So i wrote this post a long time ago - back in 2015 - so thought I would re-write it and add a few extra pointers.
It's no secret that i'm an early morning person and definitely an early morning exercise person. Anytime past midday, forget it, my motivation is lost and i'm usually busy doing something in the day that I don't have time for the hour and a half that working out generally is (an hour workout then half an hour shower and wash hair/ get ready after). Even when i was Personal training full time and starting work at 5am, I would be up at 3.30am going for a run as that was the only time in the day I had. Yes I could do it in the middle of the day, but i would have much rather had a half hour nap in the day and only wasted half an hour of the day then had to do a workout after lunch before going back to work again.
Getting up early and doing exercise in the morning can mean more than just having a few extra hours in your day. Exercising in what's known as a "fasted" state (when you have just woken up and have not eaten anything for 10-12 hours before) can be the easiest and quickest way to fat loss. Quite a few studies have shown that this is the best way to build lean mass (meaning building muscle, not fat) and to boost insulin sensitivity (this allowing you to burn fat faster and quicker, but more on that later) and whilst also ensuring that the carbs, protein and fat that you eat go to the right places in the body and that minimal amounts get started as body fat.
Have I got your attention yet??
Here are 7 reasons that will stop you from pressing the snooze botton tomorrow morning when that alarm clock goes off and up doing exercise (apart from seeing a beautiful sunrise)
1. Exercising in the morning gets your metabolism firing - Getting up and doing a workout first thing gets your metabolism up and working for the day and has been shown to increase it. A faster metabolism means using the energy from the food we eat more efficiently and burning more fat faster!! Hello fast metabolism where have you been all my life??
2. What else are you doing at 6am? Literally what else are 90% of people doing at 6am if they aren't up exercising but sleeping? There is no excuse (well apart from having to get a on a plane to a meeting, being a shift worker or something of that nature but usually there is no excuse at 6am apart from i'm asleep). I get it, I used to be a night exercise person and used to train at 7pm. I never thought I would train in the mornings/ like training in the mornings but now I am the complete opposite and could never go back to training at night. Which leads me into my next point.
3. You don't have to do it after work, it's already done - How many times have you made plans to exercise at night only to have to stay at work late or have something come up and have to miss the workout instead. Life happens, something comes up at work, friends call and arrange dinner or you are just plain tired after a long day. If you get up early and do it then you don't have to worry about that as it's already done and set you up in a good pattern for the day.
4. Improves your focus during the day - Studies have shown that exercising in the morning and the release of adrenaline associated helps to improve your focus and mental state for the rest of the day.
5. Improves insulin sensitivity - When we eat, we release a hormone called Insulin to help the body absorb and digest the nutrients from the food. The hormone takes the sugar out of the food and directs it towards the liver, muscles and fat so to be stored as energy for later on. Very helpful back in the caveman days when they didn't know when they were getting their next meal so needed to store food as to not starve. Not so helpful or needed in our modern society which has a plethera of food. Doing a workout in the morning in the fasted state will help to burn calories from those fat stores and the body will start to produce insulin less often - we become more sensitive to it's effects.
6. Activates Growth Hormone (GH) - Now you think this hormone may only be helpful when you're going through the gawky teenage growth spurt when you seem to wake up one morning and you're all of a sudden 6 foot tall (sadly I'm still waiting for that growth spurt to happen haha!) It also helps the body to make new muscle tissue, become more efficient at burning fat, whilst also improving bone quality, it's physical function and longevity.
7. Improved Glycogen storage efficiency - In a nutshell this means, doing a workout when the body is running on empty helps the body to adapt and it gets better and more efficient at using it's energy stores when it is in a "fed" state later on - basically learning to perform better when it does have fuel in the tank.
I'm going to leave you with on study I found that was conducted in Belgium. They set up a 6 week study to determine if a change in morning routine affected weight loss and also other health aspects. They recruited 28 individuals who all had to increase their diet by 50% more fat and 30% more calories in total. Breaking into 3 groups, the first did no exercise; the second exercised after having a carb loaded breakfast and drank sports drinks during exercise. Whilst the third only had water and ate breakfast after morning exercise. Thes results - the first group who did no exercise gained 6 pounds (surprising it wasn't more) and the majority also develoed pre-diabetes and precursors to other cardiovascular diseases. The second group also gained weight - about half the amount of the first group so about 3 pounds. Compared to the group who ate breakfast after exercise that gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance.
So moral to the exercise before breakfast story - Don't press snooze on your alarm clock each morning. Get your work out done, eat breakfast and enjoy a long, gym free and guilt free lunch break :)
That being said, any exercise is good exercise so no matter what time you do it, applaud yourself for doing it.