Mish is all about working out in the morning (even throughout winter!!). You’ll “get the monkey off your back” and go into your day with a clean slate. But there are other good reasons to be an early bird.
We’ve enlisted the help of our 12WBT experts, fitness guru Dan Swanbury and nutritionist Georgie Moore to bring you 11 top reasons to make this winter the season of morning workouts.
Try it and see how it turns your day around!
1. Actually get it done!
How many afternoon or evening workouts have been torpedoed by meetings running late, phone calls or family commitments? Quite a few! Working out in the morning means it’s done, and can’t be interrupted later by things popping up.
Dan agrees: “You won’t put your workout off until later in the day, then run out of time and never get around to doing it.”
2. Make better food choices
It’s easier to say no to not-so-good foods after a morning training session – you don’t want to undo all that hard work!
Georgie says: “Some people find that exercising first thing provides them with a great start and reason to make better food choices, compared to those that exercise later in the day or don’t exercise at all.”
3. Beat the gym rush
Dan loves an early morning gym workout. “Depending how early you rise, the gym could be much less packed in the morning than the after-work rush.”
They say the early bird gets the worm, but in this case the early bird gets a free treadmill or squat rack at the gym!
4. Start your day in a great headspace
Working out first thing means you’ll not only feel great all day knowing your workout is done and dusted, you’ll be more relaxed too.
Georgie says: “Working out early gives you the endorphin kick first up, which means you start your day feeling better.”
5. Jump-start your metabolism
Dan explains: “Working out jump-starts your metabolism for the day, so you’ll be burning calories during the day and potentially until the afternoon or even into the night.”
You want your metabolism to work for you after a workout, for as long as possible. Calorie burn for minimal effort? Yes please!
6. Sleep more soundly
Dan says a sounder sleep is thanks to the health benefits of a routine. “Because waking at the same time in the morning gives you a routine, you’re more likely to get better quality sleep, and more of it.”
Any way to get more Zs has got to be a good thing, right?!
7. Improve your diet
A daily routine of exercise and a balanced brekkie sets you up for a successful day.
Georgie says, “Exercising in the morning has been shown to have an effect on regulating your appetite. This means you eat properly at breakfast and are less likely to binge later on.”
8. Be more productive at work
“Exercise has been shown to increase mental acuity for the rest of the day, therefore making you more productive at work,” says Dan. Hit the gym or park early and you’ll wake up more naturally (without needing that double espresso), and sharpen your focus.
9. You might make new friends
Morning exercisers tend to have a similar schedule each day, so you’ll be more likely training with the same people each morning. This can help build a sense of community, and give you mates to look forward to seeing in the early hours!
10. It builds consistency
Mish says consistency is key when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, and Georgie agrees: “Those who exercise in the morning have been found to be more consistent and regular exercisers.”
This benefit then flows into all aspects of your life: relationships, work and at home. A win-win!
11. Feel more accomplished
Having one ‘to-do’ item already ticked off while others are still figuring out what’s on their list for the day provides a great feeling of accomplishment. Like anything, getting up that bit earlier is a habit, one you can master in no time.
Remember, you don’t have to be a morning person to be a morning exerciser!
HI I have a question
I get up in the morning at about 5;30 i get the me and the kids ready and then we head out they get dropped off and then I hit the gym before work, I then have breakfast… usually a serve of bake beans and 2 boiled eggs. Before my work out I have a low carb protein shake. Is this ok?? or should I have my breakfast before the gym I am just worried that I am not kick starting my metabolism enough by not having a full breakfast when I first wake up.
Hi Madeline – Breakfast before training is a very individual thing. Mish cannot eat breakfast before training because it makes her feel unwell, whereas many need a little something to get moving! If you can train well without breakfast, than that’s OK. Your refuel breakfast is a fabulous choice providing good carbohydrate and protein (as well as fibre). Good choice!
All the best,
12WBT Support Crew
I find exercise in the morning very difficult and am not really sure why! When I exercise in the evening i seem to have a lot more stamina. When I exercise in the morning I feel very unfit- particularly if running. I feel as if I’ve just sprinted up a steep, long hill when really I’ve only run for about a minute on flat. In the evening I can finish my 5 km run no problem but in the morning I feel like I just have to stop. I feel like this has stopped me from aiming to do competitive races as they all seem to start in the morning. Do you think I just need to practice more or are some people just not morning types?
I put your question to our Support Crew, and here is Chooky’s response:
Good job for giving morning workouts a good go at least! Everybody is different and definitely some people do struggle more exercising first thing – you are not alone! Sleep quality and nocturnal activities aside, there may be a few reasons why you struggle with exercise in the morning. First off, when you awake, generally it’s been a while since the body has been fuelled with energy (i.e. food and/or drink). Exercising on an empty tum may suit some people just fine, but if your glycogen levels are already low you may notice your muscles fatigue more easily and you just feel like having a lie down! Another reason may be that your body naturally warms up slightly as the day progresses. Kicking off a workout in the freezing cold is hard slog for anyone…shivering in itself is an exercise, so doing a workout on top means you’re working twice as hard! When you’re already warm though, you can work your muscles harder for longer with less risk of injury. You also have more mobility in your joints making your workouts more effective. Thirdly, if your lung health is compromised then you might struggle exercising at the ends of the day. Colder air can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, and where sufferers may find that they’re rocking 10km at lunchtime, a 200m dash at 6am or 8pm can be too big an ask when you can’t catch your breath! So if evenings work better for you – stick with it! Making exercise a part of your day is the main thing – no matter when you fit it in! 🙂 Chooky from Support Crew
Hi. I find it very hard to wake up in the mornng as I love my sleep. I find that if I exercise in the afternoon, I can have a shower and not be rushed for work or anything else. I feel I get tired enough and that it’s easily to fall asleep. I also don’t have the energy to work out in winter. I try and do exercises at home but feel I don’t have the energy. Any suggestions please?
If exercising in the afternoon is what suits you best, then that’s when you should exercise! Everybody is different and the key to making exercise a consistent part of your life, is to do what you enjoy and when in your day works best for you. Working out in winter is just as important as working out in summer – remember consistency is key. As a member of 12WBT you can follow our At Home Exercise Plans, either the written plans or following along to one of our awesome Online Workout Videos. Alternatively you could get one of Mish’s Exercise DVDs (such as Project Ripped available in the 12WBT Shop https://shop.12wbt.com/products/michelle-bridges-dvd-project-ripped). The great thing about following videos is you don’t have to think, you JFDI!
I walk, do a round of circuit at a ladys gym and dont seem to shift the belly fat can you help please
Thanks Tanya , I’ll try this . The not eating quick snacks on the night will be the hardest I think and exercise after night
Cant always run in the morning as its too dark and scary. I would need to run at 6am to make it to work on time. I do run in the mornings in summer though.
I work a 3 way shift pattern day , late and night shifts. Sleep pattern and eating pattern all over the place . Not sure when to eat or exercise and have put on 13 kilos in 7 months need help
Shift work can make sticking to a routine difficult, but you can still be consistent in the choices you make. Try to treat your night working hours as your ‘day time’ – eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks during this time, like you would do if you were working during the day. Have nutritious meals and snacks at the ready so even if you’re dead tired or rushed, you have a healthy meal to enjoy. When it comes to your training, aim to exercise on the way to or on the way home from work. Once you crawl into bed or onto the couch after your shift, it’s MUCH harder to get up and get moving again. There will be days where you eat more and days where you eat less… that’s okay. Consistency in planning and your decisions will get you closer to your goals!
Hi, just wondering what the best thing to do is for energy if gym session starts at 6.30am? Difficult to get up earlier to eat something. Thanks, Lu
To eat or not to eat before your workout is very individual. If you aren’t able to train on an empty stomach, try having a small snack before you head to the gym. A small handful of sultanas, a piece of fruit or a few spoons of yoghurt should do the trick. Happy training!
Hi Ariene, I suffered night sweats too (drenched, 2 tshirts a night). Not sure if you know the reason for yours but I found out I was really deficient in magnesium and every night sweat I lost even more! I have found that supplementing with a stronge powder morning and night stopped it mostly.
I find putting all my gear in the car the night before, having my lunch ready etc helps a lot. I exercise early (6am) 6 mornings a weeks and after many years, it’s now just habit. I’ve made great friends as a result and feel fit and well.
Hey Ariene, you’ve possibly already tried it…. I was suffering similar to you. Visited a nutritionist or naturopath and symptoms have eased totally for me. A friend has had similar results. I’m also on hormone patches but understand that may not be for you. Possibly worth a try?
Avoided the morning exercise for ages, just getting into it and love it! Decided to ignore some of the sleep issues as I really just tossed and turned anyway. I am however, getting to bed earlier and have reduced the caffeine intake.
Hope that helps, Sue
Dont sleep well due to night sweats etc try hard but really struggle. Use to swim mornings cant even do this anymore. Any hints would be helpful.
Night sweats can be hugely disruptive and if you are suffering from these and unable to get a good quality night’s sleep, then exercising in the morning is probably not the best option for you.
We would recommend seeing your medical specialist to get to the bottom of what is causing the night sweats, it might well be hormonal or a virus and they will be able to take a detailed history from you in order to get the bottom of it, and get them under control for you.
Pending their approval, you might find taking a magnesium supplement might help with the getting to sleep, and of course eating as natural, unprocessed foods as possible is going to help enormously here too.
The 12WBT Meal Plans are created with the philosophy that natural and unprocessed is best – if you’d like to give them a go, head to https://www.12wbt.com/learn-more and sign up for a free taste.
All the best!