Working out is something that is, regardless whether you like it or not, really good for you.
With proven positive influence on mental health, not to mention the host of physical benefits that come with being in shape and the extent to which it mitigates the chance of getting certain diseases like heart disease and cancer later in life, working out is a part of many people’s lives.
One problem that a lot of people experience, is finding the time to work out. Working out can be a bit of a performance, with various extraneous events, like eating or not eating beforehand, changing in and out of gym clothes, the shower at the end, the break part way through, all making it in to an exercise (no pun intended!) that requires forethought and planning.
With everything considered, it’s clear that working out in the morning, before your day has fully started, is the best time from a scheduling perspective. The only obstacle in your way at that time of day is your own laziness, rather than the meetings, socializing, homework or whatever it might be that fills the rest of your day. Overcome your laziness, and you’ve found the perfect time! Except; there are mistakes you can make that will negatively impact your health and/or your workout by opting for the morning session. So, let’s take a look at some of the worst morning workout mistakes and how to avoid them.
Working Out When You Should Be Sleeping
There’s a fine line between being lazy in the morning and actually being exhausted from lack of sleep. Sometimes I have my ambitious clients book in for 6am workouts with me and when I see them arrive, I can tell immediately if they’re just a bit groggy or if they’re not getting enough sleep. The latter is very dangerous.
Not getting enough sleep is actually a perfect counter to exercise in terms of the negatives that it exudes: it causes weight gain, damage to mental health and increased likelihood of things like heart disease and degenerative illnesses. It nullifies the point of your exercise and it makes it harder to actually do the exercise as well. It’s one thing to exercise once every so often when you haven’t had that good a night’s sleep. It’s another thing entirely to schedule in your morning workout in place of a full night’s sleep every day. Sleep in and find the time elsewhere if this is you. Remember, 7-9 hours every night is what the human body needs.
Not Eating Or Drinking Before Your Workout
There are many, many conflicting opinions on this topic from professionals and laymen alike. At the end of all of the back and forths over the subject, all that really matters is how you personally feel. Some people love to work out on an empty stomach, others don’t.
However, as a general rule, you ought to have eaten something, and you certainly should have drunk water, before you work out in the morning. The water is a no brainer: you will already be dehydrated from your night of sleep. You have to rehydrate in preparation for the dehydration that happens when you begin to sweat. Don’t do anything in extremes, so you shouldn’t be gulping down water or you’ll get a cramp and won’t be able to work out properly.
As far as food is concerned, you shouldn’t eat a whole breakfast. Instead have a snack; some fuel for the workout. An hour to an hour and a half before you get started you may want to eat a miniature breakfast, with protein and carbs. Examples of such breakfast snacks include half a banana with peanut butter, half a slice of toast and an egg, a cup of cereal, etc. All of these foods give you the fuels you need to get a strong workout in. If you’re on a fast-based diet, this advice may differ and you may find that you ought to just expect less of your morning workout, rather than breaking your diet to boost your energy levels. Whatever the case is, feel out what is right for your body and will get you the best results you can possibly hope for.
Not Scheduling And Planning Efficiently
Mornings are tight for most people, so you really need to be on top of your plan.
If you find yourself looking at your watch two thirds of the way through your session thinking that you’ve got to be at work in half an hour, you’ve got an issue. Don’t compromise the quality of your workout for the sake of time. So, whilst this may mean that you need to be eliminating the morning workout altogether or simply waking up earlier to get it all done in time, it can also mean a few other things. Being organized like that will really help to get your day off to a good start and focus your work out really nicely.
Not Warming Up
One downside to working out in the morning is that there isn’t a single other moment all day where your body will be as stiff as it is after just waking up. And, with all the time pressure, you might just have rushed to the gym, got changed and jumped on the nearest exercise bike. You are almost absolutely guaranteed to do yourself some real harm by doing this, and I can’t warn enough against skipping the warm up in the early morning.
You need to stretch before working out properly even when you’ve been walking around all day and you jogged to the gym; let alone in the morning where you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes. Do a basic, gentle stretch to shake off the sleep stiffness, then stretch properly to prepare your body for working out. Failing to do these can leave you with an injury that could actually stop you from working out for months.
So, as you can see, the morning workout isn’t without its risks and its drawbacks. The most important things to remember are to get a good night’s sleep and to give yourself a chance to get everything you need to do done to have a healthy workout that won’t leave you with injuries or be inefficient. Take things slow and make sure you really have the time for a morning workout.