to exercise for optimal fat loss. “The body has effectively run out of carbohydrates or sugars for fuel and it switches to burning fats instead. One way that it does this is by releasing a substance that ‘turns on’ the fat cells to release their fats.” (Associate Professor Boutcher, from School of Medical Sciences, University of NSW)
3. Healthy breakfast = Better eating habits
When you workout in the morning, you’re more likely to then fuel yourself afterwards with a healthy breakfast. After all, who feels like doing a workout and then destroying all that good work by eating unhealthy, processed, junk food? Furthermore, there has been extensive research linking people who eat a nutritious breakfast with improved food choices overall, thereby reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes. Here’s a suggestion from the Active8me app of a healthy breakfast. Try the Green eggs with Feta, served with wholegrain toast. Less than 15 min to prep and cook and super yummy (not to mention only 205 calories, so great for your waistline).
4. Feel energized with more zest for life = get more done
Some days feel like they fly by without achieving much and others you feel like wonder woman, completely on top of it all. Do you notice a pattern with one type of day compared to the other? The answer could be your morning routine. Studies show that those who exercise in the morning achieve more throughout the day. Research published in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics suggests that regular exercise can combat feelings of low energy and fatigue. Keeping that first promise of the day to exercise will reward you with improved energy, meaning you’re able to achieve more.
5. Better sleep and less stress = better for weight loss
The struggle to resist pressing the snooze button is real, especially if you haven’t been getting adequate sleep. The good news is, incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is beneficial for improving sleep patterns. A big reason that mornings are the best time to exercise is they ensure you fit in your workout before the pressures of work, family and social commitments make you feel like you are forced to choose one over the other. This alone reduces stress and anxiety. While research has linked the benefits of exercise to improving sleep, it is important to note the effects of lack of sleep. A study in Sleep journal found those who don’t get adequate sleep eat up to 500 calories more over the course of the day. A lack of sleep and stress (which often go hand in hand) can mess with your appetite hormones and increase levels of cortisol, causing your body to store fat. A workout in the morning can keep you from sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
6. Better mood = you will find more smiles!
Regular exercise is nature’s mood enhancer. A morning workout is the best time to exercise for literally setting up your day with good vibes. When you begin a workout your heart rate rises, which triggers hormones that get your body ready for a ‘fight or flight’ response. The brain then releases numerous chemicals that effectively respond to environmental threats (yes, exercise is sometimes scary), which numb pain, facilitate peak performance and eventually create feelings of well-being. The good news is, these chemicals are addictive. Experts suggest following the same routine of exercise enhances this happiness effect, so morning workouts could be your answer to fighting the grumpy you!
How to make the best time to exercise (the MORNING) actually happen:
✓ Avoid the snooze button. Set your alarm, then place it far enough away from your bed so you must get up to turn it off! (Some people even put their alarm in the next room which forces me to get up to turn it off and by then I’m up).
✓ Get both your workout gear and work clothes pressed and prepped, so you can make a quick transition from bed to workout to work!
✓ Schedule exactly where you are going to exercise, plus include a back-up plan. Don’t let weather, transport or opening hours ruin your momentum. Active8me offers workouts that can be used anywhere! Are you going to exercise in the park? Use a gym? Pound the pavement? Or set up in your living room?
✓ Choose the workout that works best for you. This may sound obvious, but when you are first getting into a routine of morning exercise, it’s best to choose a workout that you look forward to doing or something that you know is guaranteed to pep you up for the day ahead. Try this heart pumping chair workout from Active8me!
✓ Commit to meeting a workout buddy and better still, pump up your competitive spirit by entering a challenge with them. You’ll find you ensure you make time for that early exercise.
✓ Choose something over nothing. Even if you hit the snooze button, you can still utilise the snippet of time you have left. If you didn’t make the morning workout, schedule it in for later in the day, the same way you would for a medical appointment.
✓ Multi-task! Listen to audiobooks or podcasts while you go for an early run or do your stretching or weights workout. You’ll soon find that your best time to exercise your body becomes the best time to exercise your brain.
So, make yourself a promise (and keep it), give morning exercise a try for at least 3 weeks and see how fantastic you feel. Active8me was created to meet the needs of your busy lifestyle, so you can access workouts whenever and wherever you are – including the morning. There’s no excuses. If the truth be known a few of us at Active8me are not a morning people, but trust us, you’ll thank us if you get into a good habit of exercising in the morning! The reasons are there, but now it is just up to you taking some action!