Success in any fitness program is based on consistency. Train, eat, sleep, repeat produces amazing results if carried out over a long period of time. Several studies have found that those of us who exercise in the morning miss fewer workouts and are more dedicated to a fitness lifestyle. When you exercise in the morning no unscheduled life events have a chance to develop which often happens when you work out in the afternoon. While everyone else is dozing, you can train and no one misses you at home or work. It takes the guilt out of spending time on yourself instead of tending to the needs of your family, work, and home.
Many people look at those of us who exercise in the morning as beings from another planet–my wife included. They are unable to fathom how we can get out of a warm bed in the morning and participate in any type of activity. After discussing this with several morning-only exercise members at the gym, we have some suggestions:
If you want to exercise early and still make it through your day, you must hit the hay at least an hour earlier.
Get Up As Soon As Possible
Move your alarm clock far away from your bed. Resist hitting the snooze alarm. Stand up as quickly as you can and start the preparation process.
Lay Out Your Clothes the Night Before
Get your fitness clothes and shoes ready before retiring for the evening. If you want to bring a hydration drink, get it ready the night before and have it waiting in the refrigerator. Nearly every morning exercise participant states that the hardest part of training in the morning is getting dressed and out the door.
Training in the morning usually involves colder temperatures, so put on some extra layers of clothing that you can peel off as you heat up during the training session.
Some Sort of Breakfast
A hard lesson learned by many of us AM exercisers is that training on an empty stomach can lead to a sudden blood sugar crash. The breakfast suggestions from my morning training team vary; however, the common denominators are hydration in the form of coffee, juice, tea, or water and an easy to digest carbohydrate meal. Common pre-training breakfasts include: Tea and half a bagel, a juice blender drink, or cereal and coffee.
Morning exercise people are rarely successful training at home. There are too many distractions, and you end up waking your family. We go to the track, gym, pool, or open road, but we all get out of the house.
A Longer Warm Up
After spending six to eight hours in bed, your muscles and joints will be stiff and the neural system sluggish. You need to dedicate more time warming up when you exercise in the morning. Become familiar with movement preparation activities. Schedule an assessment with Jeff Tirrell, our Program Director, for more information. I also highly recommend reading books by Mark Verstegen or visiting the Exos website. Expect to spend at least ten or twelve minutes on movement preparation before diving into the pool, running on the track, or lifting weights.
-Michael O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS