From the beginning of time, well my time, my number one thing to do in the morning was……sleep. The idea of getting up for the kids, uni or work was hard enough, let alone getting up to put my body through its paces with a rigorous workout, who would do such a thing and why?
I have dabbled in morning exercise for the last 10 years, but it always tapered off, especially around winter time. 2 years ago however, I made a more permanent change to working out in the morning and the benefits are huge. Not only does it give me heaps more time in the day, but the focus and clarity and general sense of wellbeing is phenomenal.
As a Mother of 2 it is difficult to find the time for exercise, I simply have to make it and for me, the morning time is the part of the day I can control the most. For the rest of the day I am running on others schedules and moods and motivations, but in the morning I control what time I get up and that for me is gold.
If you are having difficulty making time for your health and wellbeing or even just to "think", I strongly recommend you try to wake up earlier. Of course it is not easy, initially, but if you can take small steps, waking up 5 minutes earlier each day you will discover how productive and nurturing you can be in the time you have alone.
Exercise is something that is non negotiable in my life and I have to do it every day without question. If I have to try and squeeze it between work and family and daily 9 to 5 life, I struggle, leaving me feeling sluggish, negative and frustrated
Here are some huge benefits of morning exercise to get you on the right track to a uber good morning.
Reason #1 Fat Burning
This is the initial reason why I took to exercising early in the morning. A big goal for me has been to burn calories, and without a doubt morning exercise is the optimal time to start the burn, if that is what you are looking for.
This works on the following concepts
#1. When you are exercising on an empty stomach, your body is forced to break down stored fat and glycogen as you have no other energy source readily available.
#2. After exercise (HIIT and strengthening in particular), our bodies burn an accelerated number of calories compared to if we had not exercised. This is referred to as the Afterburn or Post Oxygen Consumption and can last unto 8 hours post workout. If you are able to time this in the morning, you can cause your body to burn an increased amount of energy during your busy day, inevitably leading to weight loss and a mass of other health benefits.
#3. Because the body is empty of food it can concentrate its blood flow (and energy) to your needy muscles. Helping you to work harder and longer and without the occurrence of cramps and stitch.
Reason #2 Timing
Finding time in the morning to work out is much more possible than at any other time of the day, but of course that is per my schedule. I do wake up pretty early, between 4.45 and 5, but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties.
If I plan my timing correctly, i.e. going to bed early etc. I can more or less "control" my morning. Unlike the rest of the day where I am running after others, this part of the day can be uninterrupted. Total self indulgent bliss.
For a long time I have prided myself on fitting exercise around the kids, simply including them in my workouts and I still do this on occasion. But as they are getting older, 3 and 6, all they seem to want to do is jump on me and interrupt my workout, making me feeling even more like a slug and pretty frustrated. Enjoying a workout coupled with having me time with no screaming is pure bliss.
When the house is asleep I can be so much more efficient and focussed.
Reason #3 Meditative
There is something quite magical about getting up in the morning and being alone whilst the rest of the family is still asleep.
In an ideal world a ten minute guided meditation is perfect. But if you are not ready for that yet, or it is just not your cup of tea then a morning run or walk can offer therapy and added focus with no distractions and ensure you wake up gently rather than being rattled by the kids shouting.
The mental focus you achieve when you are exercise without the background screaming can serve as a sort of meditation. Take a half hour walk with your headphones on and you will feel so much more centred and energetic.
Life is getting up an hour early, To live an hour more
Reason #4 Morning Energy
Studies show that the morning is the most productive time of the day for many of us, if that is we chose to act on it. This is controlled by our hormones, with cortisol being a prime stimulation to our energy production. Cortisol is at a peak with the first 60 to 90 minutes of walking. If you can harness the power of the fight or flight hormone, you can see a benefit to your workout sessions because of it.
If we are well rested, we wake up with more enthusiasm and energy for the day then say at 1pm with a belly full of lunch and the reality of our ever-growing to do list sets in.
By exercising almost immediately after you wake up, you haven’t had time to allow self doubt or negative energy to set in, a bonus if you are someone who has a tendency to procrastinate or make excuses.
Reason #5 Lack Of Excuses / Procrastination
We all are busy and life gets in the way of activities that we fail to prioritise. Motivation for exercise is not a given, it is generally our ability to relate the result with the trigger that pushes us to do it.
For a long time I exercised in the evening after work, but it was very often mentally painful. After a day at a computer screen I didn't want to work out, and unlike in the morning, I had lots of time to give myself a excuse to get out of it. Perhaps I was tired (hands down we are all tired), or I had tidying to do, or another prior oh so important engagement.
By getting up and immediately getting ready to run out of the door, you don't give your sleepy head time to conjure up lame, often bullshit excuses. Ok the warm bed maybe a huge magnet, but fight your mind and get out.The most difficult part is to get out of bed. Try Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule. She struggled for a long time to take charge of her life. 5,4,3,2, 1 she did it.
So there you have it, just a few, but hugely significant reasons to get your bum out of bed extra early and quite literally jump, run or skip into the day, even when you don’t feel like it. Fancy giving it a try?
Give yourself 30 days to implement these changes, and I promise you will wonder why you didn't make the change earlier.
Yours in wellness
morningA great tip is to have a green tea and a coffee prior to a workout to create your own pre workout caffeine shot, so much cheaper and cleaner than the store bought ones.