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Fitness

Should You Workout First Thing in the Morning?

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Many people say that workout first thing in the morning is the next best thing after sliced bread. While there are numerous benefits to working out first thing in the morning, this exercise regimen is not for everyone. Everyone is different, and the best time to exercise is usually the one that matches your body, lifestyle, and preference. At Custom Body Fitness, we believe that adapting to your specific needs is the best way to get the maximum out of any workout plan, be it in the morning, afternoon, or evening. That being said, this article will be about helping you decide whether you should be working out first thing in the morning. We will cover the benefits of such a regimen and advise on situations in which you may want to avoid it.

Person in running shoes ready to workout first thing in the morning.

5 benefits of having workout be the first thing you do in the morning


The reality is that we work out to get numerous benefits from it. Whether it is a higher energy level that we are looking for, weight loss, or any of the countless other benefits of working out, we do it for a cause. That is why it is essential to match your training schedule with the goals that you have in mind. Working out in the morning provides the following key benefits:

  1. Improved energy levels

  2. Appetite control

  3. Easier weight loss

  4. Higher alertness

  5. Fewer distractions

Person working outPerson working out

One of the most frequently asked questions about workout first thing in the morning is whether you should have something to eat before it. According to medicinenet.com, exercising on an empty stomach is not ideal. Therefore, literally having a workout first thing in the morning is something you might want to avoid.


You will want to have a light, pre-workout meal when working out in the morning. This meal must be rich in protein and carbs to give you enough energy to power through the workout. Some of the best pre-workout meals include peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and apples. If your workout is about weight loss, you may also want to choose the correct foods for weight loss and incorporate them into your pre-workout meal. You want to avoid working out in a fasted state since you might get exhausted quickly, and your workout will suffer. Using your body fat as energy does not necessarily mean your calorie burn will increase. That said, let's take a look at the benefits that a workout first thing in the morning brings.


Improved energy levels


When you work out, your body's oxygen supply has an easier way of traveling to your lungs and heart. This has the effect of creating an improved energy level. By working out in the morning, you benefit from improved energy throughout the day.


Appetite control


Exercising reduces the hunger hormone (otherwise known as ghrelin) and increases satiety hormones. This means that you can control your appetite more easily by exercising in the morning. However, keep in mind that if you stick to a rigorous workout routine, your body will require more fuel.

large cheeseburger
Easier weight loss

There's no denying that morning workouts are excellent for weight loss. The calorie burn throughout the day is at its highest if you start your day by working out. And if you are looking to maximize weight loss, you may also want to complement morning workouts with a routine that promotes efficient metabolism for better weight loss results. If your primary workout goal is losing weight, morning workouts are exactly what you need.


Higher alertness

Depending on your circadian rhythm (a process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle), working out in the morning might be a better match for your body's hormones. The hormone that keeps you alert is called Cortisol. It is also known as the stress hormone, which peaks around 8 am. This means that working out in the morning will help regulate Cortisol levels and allow for higher alertness throughout the day.


Fewer distractions


While this might not seem like a significant upside, it is one of the essential benefits of workout first thing in the morning. By working out first, you will not be mired in the day's necessities and obligations before completing the workout. If your workout takes place outdoors, there will also be fewer people to get in your way.


Workout first thing in the morning is not for everyone


Even though working out first thing in the morning brings fantastic results, there are situations in which it might not be ideal. For example, if you have any cardiovascular issues, you may want to get approval from your doctor before engaging in this activity. The same goes if you have diabetes. Workout first thing in the morning may affect your blood glucose levels, especially if you choose to exercise on an empty stomach.

doctor in his office

Also, working out the first thing in the morning is not advisable when you have to cut sleep. For example, let's say you had to relocate and pack your new expensive sports equipment the previous day. You may have been awake long into the night, making sure to prepare everything with care, and had only a couple of hours to sleep. In that case, workout as the first thing in the morning will be detrimental. If you don't want to change your regular schedule, at least adjust the intensity of your workout.


Speaking of intensity, if your workouts are highly intensive, you have a specific performance goal in mind, or you are trying to build muscle, you may be able to avoid working out in the morning. While science is still researching the effect of core body temperature in relation to power and strength, the current conclusion is that afternoon workouts are better suited to strenuous activities and power output.


All that said, there is no scientific research that proves or disproves that workout first thing in the morning is inherently good or bad. What you need to do is to experiment and see how your body responds. If you are feeling good after your morning workout, continue with it. If you are feeling drained and stressed out, you may want to skip working out first thing in the morning.

 

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