When you’re busy – whether with work, family or a combination of the two – it can be hard to find time to fit in a workout at all. Some people prefer to grab a quick gym session over their lunch break; others prefer to squeeze in a run after dinner; and working out first thing in the morning is often seen as an option for extreme gym bunnies only! But even if you don’t think of yourself as that “morning person” type, working out in the morning provides the most overall benefits to your body – and to your daily grind. Here are a few of the key benefits of getting your cardio and weight training done before you start work for the day.
1. Higher metabolic rates.
Have some unwanted fat you want to get rid of? Working out in the morning will boost your metabolism faster: and a higher metabolism means more fat burning through the course of the day. On average, an individual who works out in the morning will burn around 190 more calories per day than someone who chooses a later time to get their sweat on.
A faster metabolism can result in higher energy levels and a better overall mood: both great news for your productivity throughout the day. What’s more, you can grab a snack in your work breaks, happy in the knowledge that you burned off the calories before 9 am!
2. Improved sleep patterns
Starting your day off in the gym or with a home workout routine can vastly improve the amount and quality of sleep you get: not only is exercise itself strongly associated with better sleep but having a routine to jump-start your day can make it easier to get out of bed too.
Poor sleep blights America’s workplaces to such an extent that it might best be called an epidemic. Almost a third of workers admit to feeling too tired to function properly at work. Even if you’re not so extremely affected, a shortage of good sleep can leave you irritable, stressed and struggling to make decisions quickly. In short, if you want to stay on top of your game, you need the high-quality sleep that a regular morning workout can give you.
3. Higher energy levels
In the US, sedentary jobs – that is to say, jobs where you’re barely required to move – have gone up 83% since 1950: that’s a lot of Americans sitting still for 8 hours a day. Not only does a morning plan improve your body’s ability to burn fat, but it also makes you more mentally and physically alert. After a few weeks of hitting the gym before you hit your desk, you will no longer need to blow through a pot of coffee to feel even remotely awake.
You probably don’t need us to tell you how your workday could benefit from an energy boost: and if you don’t fancy getting a standing desk, you’ll appreciate knowing that you’ve already done something to counteract the harmful effects of sitting still all day.
4. A sense of accomplishment
We all have our off-days. Those days when, as 5:30 approaches, we realize we’ve done little more than filling a seat all day. How can we overcome the urge to do the bare minimum? All those articles about the importance of making your bed are onto something: starting your day with a quick win puts you in a productive state of mind. Get in those 30-60 minutes of cardio first thing, and you’ll see yourself as a hard-working winner for the rest of the day.
5. Eliminating self-sabotage.
Have you ever hit the gym late at night, after a long day at the office, and then destroyed your hard work by grabbing a Big Mac on the way home? It happens to all of us from time to time. Powering through your workout in the morning leaves far more time over the day to eat something a little more on the healthy side. You won’t have the urge to “cheat” with a Taco Bell pit stop like you would at 9 PM when you need to race home to throw in some laundry, help out with homework and do other household chores.
Healthy eating throughout the day will keep you fuelled up to do your best work and avoid sugar crashes.
These are just a few of the many benefits of hitting the gym early: burning more fat, better energy levels, improved sleep, a better sense of accomplishment, a healthier lifestyle and a more productive working day. Make a plan; stick with it; and after only a few weeks in your new routine, you should start to notice positive changes in your life and work.