Learn How to Workout in the Morning
There is a general consensus among many gym goers that the early morning workout lovers are an odd bunch. Waking up at 5am to travel (in the dark) to the gym before work is a ritual that most people happily avoid, and with good reason! Of course, there are many benefits to training early in the morning — and for some people, work and family commitments make it impossible to train at any other time. In this article, we are going to help those of you who suddenly need to start training early to adjust to this new routine.
6 Easy Steps to Working Out in the Morning
Step One: Sort Your Sleep Out
Sleep is the most important thing that we do every day. It is where the body recharges and recovers from the day before. It is where your hormones are balanced and where your muscle fibers are repaired and recover. Sleep reduces stress, removes fatigue, and improves mood.
When you decide to workout earlier, you will need to adjust your sleeping schedule to compensate for this. If you are waking up at 5 or 6am, then you shouldn’t be going to bed past midnight.
It may take a couple of weeks for your body to fully adjust to this new sleeping routine, but it will be well worth it. Getting eight hours of quality sleep can help regulate your hunger/satiety hormones (great for people looking to lose weight), and will also prevent a loss of testosterone in men.
Step Two: Avoid Fasted Workouts
There is a myth that training on an empty stomach is beneficial for fat loss, as the body will prioritize body fat as its energy source during a workout.
This is not only untrue, but it can in fact lead to a poor workout — meaning even less calories will be burned!
A study addressed this issue, and found that the lack of energy that fasting created was far more influential than any benefits that might occur.
This does not mean that if you regularly skip breakfasts that you need to switch to a 700 calorie meal 10 minutes before your session. A whey protein shake and a banana may be the perfect pre-workout food for you.
Just remember that when you were training in the afternoon or evening, you would have had some lunch in you — and maybe some snacks, too. Switching to nothing will leave you feeling weak and fatigued.
If you feel that you absolutely HAVE to train fasted, then making sure that you have a high carb and high protein meal/snack after your workout is definitely necessary! A study found that immediate protein/carb intake is required for muscle-protein synthesis to occur.
In other words, without protein before or after your workout, your muscles will not be able to recover and benefit from the workout.
Step Three: Reduce the Intensity of Your Session
When you first make the switch to a morning session, it might be a good idea to lower the intensity of your workouts for the first couple of weeks. Just until your circadian rhythms have adjusted. Give yourself longer rests and utilize a thorough warm up. Consider reducing the volume of your workout, too. These are all just precautions. As is always the case, listen to your body.
Step Four: Use Caffeine
It is a known fact that power output normally decreases in the morning compared to the evening. A study gave athletes caffeine at a dosage of 3mg/kg.
This was enough to reverse the effects of the circadian rhythms on power output. We already know that caffeine can reduce fatigue, improve athletic performance, and improve mental focus, so this additional benefit is a fantastic bonus.
Note: Just a quick explanation of what 3mg/kg of caffeine is. First find out what your bodyweight in kg is. For this example, let’s say it’s 70kg. You would consume 3mg of caffeine for every kg of bodyweight, which would equal 210mg. There is around 100mg in a large cup of black coffee — so as you can imagine, 3mg/kg is quite a high dosage. Remember that this study was done in laboratory conditions under the supervision of professionals. If you are going to give this a go yourself, try a lower dose first and assess your tolerance.
Step Five: Save Time for a Shower
There is no quicker way to lose the respect and friendship of your work colleagues then to turn up to the office sweating profusely and filling the office with body odor. Many people try to avoid showering in their gyms, but if you are doing so before work then you don’t have that option. Schedule it into your gym time and don’t forget a towel!
Step Six: Post-Workout Protein
Having a tub of protein powder in your gym bag, car, or office is a really good idea. Even if you’ve had breakfast before your workout, a second protein shake is a great way to 1) stimulate protein synthesis (the process that helps you build bigger, stronger muscles) and 2) keep you sated before lunch.
Workouts can leave you feeling ravenous and having a huge 4-5 hour gap before lunch can cause you to seek out high-calorie foods. Drinking a protein shake will help prevent this, as protein is great at providing satiety.
While there are a lot of adjustments that need to be made for a smooth transition, the benefits of getting your training done at the beginning of the day are numerous.
Gyms are usually a lot quieter at this time, meaning that you can have better access to the equipment you require. You’ve also got your workout out of the way, which can give you your evenings back. Your journey to the gym will also be quicker as the roads aren’t as busy.
Train at whatever time suits you best. Your body is able to adapt to whatever schedule you put it on (eventually). Just concentrate on the benefits, and try to mitigate the negatives.
Remember that whatever you choose, consistency is key to building muscle and getting a better body!
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