The best part of waking up to work out

by Kim on June 10, 2014

I’m about to do something totally out of character. I really never thought this day would come, but here goes…

I’m going to advocate for morning workouts.


Not like nice, leisurely 10 AM workouts, but the ones where you have to get up insanely early in order to get the thing done and still get to work on time.

I know–no one’s more surprised than I am.


The evening workout thing just wasn’t happening. You know the drill: get home tired, have to make dinner, want to spend time with family, and then–whoops! It’s 10 PM, and I still need to fool around on the internet for a pathetic amount of time. (I actually did do some 10 PM workouts here and there, but guess how awesome that wasn’t??)

So I’ve been on the morning workout train for a little over a week now, and it’s going SHOCKINGLY well. Like, I’m embarrassed by how well it’s going. What were my original excuses again?

To be clear, I think a MAJOR factor in my success is that it’s summer, so it’s not unbearably cold or dark at the ungodly hour I need to get up to make this happen (which isn’t that ungodly at all, really). I’m not convinced that I could pull this off in the winter, when my bed is all warm and my brain’s telling me that darkness = sleep time.

But for the time being, it’s working. I’ve been doing a mix of random things that add up to about 30 minutes. Like, this morning, I practiced teaching the intro track to a PiYo class (pretty sure I have it down! I even tweaked the exercise progression a little bit to align better with the song–who do I think I am right now??), then did this 10-minute PopSugar arm circuit, and wrapped it up with a speed walk down and then back up the giant hill in our neighborhood. Other days, I’ve done random PiYo tracks using my instructor DVD or my own prenatal workouts.

So everybody knows the obvious reasons that morning workouts are nice:

–You go into the day more energetic.

–You’re less antsy at work (in my experience).

–No guilt of taking time away from family (they’re sleeping!).

–Evenings become sooooo luxurious.

–Etc. etc. etc.

But I recently heard another reason that I actually found even more compelling than any of that. It was in a Balanced Bites podcast (what else?) when Diane was talking about how the body naturally goes after the most readily available form of fuel. So, if you eat a carb-loaded snack and then work out, your body’s going to start using those carbs first, before it hits up the back room for fuel stores.

In the morning, of course, you’ve been fasting for however many hours, which essentially puts your body into a state of “ketosis” (fat-burning vs. glucose-burning). So it’s ready to accept fat as a fuel source, even though it always prefers glucose (easier to convert).

If you don’t eat before your early morning workout (which I don’t, and Diane recommends not doing if possible), your body has no immediate fuel to work with, so it has to go directly to stored energy. Aka my love handles. (Not specifically of course–I WISH–but you get the idea.)

I haven’t done a bunch of research on this to make sure Diane knows what she’s talking about, but I do generally trust her opinion–plus there’s the fact that it makes sense. (My only little hiccup is that I’m not sure you can actually get into full-on ketosis after one night of fasting, but I’m no expert on all that sciency business.)

All I know is that when your alarm is blaring (actually, I have the kind that’s like gentle piano music in a rainforest, haha) and you know you COULD sleep longer, you need all the reasons and motivations you can possibly get. So I’ll take it!

When’s your preferred time of day to work out?

If you work out in the morning, what reasons are most compelling to you?



{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi @ Idlehide June 12, 2014 at 5:10 am

I LOVE getting my workouts done in the morning. With a baby and a hubby who works shift work, it’s not always possible so I take what I can get. Before baby though, 5:30 am workouts was where it was at! I think I love am workouts so much because you have the entire day ahead of you!
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Katie June 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

The more I workout in the morning, the more I like it! The trick is I need a group to conquer the am workout, I can’t do it on my own yet.
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ErikaMC June 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I’m a morning workout person! I use to workout after work but since having a child I prefer to spend that time with him so I moved my workouts to mornings. Sure I have to get up at 4:15 to workout, get ready, drop kid off and be to work on time but it’s worth it to be able to play after work and I find myself more willing to do more with other people too – before I didn’t do a lot of things because I “had to” go home and workout. Now if I walk after work it’s more of a leisurely stroll with my son and we can stop to throw 100 rocks in the puddles. It took my about 2 weeks to be able to do more intense workouts that early but now I’m use to it.


Jenny June 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm

The Morning Workout Club welcomes you with open, slightly sleep-deprived arms ;)


Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat June 11, 2014 at 7:11 am

I typically workout after work, which honestly, I’m not to fond of. It’d be so nice to just come home, eat dinner and then relax rather than worry about doing a workout. I’ve often thought about trying to change that and workout in the a.m. instead, but I just can’t get up that early in order to exercise, shower and get ready for work. I suppose I should just give it a try instead of already assuming I can’t do it. It certainly would make things much easier!
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Michael Anderson June 11, 2014 at 7:04 am

I am totally into the morning workouts … actually I have been doing my morning runs since I started running (as an adult) 25 years ago! At this point I am up at 4AM, take care of dogs and cats, get coffee ready and so on … out the door by 4:30 and home in time to get our teen boys out of bed! It energizes me for the day and really starts me off right. Last week I had two late afternoon runs, and they are fun for an occasional mix-up … but I will always be a morning runner!
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Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate June 10, 2014 at 9:02 pm

I used to be such a morning person when it came to working out…now I just can’t seem to do it! I know it takes routine, and I should give it more than two days, but I’m a wimp. You’re right, now that the temps aren’t so cold and the sun is shining it might be easier to make the switch!


Jessie @ Just Jessie June 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I need to get back into the habit of working out in the morning. As much as I “say” I’ll do it after work, I never do. Like tonight, for example, as I sit here reading blogs instead of working out. ;)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Seriously…mornings are hard, but lately I’ve been finding evenings even harder! So it’s a lesser of two evils situation. :)


Jenni @ Fitzala June 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Love this! I feel like a lot of people say that they could never wake up to workout, but it all depends on your priorities. If you really want it and it’s the only time to get it done, then you’ll do it!

I used to solely workout in the mornings! It forced me to be organized, allowed me to have a social life and gave me energy during the day. I usually workout on my lunch break now, but that’s going to change again soon :)
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I honestly don’t know why I held out for so long! I mean, yes, it takes a few minutes to get into it, but I’m not dragging through the whole thing–which is what I used to be afraid of! I agree that it’s all about priorities and making it work.


Katie @ running4cupcakes June 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm

As you know from my post today. . . I am stuggling to get away from morning workouts so I can workout (run!) with the family. But I was really loving early morning runs this winter!!
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Kim June 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm

I did see your post and thought it was quite a coincidence. :) We do evening walks sometimes but honestly, that time period between work and Mason’s bedtime is SO short, like you said, it’s tough to do much of anything outside of logistics!!


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