Tag Archives: morning workout

Get Motivated for a Morning Workout

5 May

I’m a morning workout person (actually, I’m a morning person, period). Training in the morning sets the tone for the rest of my day, and ensures that my workout will get done.

Although the benefits of morning workouts are well documented, I don’t necessarily think training in the morning is the best, right, or only way to workout, but it works for me.

Lots of my customers ask me about the “best” time to workout, and my answer is always the same: The best time to train is the time the workout will actually get done.  It’s also helpful to factor in training goals, availability, other commitments and obligations, etc.

From our friends at ASD Performance comes a nice resource titled, 10 Ways to Get Motivated for a Morning Workout.

Ever notice that when you exercise in the morning, you feel more alert and productive all day? It’s no coincidence — a morning workout has several advantages for your body and your mind. First, exercise jump-starts your metabolism, and keeps you burning calories at a higher rate all day. Also, you get your exercise out of the way and don’t have to worry about not having time for your workout routine, should something unexpected come up during the day.

One recent study found that exercise before breakfast can counter the ill effects of overeating. The researchers compared groups of active young men who ran or biked before breakfast with those who didn’t exercise and with those who exercised after eating big meals. Only the group that exercised before eating gained little or no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. Science aside, if you find getting up and exercising in the a.m. is easier said than done, try these 10 tricks.

1. MOVE YOUR ALARM CLOCK

Instead of sleeping with the alarm next to your bed, move it to the other side of the room. That way, you’ll have to get up and get out of bed to shut it off. Once you’re up, it’s that much easier to stretch, put your workout clothes, and head out the door for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or to the gym for a morning workout. If you use an alarm that plays music, set it to a song from your workout playlist to help get you in the mood for exercise.

2. MAKE A DATE

Having a workout buddy is a great motivator. Make plans to meet your exercise partner at the gym at 6 a.m. or on the tennis courts at 7 a.m. You’re less likely to poop out if you know someone is waiting for you. Just make sure you choose a workout buddy that is as motivated, if not more motivated than you!.

3. MAKE FRIENDS AT THE GYM

If you don’t have an exercise buddy yet, chances are you will make one after a few weeks of sticking to a morning workout routine at your gym. You’ll become familiar with the regulars who also exercise there that time of day. It does inspire you to get up and move because you know they’re there and will wonder where you are if you miss a day or two, It’s a social factor that can help motivate you in the morning.

4. HAVE A SET GOAL

Every Sunday night, create your workout schedule for the coming week. Tell yourself, for example, “This week, I’m getting up at 6 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and running three miles before work.” Schedule your morning workout just as you would an appointment. You’re more likely to follow your morning workout routine if you write it down. If you don’t make it, write a note in your calendar to explain why. Later, you can analyze your exercise excuses and look for ways to overcome them.

5. LOAD WORKOUT MUSIC ONTO YOUR IPOD

Music is a good motivator in the morning, If you have a great playlist, it can be enough to get you out of bed in the morning. Research has shown that listening to music when you exercise can produce positive thoughts and help offset fatigue.

6. PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE

To follow through on a morning workout routine, it helps to lay out your exercise clothes and equipment the night before. That way you don’t waste any time getting dressed and ready for your workout. One possible disadvantage of exercise in the morning is that your time may be limited — overcome this limitation by having a set routine and not wasting time looking for your sneakers or your weights.

7. REWARD YOUR EFFORTS

If you meet your exercise goals and get up early four out of five days to work out for an hour, do something nice for yourself at the end of the week, like getting a manicure, seeing a new movie with a friend, or going to a baseball game. Buy a new workout outfit, take a well-deserved soak, or cozy up to your eReader — find what motivates you, and use it to give you that push out of bed each morning for your workout routine.

8. TELL THE WORLD ABOUT YOUR PLANS

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, you can tell everyone you know about your morning workout routine. Post your exercise plans on Facebook. Once you do so, it’s harder not to follow through with it. You also can use social media to boast of your accomplishments — tell your friends that you swam 16 laps (about a mile) or ran three miles before work. They surely will be impressed, and it will motivate you to keep up your workout schedule.

9. TOO SLEEPY? GIVE IT TIME

At first it may be difficult not to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, rather than jump out of bed to exercise at the gym or go on a 30-minute walk. But after about a week or two, your body will adjust to your early workout schedule and it will be easier to get up and out of the house and head for the gym. Here’s why: When you exercise regularly, you sleep better at night. When you sleep better at night, waking up to exercise is easier to do.

10. LOOK FORWARD TO A BETTER BREAKFAST

You may want to eat something quick, like a protein shake or a handful of almonds, to give you a boost of energy before your workout routine. Then after you cool down, have your real breakfast — and make it special as a reward for your efforts. But don’t sabotage your exercise efforts by eating a high-fat muffin or fried eggs and bacon. If you promise yourself a healthy, satisfying breakfast, such as eggs with veggies or oatmeal with fruit and nuts, when you get back, that will motivate you as well.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Morning vs. Evening Workouts

1 Feb

10-Reasons-why-Working-Out-in-the-Morning-Makes-You-Close-to-Divine-MainPhoto[1]Here’s a recent article from our friends at ASD Performance that lists advantages/benefits of working out in the morning and evening.

ADVANTAGES TO WORKING OUT IN THE MORNING

1. Consistency. Generally speaking, it is easier for an individual to stay on track with a fitness regime first thing in the morning because there is less time for family, evening plans, commuting, late nights in the office, and other distractions to get in the way. Fatigue from a long day can also lead to skipped evening workouts.

2. You might actually want to eat healthy afterward. As you started the day on such a good foot that the salad bar at the cafeteria might start to seem appealing!

3. Boost your metabolic rate. Regular exercise can boost your metabolic rate. Working out in the morning will help to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the rest of the day.

4. Avoiding the crowds. Fitness centers see the most traffic between 5 and 8 p.m., making it difficult to get the machine or group fitness class you really want. Morning sessions are an obvious choice if avoiding crowds is high on your list of priorities.

5. Sleep. Knowing you have committed to an a.m. sweat session may be the motivation you need to hit the sack sooner, so those extra-early mornings may actually result in more sleep at night. Getting enough sleep is of utmost importance when it comes to weight loss. Research has shown that people crave unhealthy food when they are sleep-deprived because levels of leptin, a hormone that tells your brain that you are full, drops by 18 percent while levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, increases 28 percent. Lack of sleep also raises the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to overeating as well.

ADVANTAGES TO WORKING OUT IN THE EVENING

1. You can be more social. Morning exercisers aren’t exactly a chatty bunch, understandably. They’re on a mission to complete this A.M sweat session before class or an early meeting, there’s no time for chit chat. But evening exercisers often make the gym their sole evening plan, so they’ve got the time to be social. The increased social factor makes it easier to find workout buddies and weight-room spotters.

2. Strength. Hitting the snooze button a few times just before you crawl onto the treadmill might have you sleep walking on the machine, as opposed fully committing and making the most of your workout. This feeling of tiredness and inability to concentrate can lead to injury, which will ultimately keep you sidelined.

3. Lengthier sessions. Lengthier workouts provide both a physical and social benefit. Longer warm ups and greater rest periods allow for sufficient replenishment, time to decompress, de-stress, and socialize with training partners.

4. Stress relief. Studies have linked weight gain to increased stress levels, thanks to the release of cortisol. Further research has shown that this hormone can increase an individual’s desire to eat unhealthy food. Having an outlet, such as a kickboxing or personal training, at the end of the workday can provide a healthy way to release daily stresses.

5. Availability. Gyms offer a larger variety of classes after work than in the morning hours.

Ultimately, the best time for you to workout is the time that you will actually get it done.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Is AM Fasted Cardio for You?

18 Mar

early-morning-workout-tips-300x200[1]I’m a fan of morning workouts.  I think they’re the best, and there’s a lot of scientific research to support the benefits of morning exercise.  AM training sets the tone for your entire day — physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally.  Exercising in the morning just feels good.

And, for our athletes whose goals include strength, speed, and power development, I recommend never training on an empty stomach (as is supported by the scientific literature).

But what if your exercise goals involve weight/fat loss?

There is a debate among exercise science cognoscenti as to whether or not to consume carbohydrates prior to fat-burning exercise.  In other words, should you do morning training on a fasted (empty) stomach or after breakfast?

During cardiovascular exercise, a significant portion of your energy production comes from burning fat. When your diet is higher in protein and fat, your muscle adapts by more effectively utilizing fat and sparing muscle glycogen (the stored form of glucose). Additionally, cardiovascular exercise improves your muscle’s ability to use fat for energy while sparing breakdown of muscle protein. The percentage of carbs used during cardiovascular exercise increases when your diet is high in carbs.

After a night of sleep, fat is available for energy because liver glycogen stores are somewhat depleted by the overnight fast. This means there is less available glucose to burn as fuel and your muscle goes to other sources of fuel — fat or muscle. During cardiovascular exercise, fat is released from stores, resulting in more fat to be available for working muscles. If a carb-rich meal is consumed prior to the workout, glucose becomes the preferred energy source and fat-moving enzymes are shut down by the rise in the hormone insulin, which facilitates conversion of absorbed glucose into stored fat and glycogen.

It is reasonable to infer that eating glucose (carbohydrates) prior to exercise intended to burn fat (i.e., cardiovascular exercise) is counterproductive. Research supports that fat burning is greater in a fasted state vs. a fed state and that fasted cardio improves the contribution of intramuscular fats used in energy production during cardiovascular training.

In other words, research supports that fat burning is greater in the fasted state than in the fed state.

Fasted training improves the muscle’s ability to burn fat more than similar exercise done with prior carb intake. Perhaps more crucial for the low-carb dieter, fasted-state cardio prevents the drop in blood glucose seen in exercise after a carb meal. This avoids the crash that can occur when training after eating sugars or carbs.

Please keep in mind that fasted cardio is just that: It only applies to cardiovascular exercise and not to high-intensity strength and power training.  Athletes who are training to improve performance should always eat prior to a workout, and never train on an empty stomach.

If you’re an athlete who wants to get stronger, faster, and more powerful, make sure you eat appropriately prior to training.

However, if your goal is to burn fat, give fasted morning cardio a try.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Kick-Start Your Day with a Morning Workout

21 Jan

earlymornig-475x320[1]Morning exercise boasts lots of beneficial effects. Starting your day with a workout improves your alertness, cognition, and focus; boosts your metabolism and revs your fat-burning engine; and may help you make smarter food choices for breakfast as well as other meals. Working out in the morning may also improve your quality of sleep. When you wake up earlier to exercise, you expend more energy throughout the day, which may tire you out more quickly and allow you to sleep more deeply at night.

Working out in the morning may mean having to wake up a little earlier to start your day. If you have a hard time getting out of bed for work or school, you may find it challenging to incorporate a workout into your morning routine. Give it a try…  see if morning exercise is right for you. Wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier than your normal time and do some pushups, body-weight squats, and/or jumping jacks. You don’t need an hour workout to realize the benefits of morning exercise. Be realistic. As you settle into a routine, try to wake up a little earlier and extend your workout time. If you belong to a gym, you might even consider exercising there on your way to work.

Motivate Yourself for Morning Exercise

  • Find a workout partner.  There’s a good chance you’ll keep each other accountable and stick to the plan.
  • Prepare the night before.  Get all your workout gear and water bottle ready for the next morning.
  • Set a goal.  Lose a few pounds, fit into that old pair of jeans, get stronger.
  • Program your cell phone to wake you up with a pre-recorded inspirational message.
  • Go to bed early the night before your morning workout, and get a good night’s sleep so you feel well-rested in the morning.
  • Choose a consequence if you miss a morning workout.  Think of a self-imposed sanction that will help keep you accountable. (no social media for the rest of the day!)

Here’s a quick, challenging, and effective workout I found in Men’s Health magazine.  It’s called the “55” Workout.  Give it a try… here’s how!

  • Perform 10 pushups and 1 body-weight squat.
  • Without rest or pause (or as little as possible), perform 9 pushups and 2 squats.
  • Continue this same pattern (1 less pushup, 1 more squat) until your last set of 1 pushup and 10 squats.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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