If I had to pick a single factor that I thought was most important in a successful exercise or weight loss program, it would be to exercise first thing in the morning! I attribute my consistency to my workouts over the past 21 months to the fact that I make 5am a non-negotiable time to get up six days a week. I believe mornings are the best time to work out and here are my Top Ten Reasons WHY in no particular oder.
1. Consistency – like any new skill or change you are trying to make in your life you have to be consistent to make it a long term change. I failed for years trying to get my workout in after work because I was full of excuses (long day at work, traffic was terrible, tired, had to stay late, ate like crap all day so I will just start over tomorrow, you name it I had an excuse) Once I made the change to get up at 5am to work out, I instantly became more consistent which over time lead to 100% consistency.
2. Jump Start Your Metabolism – When you exercise early in the morning, it “jump starts” your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours! You will reap the benefits of a good hard work out in the morning throughout the day because your body will be burning more calories.
3. Energy – When you exercise in the morning you will have more energy, be more focused, and positive among other things by getting started the right way taking care of your body.
4. Helps Regulate Your Appetite – I found that I make much smarter choices when I get my work out done in the morning because I am more health conscious throughout the day by starting the day off right. Your body will also get into a routine knowing when it’s time for your snack or lunch etc which will help curb cravings and keep energy levels consistent throughout the day.
5. Self Discipline – It takes effort and motivation to get out of that warm bed before the sunrises but as you develop the daily discipline to get up and work out you will also see those habits spill over into other aspects of your life.
6. Mental Awareness – Working out increases the flow oxygen-rich blood to your brain which increases your mental acuity for up to four to ten hours after. You will find that you are able to take on any challenge that is thrown your way at the office in addition to getting more done while taking on other challenges.
7. Build Confidence – I feel the most inspired and motivated before, during, and after my workout which helps build my confidence for the day ahead. It leads me to have an attitude of go ahead and throw whatever you want at me I am ready to take it on.
8. Sleep Better – Have you ever worked out between 7-10pm? I have and it takes hours for my body to finally calm down and cool off before I can comfortable lay in bed and fall asleep. Get up early and get your work done and I promise you when your head hits the pillow that night you will get some great sleep because your body needs the time to repair for the next workout tomorrow morning.
9. Stress Relief – There is something about waking up early and getting a great work in that is very therapeutic to me. This will help you reduce the chances of becoming stressed or upset that day by clearing your mind and starting fresh again.
10. Opens Up Your Day – By getting your work out done early it opens up the rest of the day. Now when your co-worker or family wants to go out to dinner after work you won’t feel guilty about going out because you got the most important thing you can do in the day done before the sun rose.
How do you get in the habit of rising early? I was NOT a morning person for years and it took discipline and a lot of practice to finally get into the habit of waking up at 5am. One thing that worked for me when I was training myself to get up that early was the use of two alarm clocks. My first one went off next to my bed at 5am and my second one which was downstairs next to my work out area and clothes went off five minutes later. This did a couple things for me:
A) When the first alarm would go off it would get my mind started because I was thinking about the dreaded second alarm all the way downstairs that I had to at least turn off before it woke up the whole house.
B) At first I would fall asleep all the time after the first alarm and when the second one would go off it would put me into a dead sprint in the dark to get to the second alarm before it woke up the rest of my house. By the time I made it down the stairs and to the alarm I felt like I just ran the fastest 40 time ever. My heart was pumping and my mind was racing so I was ready to get my workout done at that point.
Bottom Line: Get creative and find ways to get yourself up an hour early to work out and I promise you it will make a huge difference in your day by benefitting all areas.