This is Part I in a three-part series to help you pick the best time to workout for fat loss. Today I’ll be talking about the pros and cons of morning workouts and of course giving you ideas on how to make the best of them. Check out Part II (Afternoon Workouts) and Part III (Evening Workouts).
I don’t believe that there’s a specific time to workout that’s best for fat loss because that flies in the face of the fact that the most important factor to lose fat with exercise is to exercise consistently.
But there are advantages to working out at certain times of day, and I’m going to highlight the pros and cons of working out in the morning, afternoon, and night. This way you have all the information you need at your fingertips to make the right decision of when the best time would be to workout for YOU. Now let’s dive into mornings.
What are the pros of morning workouts?
#1 You could lose more fat…
It’s easier to workout fasted first thing in the morning because you haven’t eaten anything for at least six hours. This means that your body is primed to use excess fat for fuel because there’s little available glucose for energy floating around from a recent meal.
#2 You have a hormonal advantage
The hormones responsible for fat loss are at their peak at this time and fasting can boost these hormones over time. This means that you can get a huge benefit from your workouts just by doing the right workouts first thing. Efficient (short) high-intensity workouts can help you take advantage of this.
#3 You’re more likely to keep your commitment to yourself
You’re more likely to keep your workout commitment to yourself, which will help you build and maintain a consistent workout habit. This is the obvious “Get it out of the way” reason and you can read more about it here.
#4 If your breakfast options are not so healthy, your workouts can help…
Your body processes carbohydrates much more efficiently after a workout, so if you’re stuck with breakfast pastries like you would find in a hotel breakfast buffet, then you’d want to workout in the morning.
What are the cons of morning workouts?
#1 You might not have the energy to pull it off
Working out in the morning means that you’re likely to be doing it on an empty stomach, and if you go for really long workouts or long high-intensity workouts, It’s so easy to hit a wall because you’re less likely to have the energy to perform at high intensity since you’re yet to break your fast.
#2 You can increase your chances of dehydration
If you don’t hydrate properly, you can increase your chance of feeling the symptoms of dehydration like intense headaches. And this can reduce your motivation to maintain your workout habit especially if you don’t know that you can tweak your workout behaviors to help with this.
#3 You have to pay more attention to your warm-ups and do your exercise with proper form
Your muscles are cold and can be more prone to injury if you don’t warm up properly. A lot of us don’t take even a little time to warm up and this can make it harder for you to explore the full range of motion of your movements or even do the exercises without moving in ways that can hurt you.
How can you make the most of your morning workouts?
#1 Make it easier for you to keep your workout commitment
Have your alarms set and your clothes laid out the night before: This helps you make sure you wake up and ensures that your clothes are in plain view so you’re less likely to roll over and skip your workout.
#2 Treat it like any other important priority
If you’re having trouble getting your workout in early, consider it as important as a meeting with your boss about a promotion you’ve been wanting, a project that you’ve had an eye on that’ll boost your profile in the company, a meeting with an important business partner that’ll take your business to new heights, or your child’s doctor’s appointment.
I think you get by now that what I’m trying to say is to make it a “can’t miss” appointment that goes on your calendar complete with a “Do Not Disturb!” or “Busy” tag.
#3 Drink plenty of water
Hydrate! Have a bottle of water with you at all times and drink early and often during your workout. Ideally, you should make water breaks a part of your workout so that staying hydrated is a priority. Your body will thank you later.
#4 Don’t skip the warm-up
Design your workout to include exercises that’ll warm up the major muscle groups you’re using. This way, you’re less likely to injure yourself. Save stretching for after the workout for the same reason.
Exercise is an important tool to help you live a healthy lifestyle, but there are more…
In You Don’t Need a Diet, I break down why diets don’t work to help you get healthy and lose weight, but I also share the eight tools you need to get results without dieting + how to get started no matter how busy you are.