Morning exercise - is it worth getting out of bed for?

Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Beeeeeep, Beeeeeeeep (that’s my version of an alarm clock). You have 2 options, hit the snooze button and fall back to sleep or get up.


Most people love to hit the snooze button to get those extra minutes sleep in. However, think about setting your alarm clock a little bit earlier than usual to fit in some morning exercise. The extra benefits you’ll gain from the morning exercise will beat those extra minutes of laying in a warm cosy bed (hmmm, on second thoughts…) Ok, jokes aside.


Personally I’d take morning training over evening training any day, it will help determine which path you will follow for the rest of the day. Either feeling more energised and having more brain function to tackle your day or the sluggish, “get me a double expresso, sugar, anything to wake me up” followed by the “I wish I woke up earlier”. Already you can see how productive your day will become just by looking at the 2 paths. Choose to be pro-active and reap the benefits.


There are a few key benefits of training first thing too. You’ll have got training out of the way – the biggest barrier people have when wanting to exercise is time. I’ve heard excuse after excuse, such as not having enough time to attend the gym. Too tired after work. Had to work late, etc. You can overcome this be simply waking up to your alarm, putting on your new Christmas fitness clothing, your work clothes in a bag, getting to the gym, following a gym routine (having a programme will increase your motivation) finishing off with a refreshing shower, refuelling with good nutrition and set up for the day ahead.


Planning to train in the morning means you will less likely to have an excuse and put the session off until tomorrow or the most common one – “ill start back on it on Monday”. I find people who train first thing tend to stick to their exercise plans better and achieve better results. Along with releasing endorphins (feel good) which improves your mood, well being and energy levels.


Having slept for around 6-8 hours your mind and body have had enough time to rest, recover and refuel. Post workout you will feel an increase in mental focus and in a better frame of mind to tackle the day.


From my own previous experience and working with clients, training in a morning gives you a better mind set for your diet. It’s a win win situation with all the boxes ticked – Exercise TICK, Better Mind-set TICK, Diet TICK, Results – ON TRACK.


Below are 2 examples of different types of morning workouts your can do:


Cardio workout: 20-45 minutes

Morning cardio is a tool many people use to help with fat loss. Having fasted for several hours overnight, steady state cardio is manageable by everyone. It could be a steady walk or jog outside or even a casual cycle on a stationary bike. As we all know most of us lack energy first thing in a morning and especially on an empty stomach, however you don’t need to have excess amounts of energy to exercise at the steady state level. Just enough energy to get your body moving causing a slight sweat, nothing too extreme (pouring out). You will notice a spike in your cravings once leaving the gym. The first meal is very important, make sure you eat the right food. Don’t think because you’ve burnt several hundred calories that you’re entitled to something nutritionally poor, your body is crying out for healthy nutritious foods– our perfect post cardio breakfast would be Egg’s no toast. Just remember the majority of your first meal should mainly of protein. 



Weight training workout: 45 minutes

Hitting the the weights first thing in the morning is slightly different, in that you’ll need to fuel up before you train to increase your energy levels, research has shown that weights and hiit workout performance is better when fuelled over a fasted state. Your meal should consist of protein and carbs with low fat. A favourite with most people is porridge with a scoop of whey protein. This hits the above (protein, carbs & low fat) The best time to eat your breakfast is as soon as you wake up, then afterwards continue with your morning routine – getting ready etc. This will give your body enough time to digest your food before you arrive at the gym. Nothing worse in training on a full stomach and feeling sick. An alternative to this is to have a heavy carb meal the night before, however many people struggle to sleep with a full stomach.


So tomorrow set your alarm and have a more productive day by hitting the gym first thing in the morning. Yes it may be dark and cold when you wake up and your bed may feel like it’s trying to stop you getting up but be strong and reap the rewards of a morning workout.


Ben Pryor – Personal Trainer & Co-founder of Nourish