Think of a character in a movie or TV show who seems like they totally have their life together. Chances are, if a scene has ever shown this person's morning routine, you probably watched them spring out of bed and cheerily head off to an intense workout before resuming the rest of their astonishingly productive day. I've always been a little skeptical about working out in the morning, because being that active before I've even had coffee seems downright impossible. But hey, maybe I've been missing out on how a morning workout affects the rest of your day for the better. As it turns out, the evidence is pretty dang strong that this is the way to do it, friends.
TreadmillReviews.net recently conducted a survey of 1,000 people to study how working out in the morning versus at night affects someone's overall lifestyle. The results showed that women reported feeling almost 20 percent more energetic if they worked out in the morning, not to mention about 10 percent more productive at work, compared to those who exercised in the evening.
Beginning your day with a workout really can help set the tone for the rest of the day, especially when it comes to your mood, says Melissa Lopez, an ACE-certified personal trainer and certified nutritional therapy consultant. "Exercise releases endorphins, also known as 'feel-good' hormones, which reduce stress and anxiety levels," she tells Elite Daily. "Starting the day off with a workout can help you better deal with daily stressors at work and beyond."
But wait, there's more: According to Lauren Seib, a NASM-certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, in addition to making you feel accomplished AF right off the bat, a killer morning workout can do wonders for your ability to focus as you deal with whatever the rest of the day has to offer.
If you like to start your mornings off a little more slowly, there's no need to suddenly start doing high-intensity workouts the moment you roll out of bed. If you have a workout routine that you already love, then that can be an effective morning workout. "The bottom line is that all exercise is effective," says Sylvia Nasser, certified personal trainer and founder of the #irockthesportsbra body positive movement. "Some people love a nice meaningful yoga practice, while others love an outside morning run. Some like to lift weights for strength." Basically, as long as you're moving your body in a way that feels good for you, you'll probably feel pretty positive about it after the fact, whether you work out for 15 minutes or an hour, says Nasser. "I don’t know a single person who regrets a good workout," she adds.
Of course, finding time for a consistent workout routine in your busy schedule is a huge factor. If you haven't really found a routine that you like, Cary Williams, fitness expert and CEO of Boxing & Barbells, suggests working it into your schedule by trying out some home workouts. "This will give [you] a better chance at getting it completed without having the excuse that you have to go to the gym," she explains. "You can do lunges, squats, push-ups, and sit-ups, along with a cardio station, such as jump rope or jogging in place," she suggests. "Set a timer to 45-second intervals with 15-second rest (transition) periods." Whether you have only 15 minutes to spare in your morning routine, or you want to dedicate an hour of your morning to exercise, you can do as few or as many sets as you'd like.
Getting your sweat on first thing could definitely make a difference in your eating habits as well, especially if you're used to exercising later in the day, so make sure you're giving your body the nourishment it needs. A morning sweat session could temporarily suppress your hunger for breakfast, but it's crucial not to skip a nutritious post-workout meal, because you'll likely find yourself intensely hungry about an hour after the fact, says Willow Jarosh, a registered dietitian-nutritionist in private practice in New York City. "Working out in the morning can make you hungrier later on in the day, so it's important to be sure to eat enough consistently — and to tune into and respect your hunger cues," she explains.
If you usually eat breakfast before you work out, opt for something with plenty of carbs and protein, Jarosh recommends, "which helps your body to replenish glycogen stores, repair muscle, and keep you feeling satisfied and energized." Oatmeal with nut butter and fruit, or avocado toast with an egg, are both great options to keep you full and ready to take on the day.
"If you wake up early to fit in a morning workout, then you may find that you'll need additional snacks in the morning since you'll have more time awake before lunch," Jarosh tells Elite Daily, so just make sure you're stocked up on foods with plenty of protein and carbs, like yogurt and fruit, or toast with peanut butter, to munch on whenever you need a boost.