I am 1,000% a morning person. Even on my one day to sleep in – Sunday – the CP
internal alarm clock has me up and excited to get my sweat on between 6-7AM,
regardless of what kind of damage I did the night before.
I became a morning exerciser in my mid 20’s and it was a game changer. I’ve never
gone back to evenings. My mornings are excuse-free: I don’t miss workouts, the
energy carries me through the rest of my day (even when I’m sleep deprived), I
want to eat better and my body has the opportunity to naturally settle down and
relax by the evening so that I can turn in and fall right to sleep.
So, I’m on a mission to make everyone a morning exerciser. I’ve gotten a lot of questions
about morning workouts regarding everything from timing, food, and type of exercises.
What better reason to share it all with you here AND help further my mission 😉
Below are a few tips and facts about morning sweat:
What I do:
If I workout before 8AM, I only drink water and my double espresso with almond
milk and a teaspoon of raw organic coconut butter swirled into it. In addition to
being delicious, the coffee/almond milk combo gives me enough substance to carry me through an
early morning workout. Obviously, I eat protein and greens immediately afterwards. My
usual is two eggs and dark greens.
If I workout AFTER 8AM, shortly before lunchtime, I definitely need a light snack
prior, eaten 60-90 minutes before exercising. I go for blueberries with some raw
oats and almond milk or half a pear with almond butter. If I have roasted chicken
breast left over from dinner the night before, I’ll eat a small piece of that and chew slowly and for a
long time to make sure it doesn’t sit heavy.
I can never go for a run on anything other than coffee, so my runs are always in the
am. Otherwise I get side stitches. Additionally, I need to wait at least 60 minutes
after my coffee to run or else I’ll cramp up.
Even if I’m not hungry after working out early, I force myself to eat immediately
afterwards so my body can repair itself and use the protein I’ve eaten to rebuild the
muscle tears that occurred in weight bearing activity.
What the research says:
Exercising in a fasted state is better for weightloss. Our bodies burn a greater
percentage of fat. So this is another reason why I like working out in the early
morning as your body is already in a naturally fasted state. But don’t wait too long
after you wake up to workout as there’s nothing worse than feeling hunger pains in the middle of a workout.
I do have to note that this is risky if you are a novice without much experience. I’ve
seen too many people pass out from being in a fasted (and likely dehydrated) state,
the latter being the most significant. Fasted exercise, especially super intense ones,
like cycling class or hot power yoga, should be eased into very carefully, preferably
under the guidance of a professional. Know your body and only workout fasted if
you know what’s up and have great body awareness.
Common sense, but obviously exercising too close to eating a substantial meal is not
a good idea. The body is sending blood to your digestive track and expending energy
digesting food. You want that energy and blood flow to be headed in the direction of
your muscles for working out!
What I do:
Pretty sure you know by now that I get it gone early, within 60-90 minutes of
waking up. EVEN if I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep, working out early gives me
energy that seriously takes me through most of my day. I’ll likely crash by 8, but still,
that’s nearly a full day of feeling alert and energic because of my morning sweat.
When I teach my noon class times, I eat two small meals, both at 7-8AM and then again
around 10AM. I often have some green tea about 45 minutes before to give me an
If I workout too late in the day, I find it way harder to fall asleep at night, however,
working out in the PM is better than not at all. So if by some insane reason I don’t
get to workout in the morning, I go for a barre or megaformer class in the very early
evening. It was partly for this reason that I decided to drop evening teaching. I
would get home around 9pm and just could NOT get to sleep from all that adrenaline
flowing through my body.
Back to the morning…my body is cold and stiff so early on in the day that I have to warm it up.
I almost always go for a brisk walk (to the studio to teach) or do 20-30 minutes on a cardio machine.
What the research says:
No surprise here: Morning exercisers tend to stick to their workout habits according to
Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.
In addition, according to a study by Appalachian State University,
early morning exercise actually IMPROVES sleep. YEEEEEESSSS!!
On the flip side, exercising too late can sabotage your body’s urge to sleep as exercise (and eating)
rasises your heart rate and temperature, both of which are not great for inducing sleep.
What I do:
As I mentioned above, if it’s a run day, it has GOT to get done 60 minutes upon
waking up. For this reason, since I have kids, I’ll run on the weekends or
immediately after getting them ready and off to school (if I can get that together).
I have to do some form of cardio before other types of exercise. So if I’m going to a
bootcamp, megaformer or barre class, I like to cycle / run / or at least get some
elliptical intervals in beforehand. Doing something like barre BEFORE cardio just
doesn’t make sense to my body.
My favorite exercise to do second or last is hot yoga because of the stretch and
My favorite exercise is a double: first thing a Flywheel class (that’s why I teach
mostly mornings now!!) followed by yoga (or bootcamp or barre or anything)
afterwards. Amazing combination. LOVE it.
Finally, I would be thrilled if any of the above information helped you get into a
great morning habit or at least facilitate some good early sweat. Additionally, now
that it’s (ridiculously cold) springtime and brighter in the morning, that AM sunshine
will most certainly help a lot of us get up and at it!!
Yours (anytime of course),