I generally work out right after work. Sometimes, like when I have dinner plans or a happy hour set up right after work, I’ll get up earlier to work out that morning. The morning workouts never catch on because it’s hard enough for me to get up and go to work as it is. However, on those rare occasions that I do work out in the morning, I feel a lot better during the day – not only physically, but I’m also happy that my workout is over with and I get to enjoy my entire evening.
Since the start of the year, I’ve been making an effort to exercise in the morning. I don’t plan to make the change over night and I know I’ll still work out in the evenings on some occasions (like when I’ve had a late night the night before or if there is a class I want to take … orrr if I’m lazy and don’t get out of bed in time).
These are the main reasons I want to get into the routine of working out in the morning:
- My evenings are free to do whatever I’d like (social stuff, blog stuff, wedding stuff, fun stuff with G, etc.)
- It establishes a good routine (my work schedule is flexible – it’s great, but it doesn’t provide a good routine)
- Get it over with early (I enjoy working out, but there are those days when I’m not feeling it after work).
- Less likely to skip a workout (my relationship with exercise ebbs and flows and I think morning exercise would help)
- The gym is mine (the gym is MUCH less crowded in the mornings before work – I despise a crowded gym)
- No rushing (I don’t like it when my days feel rushed – getting into a routine and checking off exercise first might help)
- Promotes being more active (with free evenings, especially in the summer, I can go on walks, play tennis, go swimming, etc. – when I work out in the evening, I generally don’t do these things)
- Sets the tone for the day (I do feel like starting the day in a healthful way sets a tone for being healthy the rest of the day; translation: I’ll put down the fried food and pick up a clean salad so that I don’t waste my workout)
- Sets your Circadian Rhythm? (at least according to this article)
- Get more out of the day (if I get up early to work out, I’ll get off earlier, so I’ll have more time to enjoy the good life)
I’m sure there are tons of other benefits that I’m missing (share yours in the comments … I’ll use them for motivation 😉 ) and exercising in the morning would benefit everyone differently, but these are my main reasons for my desire to work out in the morning. Now here are the obstacles:
Sleep. I was ALWAYS that girl at the slumber party that was the last one awake. Even after everyone laid down to go to sleep, I’d be the last one with my eye’s open, twiddling my thumbs while I listened to everyone’s slowing cadence of breaths. It still takes me a long time to fall asleep. About 50% of the time, it takes me 30 minutes to an hour to fall asleep. About 10% of the time, it takes more than an hour. The other 40% of the time are those glorious nights when I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I usually have trouble falling asleep on the nights that I start worrying about the next day or my to-do list. I do not think having a flexible work schedule helps sleep issues – sure, you can sleep longer if you had trouble falling asleep the night before, but that jacks up your routine even more. My number one obstacle for working out in the morning will be sleep issues.
Energy. Although this could be directly associated with sleep, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s just damn hard to get out of bed before the crack of dawn no matter how much sleep you get. The likelihood of getting to the gym in the morning really starts to dwindle when I start picturing myself at the gym, torturing myself on the “dreadmill”.
Weather. Sometimes it’s below zero degrees in the morning. Sometimes it’s snowy and icy. Sometimes it’s a blizzard. I live in an apartment. I don’t have a garage. I’m a firm believer that when you torture yourself for exercise, you’ll end up hating it. I don’t plan on going to the gym in the morning on those awfully cold days (at least until I have a house with a garage where I can warm up my car while I’m getting dressed).
Life. Stuff happens. Right now, I have marriage classes and other church classes (I’m a sponsor for a Catholic-in-training) two nights a week. Sometimes those classes get out late. Sometimes I have happy hours with the girls and get home late. Sometimes we have a birthday party or a family dinner and we’ll get home late. Hopefully I’ll still be able to coax myself out of bed the next morning to hit the gym, but there will be times that I don’t. This is where having a routine helps, too. Once I get into a fairly consistent routine of working out in the morning, a couple late nights shouldn’t be enough to take out my entire regime.
I don’t like rigid regimes. While I’d like to start working out in the morning the majority of the time, I know that there will be times when I can’t, when I won’t. That’s okay. The gym will always be there that evening (it better be, I’m paying good money for that place).
For me, the benefits of becoming a morning exerciser greatly outweigh the cons. I know it takes time to get into a routine, but this is one that I’d like to focus on this year. I don’t expect it to happen over night and I do expect many slip-ups. I figure being realistic about this goal and accepting that it will take time (maybe even years!) will make it that much more attainable.
Do you prefer to work out in the morning or in the evening? Why?