sleep

Are Early Morning Workouts Killing Your Motivation and Progress?

Getting in shape can be a real pain in the ass.

So why make it tougher than it really needs to be?

Every day I witness folks trying to race towards their best body with the brakes on.

One such example is the idea of sacrificing sleep for the sake of working out. Especialy working out in the early morning.

People all over the place bitch and moan about how tough it is to get out of bed to workout at 6 am. At one gym I worked, at some folks hit the gym at 5 am! They come in all sleepy eyed and slumped over like its “time to make the donuts.”

Sure they feel great afterwards, but I always wondered how do they feel come 4 pm? Are they getting to bed around 8 or 9 for a full nights sleep? If not, what kind of sleep debt are they running towards the end of the week? Can they really make up for it on the weekend?

I’ve tried doing the whole early AM workout thing. Sometimes I would have a good workout, but my overall performance went into a tail spin over time.

I’m a huge believer that the best time to workout is when you have the most energy. If that’s 6 am then go for it. If not then don’t sweat it.

We have to get rid of this idea that making a workout harder doesn’t make it any more effective unless it’s challenging something we want. Unless you want to improve your ability to wake up earlier I see little reason to force yourself to wake up earlier or go to bed later just to exercise.

There are, of course, all sorts of supposed reasons to workout early.

-You might burn more fat working out in a fasted state.

-Your testosterone is higher in the morning.

– You’re awake longer so your metabolism is higher.

I’ve head a lot of reasons why one should workout at an early hour. I can also argue against them all.

– Being awake longer means you have more temptation and opportunities to eat.

– Testosterone can decrease from lack of sleep.

– If you’re tired you may not work as hard or long and thus won’t burn as many calories offsetting any metabolic benefits.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from waking up and hitting the gym if they like. I’m just trying to discourage this idea that there are benefits that are worth it if you really don’t want to.

Just like everything else in our fitness culture, early morning workouts are optional and not at all nessicary.

If anything not getting enough sleep should be seen as more essential. If you’re sleep sucks everything, and I mean everything, is held back. You simply cannot reach your full potential without enough sleep.

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Comments

  1. Sheryl

    This is such good news! (Not that I was killing myself to work out in the morning – I mostly do it when I know I won’t be able to fit it in any other time of day…) But it’s good not to feel guilty that I exercise when I feel like it’s “easiest” for me (when I seem to have the most energy and an feeling stretched out from moving around all day).
    Thanks!

    1. Author
      admin

      Yea the idea of early workouts as a way to get them into a busy schedule is one of the benefits for sure. But other then that it’s all good. Glad you like the post Sheryl!

  2. Laurie Mackeson

    Hey Matt – Do you have any advice/suggestions for people who like to workout in the afternoon/night-time but don’t want to have disruptive sleep as a result? Laurie

    1. Author
      admin

      The first thing I would recommend is to test late day workouts and see if they really have a negative effect on sleep. I find no negative effect when I workout even as late as 9 or 10 pm.
      If you do have a disruption I recommend looking at your routine before bed. I’m a big fan of taking an hour or so before bed to wind down with some reading or a long hot shower. Eat something light if you’re hungry and be sure to be hydrated but not too much so it won’t wake you up to go to the bathroom.

      hope that helps.

      1. Laurie Mackeson

        “test late day workouts and see if they really have a negative effect on sleep”

        You mean I have the power to make my own decisions…LOL. Seriously, I can’t believe I have learned so much about F.I but didn’t think about that strategy this time. Laurie

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