A morning workout routine is a great way to reach fitness goals and feel accomplished at the start of your day.
That’s easy if you’re an early bird.
Night owls: There’s hope for you. These tips prepare you to roll out of bed, hit the gym and feel good doing it.
Getting out of bed and going to the gym doesn’t always sound fun. Stacey Karwoski, a Marshfield Clinic athletic trainer, offered tips to motivate you for a morning workout.
- Go to bed earlier. Getting enough sleep makes it easier to wake up and you’ll have more energy to exercise.
- Pack a bag. Put all your workout gear in your gym bag before bed. With less to do in the morning, you can snooze longer.
- Pick a buddy. Knowing you have to meet someone at the gym will keep you accountable.
- Wake up to your favorite song. Set your alarm to play a song that makes you feel pumped up at the gym to get you in the workout mindset.
Fuel your body
Start your day with a glass of water to rehydrate. Then eat a light breakfast with a complex carbohydrate and some protein to give you energy for your morning workout.
“It’s ideal to eat an hour before you exercise to prevent feeling nauseated or getting stomach cramps, but not everyone has that much time,” said Kristene Schulte, a Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian. “If you don’t eat a heavy meal, you may feel fine to exercise right after you eat.”
She recommended these quick fuel options before you head out the door:
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
- Fruit, such as a banana or a fruit smoothie
- Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Low-sugar cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk
- Turkey sandwich
Take water breaks throughout your workout. Drink water at least every 15 minutes in hot weather or if you’re sweating heavily. Bring a sports drink, sports gel, energy bar or piece of fruit for an energy boost if you’ll be exercising moderately or intensely for more than an hour.
Finish your breakfast or have a snack after your workout if you didn’t eat a full meal before exercising.
Think twice before skipping breakfast
Some people don’t eat before they exercise because they don’t have time or they believe it may burn more fat.
“You may be able to tolerate fasting cardio if you eat well the night before and exercise regularly, but you could end up burning muscle,” Schulte said. “If your main goal is to improve performance, fueling your muscles with healthy carbohydrates before you exercise helps.”
Schulte doesn’t recommend exercising on an empty stomach if you’re starting a new exercise routine or you have diabetes. Working out without eating can cause blood sugar to drop to unsafe levels if you take insulin or diabetes medications.
A dynamic warm-up is the best way to get stiff muscles and joints ready for a workout. Spend five minutes on a spin bike or do jumping jacks to get your heart rate up. You should feel warm and work up a light sweat by the end of your warm-up.
“It’s especially important to not skip a warm-up before a morning workout because you’ve been lying still all night and may feel stiff,” Karwoski said.