I sigh as I realise I’ve slept in again – no time to exercise before work, I’ll have to do it after, which sucks, because I feel better when I work out in the morning – but does this mean morning workouts are better for you?
Scientifically, there are benefits to working out in the morning. However, don’t write off exercise just because you can’t find the time until later in the day. Exercise at ANY time of the day is better than no exercise at all.
I know I definitely feel a difference in my mood, productivity, anxiety, focus, and energy when I work in the morning. It’s a feeling I just don’t get from an afternoon workout.
I’ve developed a chronic sleep habit of late, meaning some days I either work out in the afternoon, or don’t work out at all.
And if I can only fit in an afternoon workout, I don’t beat myself up. I celebrate for still staying committed to my fitness goals.
If you can only workout in the afternoon, because of scheduling commitments, you’re too tired or in too much pain to workout in the morning, don’t stress. Work out in the afternoon and feel damn proud of yourself for it.
BUUT if you can manage a morning workout, I highly recommend it. Here’s what I’ve noticed from working out in the morning.
I feel happier and calmer
Morning workouts are better for me, because afterward I feel more cheerful, sociable, and calm. I’m in a way, way better mood.
That runner’s high feeling is a real thing – and it lasts a lot longer than a cup of coffee, too. It lifts me up and buoys me on a rainbow throughout the rest of my day.
(Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.)
Science totally backs this. Moderate exercise releases happy chemicals e.g. serotonin and endorphins, into your blood stream, giving you a euphoric high that improves your mood and reduces stress.
I feel most refreshed and ready to move in the morning
I am useless to the world after 3 pm. Honestly, during a 3 pm afternoon slump I would rather pick hair out of my bathroom drain than go workout and get sweaty.
I just have no energy.
After a good night’s sleep, my body feels refreshed, restored and ready to begin the day, so it’s when I have the most energy for a workout.
I’m less likely to get interrupted/distracted in the morning
Morning workouts are better for keeping me more consistent with my fitness goals.
As soon as the work day starts to happen, the flood gates open and the world pours in. I get pulled in a million directions.
The later it gets in the day, the trickier it gets to find an hour (or the will) to workout.
But in the morning, before other priorities start clamouring for attention, I’ve got a moment’s peace to dedicate to myself and my personal fitness goals, so that’s the time I find it easiest to carve for myself.
Plus … it’s kind of nice to have the first hour of the morning all to yourself to be in your body, put yourself first, and do something good for yourself and your health.
You get to fill your cup for the day before you start pouring from it.
I just get more done in the day
Okay, I am way more revved up, focused and productive when I’ve exercised first thing.
After a workout and a cool shower followed by a nutritious breakfast, I literally feel ready to tackle anything and so deliciously amped and motivated, because #science.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine did a study which found that working out in the morning improves your attention, visual learning and decision making.
I know personally I tend to struggle a LOT with staying focused and paying attention, but when I exercise in the morning, I’m able to stay focused and productive throughout the day.
Studies show it may improve weight loss
Now, my beautiful glam baby, you do you. Not everyone has the goal to lose weight, and if you don’t, that’s wonderful and you don’t need to read this bit.
However, if like me you are working on weight loss goals right now, working out in the morning may help with that.
The International Journal of Obesity did a study which found that people who did their workouts in the morning lost more weight than people who worked out in the afternoon.
Another study found that people who did a 100 minute pre-brekky run burned more fat over the next 24 hours than people who ran for 50 minutes in the morning and 50 minutes in the afternoon.
I personally find that fasted cardio, first thing in the morning, helps me lean down fast.
But I have the privilege of a lifestyle that allows me to do that. You’ll still get great weight loss benefits (if that’s your thing) working out at ANY time of day.
I love to say “don’t do nothing because you can’t do something”.
If the only time you have to workout is in the afternoon, don’t write it off because morning workouts are “better”. Exercise at any time of day will significantly help weight loss.
I tend to make healthier food choices AFTER I’ve exercised
Studies have shown that people who train in the morning are more likely to eat healthier. Personally, I can vouch for this.
I find I eat a LOT healthier when I’ve worked out first thing in the morning. It’s like I’ve started the day by doing something good for my body, and I feel like I’ve set a precedent I want to continue.
I just feel … lighter??? in my body after a good, sweaty workout and seem to crave lighter foods. When I exercise in the morning, I have this feeling throughout breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I’m going to choose things like oatmeal, salad and veggies.
I have energy all day long
Okay, so maybe I don’t feel all that fresh when I first wake up, but listen, after a few minutes of warming up and getting my blood pumping, I get a hit of energy that lasts the entire day.
I mean, it’s better than a cup of coffee.
I’m just way more energetic and dynamic, I move around a lot more and I don’t seem to “putt out” at 3 pm as much.
I sleep way better at night
I sleep way better at night when I’ve worked out in the morning. And I mean the good sleep.
The sleep where you could literally use a chainsaw outside my bedroom door and I just wouldn’t hear it. The sleep where I wake up with crinkle marks on my skin from my sheets because I haven’t so much as rolled over.
It’s good, deep, refreshing sleep.
This is another one where science backs me up. A study in Vascular Health and Risk Management found that adults who worked out at 7 am slept better and deeper at night.
To land this plane, I’m going to let you in on a secret: the best time to work out is the time that works best for YOU. Don’t feel like you “HAVE” to work out at a certain time or it won’t be good for you.
The most important thing is that you find time in your day for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity – whether it’s in the morning or in the afternoon. Whatever time of day you feel able to consistently, sustainably stick to each day is the perfect time for YOUR body and your health.