Whether you’re just starting out with workouts, or you’ve been doing midday or night sessions, transitioning into morning workouts can be a big adjustment.
Recently I was in the habit of going straight after work, mostly due to winter and I was struggling to get up in the dark and the cold. But I found myself falling into old habits of bailing on the 5pm gym sessions. I knew I could do morning workouts if I put my mind to it. And that I would feel much better for it.
The benefits of doing morning workouts include:
boosted metabolism and fat burning throughout the day
it’s done and there’s no time for excuses
you feel like you’ve accomplished something
a switch up in exercise routine is good for the system, like a reboot – perfect if you’ve hit a plateau
My top tips for transitioning into morning workouts:
1) Set yourself up for success
First things first, waking up. This may take some time to slowly make this change. If you know you’ll struggle, plan your start date for morning workouts about 2 weeks out. Over the next two weeks, set your alarm 5 or 10 minutes earlier. Practice hopping straight out of bed and doing something, anything, as long as you’re not on the couch or bed. As you get closer you can do some stretches, yoga or a walk around the block. This also means going to bed a bit earlier, so alter your schedule on the front-end too. Developing a good night time routine will help.
Next, I recommend getting your gym bag ready. The night before, lay out your clothes… or you can sleep in them! Get your water bottle ready. Shoes and keys by the door. Making your path as easy as possible. The other thing to think about is, can you get into your gym that early? Do you need a 24hr fob? Is your membership all set up and ready?
2) Do something you enjoy
This is crucial to your success. If you’re not looking forward to a gruelling bootcamp, you're less likely to get up and go. If you're just starting out, start easy and go at your own pace. There’s a lot of options for you, from yoga, dance, swimming, running, weights. Just trust your gut and do something that makes you feel good and you’re excited to go to.
3) Getting the right fuel
There’s supposedly benefits to doing “fasted” workouts on an empty stomach, but I trust a few experts that claim the results are sketchy at best. Personally I don’t like to have a meal right before I workout. I recommend a glass of water, to ensure you’re hydrated. You can add lemon if you like, to kickstart your digestion and flush some stuff out. If you’re keen, you could have something small like a banana for quick healthy energy. Some people have pre-workout, coffee, or BCAA’s, but honestly, just don’t overcomplicate it.
After your workout, have some protein and carbs, fats ideally as well. Suggestions: eggs and a piece of toast, peanut butter toast, cereal with protein shake as the milk (or yoghurt on top), overnight oats, protein oatmeal/porridge, yoghurt with granola and fruit, a really nutrient-dense protein shake, bacon/ham and beans, protein pancakes.
Side note, this change might make you feel like you’re weak and have no endurance. It’s just your body getting used to working out on less energy. I particularly felt this when I changed from night to morning workouts, lifting the same weight and doing the same cardio felt substantially harder at first. But stick with it, you’ll get there.
So there you go. You’ve got this. You will be amazed at the results. You just need to commit and dedicate that time to you. I promise it will be worth it.
P.S. I just thought of one more tip. Organise a friend to meet you. Or pick them up and go together. Having an Accounta-buddy can work wonders for actually showing up.