Most people despise the idea of waking up early – the general consensus seems to be that sleeping in is the most tempting thing in the world, and that “morning people” are rarity, an abnormality to be feared and hissed at. But to wake up early – and then work out?! Preposterous. Insane. Maddening. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks.

The Benefits: 

Working out early is great – even compared to working out later, and for a number of reasons.

  • You do it on an empty stomach.

That, in turn, releases more testosterone and human growth hormone in your body – two things that help the body develop strength and endurance. Intermittent fasting – that is, the delay or skipping of a meal – actually has surprising benefits, research shows. For one, ignoring a drop in blood glucose helps burn fat, as the body scrambles for carbohydrates but is unable to find any. This causes a ketogenic state of starvation – this means your body will begin to break down fatty acids instead of sugars (as long as there are none left in reserve) to produce energy.

  • You do it while you’re energetic.

While this might sound like a bit of a paradox, considering you tend to wake up dead tired, it’s not exactly rocket science that you tend to have a set of freshly charged batteries early in the morning as opposed to late in the afternoon. Getting the most out of your workout involves doing it at the right time, and no time is quite as right as right outta bed.

  • If you do it, you’ll have more energy throughout the rest of the day.

Feeling kinda lethargic at work, or in general? Losing focus and cognitive capabilities? Are you just generally down in the dumps? Well, screw pills or coffee. What you need is a good workout. Getting a good, hefty workout in the morning actually shakes your system up and keeps you running on hormones for the rest of the day – and when the time comes for you to go to bed, your body will have efficiently metabolized in a way that will leave you exhausted enough to get a good night’s sleep. So you can do it all again the next day.

Starting Out:

Alas, starting out isn’t that hard. Now, before you pop a vein glaring at me for that last sentence, understand that it isn’t that hard when done right. So let’s get to that.

  • Seriously, sleep.

You see, waking up early isn’t actually an abnormality to us – we’re kind of designed to wake up rather early in the morning. But generally speaking, most people work late and stay up even later, messing up their sleeping cycle. If an adult gets any less than seven hours a day, chances are they’ll feel absolutely exhausted at one point or another, especially as the lost hours rack up. So if you’ve got a horrible sleeping cycle, step one is to fix it.

  • Gotta get up, gotta get out!

Within about ten minutes of waking up, you should be out in the fresh air and starting your workout. Any more than that, and your chances of going back to bed increase drastically. So step two is to make it as easy as possible to work out in the morning as you can – get your clothes ready and fold ‘em up by the bed, put your shoes by the door with your keys in ‘em and a pair of socks, and have everything else you need ready, including your gym bag if you’re headed to a gym. Wake up, jump up, grab your things and get going.

  • Get on with it. Again. And again.

The thing that makes habits stick is consistency. If you’re not being consistent with your new morning routine, it’ll fail. Really, really quickly. But, the good thing is that if you’re sleeping properly and starting your workouts first thing in the morning, the effects that’ll have on your body will very quickly affect and change your sleeping cycle, all while giving you a proven energy boost thanks to the stress you’re putting your body through. Think of it as a little zap. Bzzzzzt. All charged up.

  • Grab a pal or ten.

If you’re having trouble with step four, then your quick fix is to turn it into a group activity. Some people like to be alone when they’re working out, treating the matter like a form of meditation – but fact is, you tend to work out much harder, and much more efficiently when you turn the whole thing into a semi-competitive daily event with a friend or a workout group. If you’ve got a romantic partner, then all the better – couples that train together, stay together.

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