How to Maximize Your Morning Workout
By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD/CD
Brrrnngg! The alarm goes off. You reach over and slap the snooze button one more time, allowing 5 minutes of extra sleep in exchange for a shorter morning sweat session. Five minutes later, stumbling out of bed, you tie your shoes through half-opened eyes and get to work. Morning workouts offer many advantages such as fewer distractions, more energy throughout the day, and can be higher quality with the right planning and preparation. Most people make the mistake of staying in bed as long as possible and don't allow enough time to wake up, warm up, or fuel up, which leads to mediocre workouts, lack of progress, and so-so results. Follow these three tips to get the most from your morning workouts:
- Wake Up: Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier and have everything prepped the night before from your exercise clothes, shoes, and music to your water bottle and snack. Washing your face and brushing your teeth can help get energized and alert for your work out.
- Fuel Up: Drink a glass of water and a few bites of food. If you get a good night's rest, this means your body has gone without food and water for at least 7-8 hours. Trying to work out on an empty tank is like trying to push a car without gas. It's hard to get going and even harder to keep going. It doesn't take much to get your engine going though. Try something small that won't weigh you down like a ½ piece of fruit or a few bites of yogurt. If you exercise the night before and don't normally eat between your p.m. and a.m. workouts, having something more substantial will ensure you have enough calories to get a high quality workout. A whole piece of fruit, 1 slice of toast with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, or 6oz of yogurt are examples that work well for many people, but part of this is trial and error and finding what works best for you. Additionally, consider doing strength sessions in the morning and leave cardio for evening sessions, so you're not doing cardio immediately after eating.
- Warm up. Remember, your body has been in a resting state and needs more time in the morning to get warmed up than at the end of the day after being awake and moving around for many hours. Allow yourself 5-10 minutes of lower intensity, warm-up exercise for your workout, whether it's strength or cardio.