My Experience With Early Morning Weight Training
Training very early in the morning can appear to be a masochistic exercise for the uninitiated. Once you get started doing your strength training, sprints, etc. first thing you’ll quickly learn, is that you don’t need to love pain to get it done at early o’clock in the morning! The benefits become obviously quickly. If you need some motivation staying out of bed, like I did, read this to find out how I made the change to early morning workouts!
I know this to be true from personal experience. Every morning when my alarm goes off at 4 A.M. my personal battle begins. I look at the clock, curse myself for being awake at this hour and start to think of the advantages of going back to sleep until 7 A.M.
I’ve learned that the best thing I can do to prevent the resistance of getting out of my heavenly bed, is to pull off the covers, quickly, and get going. I also remind myself of the benefits of my early morning workouts. It’s enough to get me moving! Before I know it, I’m dressed and ready to squat, sprint, swing, and press for the next hour.
To help you, the reader, get out of bed and lifting weights before sunrise, I created a list of the 10 greatest benefits of early morning workouts. If you’re contemplating switching your workouts, so that it’s the first thing you do every morning, then keep reading and find out how they can help you too! So, on those tough days, you can remind yourself of the benefits that out weigh the pain you feel getting up.
The Benefits Of Early Morning Workouts
1. No One Else Is Awake
I think this is my favorite reason to get up and train early in the morning. I live in a small city in Southern California, and this is the only time of day when I can get some peace and quiet, period! By 6am, there’s already the sounds of traffic, other people getting ready for the day, and other activity that are very distracting.
The quiet and calm, help me stay focused on getting started and moving. During the wee hours, there is nothing to distract me, and I’m able to focus better on every rep of each exercise I do. This makes my workouts both great for my body and mind. It leaves with better focus, in general, for the rest of the day!
2. You’ll Burn More Calories And Lose Fat Faster
If your goal is to lose some excess body fat or keep it off, you’ll love this benefit too.
I experienced it for myself. Within 2 weeks of training first thing in the morning, without eating breakfast, I noticed being visibly leaner and losing fat faster as compared to afternoon workouts. Over the months preceding my change in schedule, my weight loss progress had slowed down, plateaued. I lost about 50 pounds by exercising, intermittent fasting, and using MCT Oil to help with fat loss. I still had 15 or so more to lose. This one change made all the difference.
Research supports my observation. Results from one study finds that 60 minutes of exercise, one hour before you consume breakfast, enables your body to burn 60% more calories from fat than early afternoons and evening workouts. That’s a significant increase, and without additional exercise or changes to your diet. Don’t neglect your diet of course, since it’s fundamental to losing fat, and keeping it off.
The subjects didn’t train too hard in this study either. Their workouts consisted of cycling at a moderate intensity (able to have conversations). Consequently, doing higher intensity workouts like Crossfit, kettlebells, etc. may enable you to burn off even more fat.
3. You’ll Have All The Equipment To Yourself
Since I train at home, alone, this isn’t an issue. However, when I’m away from home and working out at a public gym, I’m reminded of this benefit.
Exercising after work, there’s a line for the squat rack, and you have to search the gym for the second 50 pound dumbbell. Early morning, at 4 or 5 A.M., all of the equipment will be available and organized so that you can use and quickly get done!
This makes it easy to do pretty much any type of workout you want without feeling in the way or waiting for that guy to finish doing barbell curls on the squat rack. Whether you’re interested in doing Crossfit WODs, powerlifting, want to do some Tabata or circuit style workouts, you will have the freedom to get after it without disruption.
4. It Frees Up Lots Of Extra Time
Since there’s no one to chat with, and there’s no line for equipment, traffic is extremely minimal, etc. early morning workouts will free up an extra 30-60 minutes every day you train. The time quickly adds up to several hours a week; you can train more or get to that hobby or class you’ve been meaning to take!
I suppose this is where the quote “Discipline Equals Freedom” comes from- It certainly works for me! Early morning workouts give me a lot more time during the day to not only finish my work, but I finally have time to surf, and hang out with my wife! As soon as I begin to slack off, this freedom vanishes.Don’t forget that: the freedom is gone because I don’t have enough time!
5. Early Morning Workouts Help Discipline Other Parts Of Your Life Too
Early morning squats, swings, and sprints are not limited to only building stronger muscles and bones. Working out before dawn gives me extra discipline to get more done at work, stick to my diet, and follow through on things I would normally avoid doing.
No matter how tired I feel before my workout, once I’m done I don’t stop moving. That image of continuous movement that gets me out of bed, is the same image that supports my will power for the rest of the day and all remaining tasks!
Working out in the late morning or afternoon doesn’t seem to provide as much of a benefit in this regard. Sure, I feel great post-workout, but not nearly as energetic and focused on my goals for the rest of the day. Plus, add to that, the hours that have not been productive pre-workout.
6. You’ll Have More Energy
Forget about slugging down several coffees, Red Bulls, and other energy ‘boosters’ that are accompanied by a big crash a few hours later. Nothing gives you sustained all-day energy like 10 sets of squats and push presses at 4:30 in the morning!
I know, doing demanding exercises like squats first thing in the morning may seem a little nuts; believe me, it’s not. You may curse me and everyone else you know some mornings, but remind yourself of all the benefits!
Once you’re done, it’ll be a whole new world. Your muscles may feel a little tired but your mind and body will be awake and ready to get started with the day. This is without drinking an ounce of coffee or energy drinks.
A caffeine free way to give yourself a little extra boost on the days you really need it pre or post workout is to take a tablespoon of MCT oil. Our own MCT Edge is my go to. It enables your body to burn fat for energy and is especially good for improving your ability to focus harder, longer for several hours, without the crash like caffeine.
7. You Gain A Competitive Advantage Over Everyone Else
I know, I know, it’s not a good idea to compare yourself to others. I do my best not to and hope you do too.
That being said, it does feel pretty awesome to know that by 5:30 in the morning I’ve already trained and am ready to get to work, an hour or so before most everyone else is even thinking about waking up. It feels pretty damn good and is a nice thing to be able to remind myself of when I don’t feel like getting out of bed.
So while you don’t want to compare yourself with others, or gloat about the fact you train at a time of day most won’t, keep in mind that it does give you a nice, big, win at the start of the day!!
8. You Can Train Again Later In The Day
This is for all of you who live to train or need to get in more than one workout a day for your sport, job, etc.
Since you’ve freed up an extra hour or so in the morning, you can now use that time to train again on your lunch break or after work. Studies show that doing multiple workouts on a regular basis will help you lose fat, build muscle, and get stronger, faster.
If you’re going to do this, start slowly. Make both workouts last no more than 30 minutes. As you become more accustomed to the schedule, you can increase the length and intensity of each workout.
I would also recommend making each workout slightly different to make them more effective. You can do this by training different muscles, doing different exercises, and changing up the number of sets and reps done.
One last tip is to back off doing 1 workout a day every 3-4 weeks for a week or two. It will help you recover and decrease the risk of you becoming injured or burned out.
9. You’ll Skip Workouts Less Often
The fewer workouts you miss, the faster you will lose fat, build muscle, and accomplish your fitness or sport related goals. Early morning workouts make the likelihood of you missing a workout a lot less likely.
Think about it, how many emergencies or distractions do you typically face at 4 AM? Sure, they happen. The kitchen sink pipes may burst, your kids get sick, you have to travel, etc. This happens much less frequently than it does at 9 AM, noon, or after work. There are thousands of distractions lurking out there, looking to get in your way and keep you from doing what’s so important.
You also have more energy and willpower at the start of the day since you haven’t had to speak, think, or do anything else! Use it to get moving and train hard. The results over time will make it all worthwhile. I promise!
10. Sleep Better & Faster
Regular exercise often helps you sleep better, and faster. Studies show morning workouts really help. Within a few workouts you’ll find that you fall asleep faster and feel more refreshed when you wake up.
You also won’t need as much sleep as you did before starting early morning workouts. Granted this will vary from person to person regarding quantity of sleep, but judging from my own experience, along with several others I’ve discussed this with, all agree that they require about an hour less sleep per night, on average.
I also find that, unless I’m fatigued from over exercising, or am stressed out for other reasons, I wake up before my alarm. I get out of bed easier too, which has long been a problem of mine.
Now you know why you should starting working out early in the morning. If you haven’t already, give it a try! Stick to it for 30 days and compare your experience to training at your normal time.
Don’t worry if the first couple workouts aren’t so great. It took me about 10 days to get into the routine and feel like I was actually getting a good workout. As the days and weeks progressed I noticed that my fitness level and intensity equalled the most effective workouts I experienced later in the day. I continue to improve too. After a month exercising early in the morning, my fitness had evolved to surpass those that I had during the day!
Whenever you may not feel like getting out of bed, remind yourself, that these benefits await you and just go for it!