Discovering The Best Early Morning Workouts Tips
I work out at 4 AM, 7 days a week. I love it and always look forward to starting off my day being energized and clear headed after an intense early morning workout.
While I love doing it now, working out very early in the morning doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve always felt great when I did it, but was never consistent enough to turn it into a habit.
What I needed were tips, help to ensure I worked out early in the morning. Since I obviously didn’t know any, I did some research and lots of testing. I came up with 10 tips for early morning workouts. You’ll learn how to apply each in this article.
How I Got Started
That changed this summer. I challenged myself to get up at 4:30 every morning for 30 days in a row. The motivation to begin was the culmination of months of frustration. I’d get up early and train a week or so and then fall off the wagon, sleeping in and oftentimes not exercising at all.
Help from Jocko Willink’s Podcast
One great source of inspiration to do it and ‘get back in the game’ was Jocko Willink’s podcast. I recommend checking it out if you need support in getting anything done.
Let the Cat Out of the Bag
Once I started, I told myself there is no turning back since that will only mean starting over and taking even longer to achieve this challenge. Plus I told everyone I knew I was doing it. This meant if I gave up, my friends and family would also know! I couldn’t risk the embarrassment!
Changing My Perspective
Last but not least, I realized that doing this is a real privilege. I wasn’t getting up to go to work outside in the cold, or shovel snow. The one word I use is ‘choice,’ this is my choice. I am doing this to improve myself and am not being forced! Having this mindset made it all a lot more fun- that is, once my workout is done.
Results of My Early Morning Workouts
After completing my 30 day challenge I was hooked. The benefits it gave me include:
- I lost more fat without eating differently.
- I’m able to focus longer and think clearer throughout the day.
- I feel less hungry even though I’m training intensely on an empty stomach.
- I get more done on the days I wake up early and train hard.
- My mood has improved
I’ve learned and figured out several tips that make working out early in the morning much easier. They’re helpful for not only getting out of bed but making it possible to train just as hard as you would later in the day. Maybe even harder.
Give them a try and see for yourself how much easier they make getting out of bed before dawn and going for your best workouts! Try them out for 30 days and let me know if they’ve worked or if you have any tips to add! After this article, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start lifting weights and sprinting at 4:30 A.M. sooner!
Tips For Awesome Early Morning Workouts
1. Get Enough Sleep
While this is pretty self explanatory it still needs to be emphasized.
Getting enough sleep – typically between 6-8 hours – is when our bodies recover and recuperate from the previous day’s stress, like your workout. Studies also show that getting enough sleep regularly is key to staying physically and mentally healthy, keeping off excess fat, and supply optimal productivity both in and out the gym.
Remember, early morning workouts aren’t about punishing yourself. It’s about waking up early to workout and get the most out of every day, get the most out of life! Getting enough sleep every night is what you need to do to make it happen. If you don’t already know how much you need, test yourself. Do you feel refreshed when you wake up? Don’t judge, just monitor.
Nutritional Support For Better Sleep
If you have trouble getting to sleep easily and waking up feeling rested, there’s help. It’s not addictive and won’t make you feel hungover in the morning like some supplements and most drugs.
This supplement is called ZMA. It’s name is short for zinc and magnesium aspartate, the two key ingredients. The aspartate name in each of these minerals, is what makes this product so effective. Without getting too deep into the weeds, it’s a type zinc and magnesium that our bodies absorb and utilize well. This helps it to work quickly and consistently.
Since both zinc and magnesium are both used by your body during intense workouts, and hundreds of other bodily functions, supplementing with it is a great insurance policy for your overall health benefit too.
Back to getting better sleep. It’s the magnesium aspartate in ZMA that makes it great for a good night’s sleep. I’ve been taking it regularly for years. It helps me relax and get to sleep for a solid 6-7 hours every night.
I never feel hungover, like I do when taking melatonin, another great benefit. My wife loves ZMA. She’s been taking it for a couple of years too! Having trouble sleeping most of her life, she’s tried many options, but always having the side effect of dragging the next day. ZMA has been the only sleep aid that’s worked for her!
You can learn more about ZMA here.
2. Take The Right Kind Of Energy Supplement
The first thing I do after drinking a glass of water in the morning is follow it with a tablespoon of MCT oil, a healthy fat with many benefits. I do this because it’s such an effective energy supplement. MCT oil is found in coconuts, milk, and butter in small amounts.
Within 15 minutes of taking my daily dose, I feel alert, focused, and energized to train! Excuse the hyperbole, but sometimes it makes me feel so energized, I sometimes feel capable of pushing my car uphill… for a couple of miles! My anxiety disappears and I’m ready to tackle the day.
How Does MCT Oil Increase Your Energy?
The fats in MCT oil are digested very quickly and help produce energy creating compounds in your liver. They’re called ketones. Ketones are particularly advantageous to your brain as they are used for energy. The results? You feel more energetic, physically warm and alert.
How Much Should You Take?
How much should you take, is an important question, since it can make you nauseous. If you aren’t already taking MCT oil, it’s a good idea to start off with a small amount. Begin with a teaspoon. Work up from there to a tablespoon at a time. If you experience an upset stomach, back off your dosage for a little while before increasing it again.
My wife uses full fat canned coconut milk in her coffee with one tablespoon of MCT Oil. It keeps her full for hours, with no stomach problems.
Since it has no flavor, you can take it right off the spoon.
Make sure the MCT oil you take contains the right types of MCTs and is made of 100% pure, pharmaceutical grade and ecologically responsible. My choice is MCT Edge, which we made to meet these standards.
Learn more about MCT Edge here.
Another Supplement For The Days You’re Really Dragging
On days when I feel very low energy or when like I need an extra kick, I take a caffeine supplement or drink coffee or black tea. Since I’m not a big coffee drinker, my goal is take a big shot of caffeine without feeling sick.
The solution is to blend a tablespoon of MCT Edge into a 4 ounce cup of coffee and drink it in one shot. The effects kick in within approximately 15 minutes, and last for several hours!
My favorite coffee for a pre-workout jump-start is Chameleon brand coffee. Mocha is my favorite flavor.
In addition to tasting chocolately and all around awesome, I need only drink 4 ounces. This gives me 270 mg of energy boosting caffeine. I’m not bouncing off the wall or bugging out, feeling anxious after drinking it either. I simply feel alert, focused and ready for a great early morning training.
If you’re looking for the occasional anxiety free energy boost or are a coffee lover, Chameleon coffee is worth trying. I buy it at my local Whole Foods. You can also buy Cold Brew here and the company’s website.
3. Do Your Early Morning
I know this may not be preferred by all of you, and that’s okay. I do know for myself, and others I’ve spoken to, that training at home makes it easier to get it in a session everyday.
My wife finishes her training outside, when the sun rises.
This is probably because it’s faster and more efficient to wake up, take some MCTs, get ready, and then train. This can all be done in 15 minutes. Maybe even less. In addition to saving time you don’t have to experience the hassle of going outside, and driving on a cold, dark, early morning.
Keep It Simple
I make it as simple as possible for myself to get in an early morning workout. As soon as I wake up, I turn on the lights, get dressed, drink MCTs and water, and then go into the room of our home where I train. Since we live where it’s warm most of the year, I’ll often go outside for my early morning workout. Whichever location I choose, I don’t have to think or put much effort into getting started! The more steps you have to take, the less likely you will do it! Don’t think- just do!
Your home gym doesn’t have to be big and expensive. You can get really fit, lean, and strong using very little equipment, fitting a very small space. All you need are a few kettlebells, sandbags, and a chin up bar. This shouldn’t cost more than $100 initially.
Even if you train at a Crossfit box or really love your gym, I advise training at home at least some of the time. One way is to do a quick early morning session from home for 15-30 minutes and then do your second, more intense and longer session later in the day. Done right, a brief morning workout can actually help you perform better during your second workout.
4. Get Out Of Bed And Don’t Sit Down
I find that if I don’t let myself sit down or stop moving, not even for a second, I get started sooner and have a much better workout.
Remember, an object (you) in motion tends to stay in motion. Move around while you drink your water and take your MCTs. If you want to pause, do so in a squatting position. Otherwise, move around as you get ready.
Within 15 minutes you’ll be ready to get started with your workout. Remember, you’ve been sleeping for 6-8 hours and not moving a whole lot. So, instead of jumping into a super intense workout right way or resting for another hour on the couch to ‘get ready,’ just keep moving while you prepare.
One way to get moving before training is to incorporate the next tip I list, into your morning routine.
5. Start Your Early Morning Workout With Squats
Before I do any type of stretching or other warm-up exercise, I squat. Simply squatting down as low as I can go, and holding it for about a minute really loosens me up from head to toe.
Squatting like this requires mobility throughout your body, from your toes to your head. Everything must be in line, in order for you to easily squat. Your butt should be a few inches from the ground, holding the position for a minute or longer.
Start slowly, squatting as low as possible. Repeat this 3-5 times every morning, holding each squat for as long as possible. Once you can get your butt to the floor, work on staying in this position for a minute or two.
After doing these squats you’ll feel warmed-up and ready to train. Following this, perform a few sets of kettlebell swings and push ups.
6. The Best Type Of Workout
The best early morning workouts are total body workouts. These training sessions require you to use all major muscles, including your chest, back, legs, and shoulders.
Training these muscle groups in a single exercise and workout, force you to work much harder than a movement that trains a single, smaller muscle like your calves or biceps. When you push yourself doing lots of swings, squats, presses, and pull ups, you get the results you want faster.
Doing these exercises and total body workouts will help you burn more calories, lose fat rapidly, build more muscle, and get stronger faster. They’re also great for waking you up early in the morning and get your metabolism working.
Your total body workout doesn’t have to be complicated. One day’s workout may be 5 sets of kettlebell swings, squats, and overhead presses. Another may be doing as many sets of kettlebell squats or swings possible in 30 minutes.
Use your imagination and have fun! Just make sure to choose between 1-5 exercises that train the large muscles of your body (legs, chest, shoulders, etc.). Do each for 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps and you’re on the way to owning the day!
7. Remind Yourself It’s Only 15 Minutes
This helps me when it’s cold and dark and the bed is feeling really warm and comfortable. On these days I tell myself that I only have to get out bed and workout for 15 minutes. After that it’s okay to go back to bed.
This works for me every time. I get out of bed and get started. I haven’t ever trained for less than 30 minutes to date using this trick. I don’t think I’ve ever gone back to bed either. Once my workout is done I feel so good that sleep is the last thing I want to do. Instead I’m ready to get the day started and feeling great about having lots of time left.
If this doesn’t work for you, it may be helpful to break it down even more. Start with just getting out of bed and drinking a glass of water. Then tell yourself you only have to get changed. Keeping doing this step by step until your workout is complete. Don’t forget to tell yourself, this can change my life!
8. Set 3 Alarms And Put Them Away From Your Bed
Here’s another helpful tip that works well with tip #7. Whether you use your phone, an alarm clock, or a watch, most have the ability to set more than one alarm. Take advantage and set 3 for yourself, spaced 3-5 minutes apart.
Place your phone across the room. This means I have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. If for some reason your discipline breaks and you go back to bed, BOOM, another will go off in a few minutes. After doing it 3 times, you won’t want to go back to bed.
9. Get Prepared The Night Before
This super simple tips pays huge dividends. Setting out my clothes, sneakers, water glass, and MCT Edge, the night before helps you get ready to workout without having to fumble around for things in the dark when you’re still half asleep. That requires too much thinking and be enough of an obstacle to send you right back to bed!
If you sleep with someone else, they’ll appreciate it too. I do this every evening and then get out of bed as stealth like as possible. My wife doesn’t lose a second of sleep, which is good for us both.
10. Don’t Eat Before Your Workout
That’s right, you shouldn’t have anything to eat when you’re training early in the morning. It takes up too much time and won’t benefit your workout. This may sound crazy but it’s true. I’ve gone 48 hours without eating and my workouts are still great.
Remember, since you’ve been fasting overnight your body is running on ketones and stored body fat. Training now can help you burn off even more excess fat. You may also find that any post-workout muscle soreness decreases when you train in a fasted state. My wife and I do. It makes it possible to train more often, which is nice.
If you are worrying about not having enough energy, don’t. I did too and wish I hadn’t. It took a little while to get used to, both mentally and physically, but any feelings of hunger or low energy I experienced early on, diminished to eventually disappear completely. Give it a week or two and you’ll be used to it too.
This is another reason to take a spoonful of MCT oil pre-workout. It helps you body make more ketones which means even more energy for you to use.
You now have 10 tips for getting your early morning workout done every day. No more excuses. Give them a try for 30 days and see for yourself how well they work and how training first thing every day, benefits your body, mind, and every other aspect of your life!