Pros and Cons of Early Morning Workouts

I’m not one of those incredibly lucky people who love to work out. I kinda hate it no matter what I do, but I always feel amazing after, and I love how it makes me look. Anyway, no matter when I work out during the day, I’m not happy about it, but getting up to exercise before work makes it even harder. I decided to look into why people say it’s better to work out as a start to your day. There are no reliable peer reviewed sources on the topic, so I’ll try to discuss what I’ve read on Ace Fitness and WebMD.

morning-exercise

Both of these websites say that it is a fact that those who consistently workout in the morning are more successful at making it a habit. I can’t find a real source for that anywhere, but it seems most experts think it is true. However, they also say that working out in the afternoon yields the best performance because the body has already been warmed up. Higher body temperature is correlated with higher performance.

My List

PROS of morning workouts

1. When it is over, I feel like a million bucks. I go home, shower, start my day refreshed… I feel more awake and alert throughout the rest of my day. I get more done, and I tend to make healthy eating decisions moreso than when I exercise at night.

2. It’s done. I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to worry what the traffic will be like later. I can relax, do laundry, cook a nice dinner, do some reading, catch up on some shows… I don’t have to squeeze in a workout and a shower.

3. This is kind of nit-picky, but I prefer to shower in the morning. CrossFit gets me pretty sweaty, so I HAVE to shower after. If I go to class in the evening and shower after, it’s pretty wasteful to take another shower in the morning. But I LIKE morning showers. So working out in the morning vibes better with my preferred showering schedule.

4. I don’t get as stiff. After a morning workout, I go home and shower and go on with my day. This includes various movements, walking, climbing stairs, standing, fidgeting… After an evening workout, I mostly just sit around, then go to sleep. It allows my muscles to stiffen up a lot more.

CONS of morning workouts

1. Getting up. Uhhh… There was also a lot of talk on those two pages about circadian rhythms and how you are either a night owl or morning sunshine psycho. JK. But seriously. My morning CrossFit class is at 5:30 AM, and getting up is awful.

2. I don’t perform as well. I’m stiffer, I’m groggy, I do a lot of yawning. I don’t have the same powerful focus that I do in an afternoon workout.

3. I need more warm-up. I’m very stiff in the mornings after 7+ years of running and intense CrossFit workouts, I creak and crack everywhere. I need more time to work out those kinks than I do late in the day.

tired-at-gym

I guess when I’m looking at this list, the pros outweigh the cons, but the bottom line is that you exercise regularly at whatever time works for you. Don’t force yourself to get up if you’re going to hate life all day after.

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One thought on “Pros and Cons of Early Morning Workouts

  1. Tom M says:

    I think the PROs / CONs are driven primarily by two factors. The first is more pragmatic – your personal schedule. I’ve had jobs were the A.M. action was my only option to get it done! The second is your disposition, i.e., are you a morning person or a PM person. I’m not aware of a definitive study that validates there are really these types of folks- however, my years in the Army clearly demonstrate some folks don’t wake up until noon while others just get some majickal second wind. I’m a morning person, however, strangely enough, that is why I don’t like working out in the A.M. I like the PM action to put a period on my day by purging all my work day duress. Also, as an older athlete, in the PM, my body is more awake and I can warm up faster. It does takes more discipline to make the PM action happen – but it results in me sleeping much better. I do agree that physiologically, the A.M. workouts are better for recovery, especially for high-intensity workouts and the associated extended caloric burn after exercising – your blood is flowing and taking out the trash all day and there are more opportunities to properly fuel yourself during the day. The PM workout results in less blood circulation in the evening to clean your system and if you don’t properly refuel post workout and get a good dinner your body get’s nada until the breakfast and you’ll know it when you wake up.

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