Let’s face it, we would all rather sleep in every morning for another hour or hour and a half than spend it slaving away over a stack of free-weights or an elliptical.
However, this is the best time to get some top notch fasting cardio out of the way… not to mention that your neuromuscular synapses are ready to go and recharged for any intense weight training you can throw at yourself.
Here is a list of early morning workout tips to get your butt out of bed, and into a sweat!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1. Set your alarm at least 25 feet from your bed
This strategy has been the mainstay for getting myself to switch from a PM guy, to a butt-crack of dawn exerciser. By doing this you force yourself to get up out of your bed, and trudge across or out of your room to actually disable the annoying sound.
Plus since most folks now use their smart phone as an alarm, you can couple the distance with the phone’s built in security features. So step one is to get out of bed and get that brain firing!
2. Prepare your meals the night before
I always get the BS excuse of “I don’t have any time!”… or “I’m too busy at night!” from my clients. My response is usually filled with annoyance and scorn. In the realm of fitness you make the time to get the work done, and that goes double for your nutrition.
Look up your recipes and meals at the beginning of the week, like on the weekends, and prepare all of your foods the night before or in two day chunks (including your post workout meals for the mornings).
This way you will not botch any of the work that you’ll perform in the morning, plus you’ll also have no problems getting those essential macro-nutrients that your body craves within that first 30 minutes after you’re done repping out.
3. If you’re doing “two-a-days”, use the AM as your cardio
Fasting cardio is a tried and true method of speeding up fat loss, and is best to get done as soon as you’re awake. Doing this allows your body to continue utilizing stored fats as your primary fuel source, something your body does all night to stay alive since it can’t receive sugars from food, but now at a much faster rate.
If you perform this, be sure to do at least 30-40 minutes of cardio at an intensity that doesn’t raise your heart rate much above 150 beats per minute (ideal HR for this is between 120 and 150).
However use caution when doing this for the first time as you may end up working at too hard of an intensity causing your body’s glucose levels to plummet too fast without regeneration of energy from fat molecules (gluconeogenesis).
Also be sure to bring a small snack that has plenty of simple and complex carbs to help establish your body’s now greatly depleted glucose post workout; a granola bar works best for this.
4. Go slow and steady with your weight sets.
In contrast to cardio, any strength training needs to be fueled before you come in and lift. This is primarily due to the fact that cardio can utilize just about any nutrient substrate, whereas lifting utilizes ATP, phosphocreatine, and muscle glucose.
These fuel systems are slow to regenerate energy and require ingested sugars to usually initiate the cycle. Best way to maximize your time for fueling your body prior to the gym is to eat a piece of fruit or whole grain toast before leaving your flat.
The 15 minutes or so that it takes to digest during your transit will allow for a slight boost of available glucose, and your muscles will get that extra bit of energy needed to blast one or two more sets.
Also spend more time between your sets during your lifts, this will allow those muscles to have just a little more time to resynthesize those short duration fuel sources.
There has always been a saying that “It takes 21 days to develop a habit”… it turns out that it probably takes closer to 40 to 50 days. However, you are the one who decides if this AM thing turns out to be a regular mainstay in your life.
Be vigilant in your AM routine and connect with a workout buddy if you need some extrinsic motivation to keep you accountable. Personally I’ve always found it easier to work harder with a morning workout buddy, but try not to get caught up in the jibber-jabber that occurs when two friends hang out… its legs day, not cricothyroid day!
So make use of this perfect time to grind out some cardio and work on achieving your goals earlier in the day. Be sure to use caution when performing fasting cardio, and definitely be sure to refuel yourself after these morning routines.
And if you feel that you simply can’t drag yourself out of bed, commit to working out with a friend in those early hours, they’ll hold you accountable!