Morning Workout: Training Early

I’ve decided to write a post for those who train in the morning or are thinking about working out at this time. There are some potential advantages to start your day by going to the gym:

*Scheduling: ultimately the best time to exercise is whenever you can. It may be that training early is what works best for you—what fits best into your schedule. This alone is enough reason to consider morning workouts.

*Temperature: Working out can be very challenging if you live in a hot climate, especially in summer months. Getting your exercise done in the mornings is a way to avoid the heat.

*Age: Vince Gironda claimed that more mature trainees (40 and above) tend to have much higher energy levels in the morning. This isn’t backed by research, of course, but it was also a practice of legends like Jack LaLanne and Bill Pearl. I’ve noticed this personally—it seems my energy levels are much higher in the morning compared to later in the day.

*Avoiding the Crowds: Most of the gyms where I’ve trained are less crowded in the morning, especially compared with the evening hours. You may spend less time waiting for equipment if you choose to go early.

*Fasted Training: This one is controversial, but training before breakfast (if you eat it) may be a strategy for targeting “stubborn” fat.

Those are just a few advantages that come to mind. But I want to reiterate something: the best time to workout out is whenever you can.

I have one important caution for those who choose to train in the early part of the day: the spine is more vulnerable to injury when you first wake because you’ve been horizontal all night. This causes the discs in between your vertebrae to be full of fluid and less flexible. This can make lifting more dangerous, especially abdominal training (sit-ups) and squats/deadlift.

You can avoid problems by getting up two hours before you lift weights, which gives enough time for the discs to return to their normal state. Waking up two hours earlier may not be practical for you, so I’d advise you to experiment and see what works for you. Walking is supposed to help drain the fluid, so warming up on the treadmill for a while may help. Just be aware that there are some risks involved with training immediately after you wake.

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