I’ve been there before. Work is insane and you’re schedule is spiraling out of control. No longer is your 6 p.m. workout feasible, there’s too much too going on. Heck, even when you leave for the gym your phone rings.
And rings. And rings.
You grab your bag, slide your shoes on, and head back for another meeting and another “emergency” that’s taking precedent over your health and wellness.
There’s no choice—you need to train in the morning.
Training before sunrise is never ideal. You’re tired, stiff, and trying to comprehend the hieroglyphic numbers on your digital clock.
But we don’t live in a perfect world—if you don’t train first thing in the morning you’ll never get it done. As an early riser these seven tips have helped me make the transition to morning workouts.
1.) Get Up ASAP
If you hit snooze you’re as good as done. Get up and get on your feet immediately. The longer you delay getting up the more difficult the workout will be.
Bonus: If you get up before you alarm and it’s within 30 minutes suck it up and get going. You’ll be drowsy if you wait.
2.) Warm Water+ Black Coffee
One the fastest ways to wake up your body is hydration.The other? Caffeine!
Sleep leaves us six to eight hours without water consumption, putting the body into a mild state of dehydration. Dehydration is detrimental to training with high quality workouts, so it’s it’s imperative to rehydrate rapidly. I opt for warm water because it’s easier to drink and will boosts your internal temperature. After 20-40 ounces of water it’s time to ramp things up with coffee– hold the creamer. You’ll never need to drop $40 on a fancy pre-workout drink, coffee is the go-to.
Getting up and moving is vital to working out in the A.M. During sleep the spine decompresses, allowing the intervertebral disks to collect water, increasing stiffness in the spine.
And it’s not a good thing.
Standing up and moving will disperse the over-hydration and stiffness of the spine, allowing the spine to move more effectively and safely during training. Be up for an hour before spinal loading and warm-up thoroughly.
Bonus: If you’re workout includes squats and/or deadlifts consider performing a few exercises before at low intensity. Stability ball hamstring curls are a good option.
4.) Wear Layers
Maybe it’s the result of living in Wisconsin and Colorado for last 20 years, but wearing layers ais essential to your warm-up. After sleeping you’re muscles and joints are stiff and tight—not ideal for a workout. Added layers before your workout will increase core and ligament temperature to speed up your warm-up and improve workout quality.
Bonus: If you’re driving to the gym crank on the heat. I do this all times of the year for early morning workouts.
5.) Feast at night
If you’re able to feast at 4am more power to you, but most don’t do well with a full-belly during an intense workout. Instead, eat a big meal at night. Your carbohydrate stores won’t disappear while you sleep, they’ll be waiting for you in the morning.
A morning shake is doable for most, but keep it light.
Here’s my latest Creation:
6.) Go to Sleep Earlier
If you’re getting up an hour or two early you need to adjust your sleep patterns. You might get away with less than six hours/night for a few days, but doing so consistently will yield bad training sessions and poor recovery. Get at least six hours and adjust your schedule as needed.
Bonus: Struggling with sleep? Hack your Sleep here.
7.) Extended Warm-Up
Later in the day I dedicate 10-12 minutes to a solid dynamic warm-up, but morning requires a bit more time. Opt for 12-15 minutes of dynamic drills and movement prep early in the day. An extra 2-5 minutes isn’t much too ask for and it’s better than six weeks of bird-dogs, manual therapy, and a rickety low-back.
Pre-dawn workouts are tough, but implementing these tips will get you training consistently regardless of your schedule. Get up early and take control by “doing you” first; you’ll set positive tone and seize the day.
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