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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How to (Figuratively) Punch CrossFit Haters in the Face

I have never been part of a fitness community that garnered so much hate, especially from people who have never even tried it! The only reason I can think of for people to do this is that CrossFit calls the winners of its games “The fittest people on Earth,” which can supposedly be taken the wrong way by certain people. It is a little presumptuous, but may be deserved. More on that later.

Here are the most common complaints about CrossFit, and what you can say to the hater who says this to you.

1. “CrossFit is an easy way to hurt yourself.”

Well, gee, thanks for your concern, but you can get seriously injured doing pretty much anything athletic. Cheerleading? Football? Hockey? Just as dangerous as CrossFit. Exercising is always more dangerous (in the short term) than sitting on your couch.

2. “Bodybuilders have better aesthetics.”

This really depends on your taste in bodies. I like natural-looking muscles, not lumpy ones.

froning

bodybuild

Look at the body builder’s arms. To me, that is gross and unnatural. His shoulder is as big as his head. And this guy is one of the smaller body builders out there. But… if that’s what you like, happy lifting.

3. “CrossFit is like a cult.”

Tell me why being a member of a fitness-oriented cult is a bad thing. Then read this article.

4. “It’s too intense for me. I would have to get in shape before going.”

This is a common misconception. Every single move done at CrossFit can be scaled to any fitness level. Can’t lift 40 lbs? Move down to an 18 lb barbell. Can’t do a pushup? Go down to your knees. Can’t jump up on that box? Step up on that box. Not difficult. Sometimes, I think people use this excuse not to try it mostly because they just aren’t ready to be worked that hard. Understandable, most people aren’t. It’s uncomfortable. It’s SUPPOSED to be.

5. “All that bleeding hands and puking is not healthy and not for me.”

I’ve puked once from a CrossFit workout, and I’ve never seen anyone else puke. I’ve torn my callouses and skinned my shins, but I’ve never BLED. Maybe this was how CrossFit started, but that’s not how it is now. You only have to push yourself as hard as you want to.

6. “It’s too easy to become a CrossFit coach.”

This is the best argument against CrossFit that there is, in my opinion. A lot of the moves and lifts done in boxes require very specific form or the risk of injury skyrockets. I have never witnessed a poor CrossFit coach at any of the four boxes that I have been to, but I’ve heard enough horror stories to know that they exist. If someone uses this against me, here is what I tell them. Take responsibility for your own fitness experience. Try out a box, evaluate (silently) your coach. Does s/he seem knowledgeable? Does s/he constantly correct your form and give you pointers? If so, they are probably a satisfactory coach. If not, try a new box. Take a little responsibility for yourself. In the meantime, hopefully requirements to become a coach are improved.

7. “CrossFit causes rhabdomyolysis.”

Ugh… I don’t even want to dignify this with a response so here is a response my CrossFit coach was nice enough to write and an article by Greg Glassman, CrossFit founder.

8. “CrossFit is not about elite fitness. Power lifters can lift way more, and 19 minutes is not an elite 5k time.”

The second part is true. Professional lifters can lift more than CrossFitters, and professional runners can run faster times. However… can professional lifters run a 19 minute 5k? Can professional runners clean and jerk 350 lbs? Nope. Elite fitness in my mind is about being able to do a lot of different things. There was a survey conducted during the last Olympic Games to discuss who the public considered to be the best athlete at the games. The winner was the decathletes because they have to be great at multiple things. I think that’s what makes CrossFit “elite.” Also, CrossFit teaches you a way to move to avoid injury every day. Lifting boxes, squatting, pulling yourself up onto things.. this is functional. This is useful. I would rather be pretty good at everything than PRO at one thing. If that is not your goal, awesome, but don’t put down those trying to improve their fitness from all angles. The word “elite” here does not apply to the best at any one thing. It applies to being someone who’s all around fitness in multiple activities is the best.

 

I just want to be clear… I have nothing against people who don’t do CrossFit. I have something against people who knock it without trying it, and I have something against people who try it with the wrong attitude.

Rant over. Here is a hilarious gym video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxyZ71k99zo.