The other day, while sipping my usual morning cup of coffee, I complained to a friend about how exhausted I've been feeling lately. She suggested I ditch my daily mocha and try going to the gym instead when I first wake up. TBH, I kind of wanted to throw my cup of caffeinated goodness in her face, but wasting coffee is a sin, so I refrained.
And yet, despite my denial, she couldn't say enough about why working out in the morning is the best way to start your day.
I knew she was probably right, but still, the delicious scent of my Pike Place Blend sensually drifting out of the Keurig first thing in the morning gives me so much life. How could I possibly part with this?
If you're also a complete slave to your morning brew, I hate to break it to you, but my friend's advice was actually spot-on.
Replacing coffee with a short workout in the morning can provide you with lasting energy throughout the day, and it can even help you combat that awful midday slump.
That radiant rush you get from your cup of joe is just the result of your adrenaline spiking and the release of a myriad of hormones.
This means the "energy" you feel like you're getting from your coffee doesn't actually last that long. And, more often than not, you find yourself reaching for a second (or maybe even a third) cup to sustain that adrenaline rush.
Exercise, on the other hand, stokes your central nervous system in a healthy, rejuvenating way, causing a release of mood-boosting hormones to flood the body, all of which help you use your energy more efficiently.
Of course, trekking to the gym when you first wake up may still sound like literal hell on earth to you, especially if you feel like you're just too damn tired to muster the energy.
But science says the cure for general fatigue may actually be more exercise.
A 2008 study from the University of Georgia looked at 36 moderately sedentary volunteers who complained of fatigue, and tested to see if exercise would, indeed, be an effective treatment for their exhaustion.
One group of participants engaged in 20 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise three times a week for six weeks. A second group was instructed to do low-intensity aerobic exercise for the same time period, and a final group did not exercise at all during that time.
According to the results of the study, the two exercise groups demonstrated a 20 percent increase in energy levels, while those who didn't exercise at all basically remained tired AF.
Plus, those who engaged in low-intensity exercise saw a 65 percent drop in their feelings of fatigue, compared to a 49 percent drop for those who participated in moderately intense exercise.
So, you really don't even need to push yourself that hard during a morning workout -- starting small will still get you pretty damn good results.
Whether you find a 20-minutes yoga routine you can fall in love with, or a quick, light ab circuit to get your blood pumping, a bit of sweat in the morning can go a seriously long way.
Later, latte -- I'll be over here lacing up my shoes for a leisurely morning walk (and probably switching to decaf, because coffee will always be bae.)