Is It A Good Idea To Work Out Before Work?
Most people have a demanding job, family to take care of and so many other things to do. This makes it very hard to squeeze in some time to workout. While working out is very important, finding a routine that incorporates working out almost everyday is very hard but not impossible. People usually try to work out in the morning and evening. Working out before work has been associated with many benefits and that is why most people prefer it to working out after work.
It is important to note that working out at different times of the day affects the body differently. The timing of your workout will determine the kind of benefits you will get from your exercise routine. Although there is no time we can give the title of being the best time to workout, the timing of people’s workout should be determined by what they want to achieve.
Working Out Before Work
There are claims that working out in the morning is very effective when it comes to losing weight. Most people usually work out to keep fit, maintain their current weight, lose weight or build muscle. Hence, if your main aim for working out is to lose weight then you should go for a quick morning workout before work. In addition to losing weight, morning workouts are also associated with improved sleep patterns and are known to reduce stress.
As we have mentioned, there are many benefits associated with working out in the morning. The only problem that comes with working out before you go to work is establishing a routine and actually sticking to it. Finding the right balance for everything you need to do in that short period of time is also a considerable challenge for most people. You need to make sure you work out correctly, and you also need to make sure you have enough time to do all your daily morning activities and still make it to work on time and with enough energy to carry out the day’s chores and scheduled activities.
A good thing about working out in the morning is getting your day off to a healthy start. This usually translates to positive feelings that you carry throughout the day. You could look at that as one of the many rewards of working out in the morning. Once you get used to your routine for working out in the morning, you will start to enjoy your workouts and will start reaping the benefits of your hard work.
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Working Out Before Work Might Not Be For Everyone
Just like diets, workouts depend on an individual. Working out in the morning may come with many different benefits, but it should be noted that not everyone is supposed to work out in the morning. The following groups of people need to consult an expert before they decide to get their daily exercise in in the a.m.:
People with various heart conditions
Most cardiovascular exercises are known to be beneficial for heart health. Strength training is also said to have a good effect on your heart. The question that comes up is why should people with various heart conditions consult an expert before working out in the morning? The reason is the fluctuations in blood pressure that come with working out (9). This, however, shouldn’t be a problem if you get an okay from an expert.
People with diabetes
If you have diabetes, it is important to consult a doctor or an expert before you start working out before work. This is because it is important to first observe how exercising in the morning affects your blood sugar levels (9). This is particularly important if you have a habit of working out before you eat anything.
People who want to build muscle
If you want to build muscle and boost strength, it is advisable for you to work out later in the day because the metabolic state is more beneficial for greater muscle growth during those times (9). However, it does not mean that building muscle when working out in the morning is impossible. Sometimes it all depends on how your body reacts to regular exercise.
People who have to cut their sleep to less than 6 hours
To stay healthy, you need to sleep enough. Sleep is very important to us humans (9). It helps us replenish our energy, it helps deal with stress, it helps us relax and so much more. If working out in the morning has a negative effect on your sleeping pattern, then you should not work out in the morning.
People who are not morning people
There are two types of people; the early birds and the night owls. If you are generally not a morning person it means waking up early to get some exercise in might turn into a problem. Stealing those precious 30-45 minutes of sleep from yourself might set your day up for failure, leaving you groggy, tired and unmotivated.
People Who Should Work Out Before Work
Although we have given you the examples of people who might find working out in the morning a grueling task, there are other groups of people who should definitely cross their workout of the day early in the morning:
People who don’t have any other time to work out
Working out at any time is better than not working out at all. If you are usually a busy person throughout the day and the only time you can get to work out is in the morning, you should move a couple of things around in your schedule and pencil in your daily workout session in the “things to do before work” list. (9). Working out before you start your busy day means you won’t put off working out when you have a busy schedule later in the day as you will have already worked out.
People who are great in the morning
Getting things done in the morning brings great joy to ‘early birds’. Morning people are people who feel like they are more productive in the morning than during the later times of the day (9) . These are people who don’t have a problem waking up at wee hours of the night/ morning.
If you are a morning person, you are likely to adapt quickly to a morning workout routine and get a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment from doing your exercises in the morning. This will automatically lead to improved mood throughout the day, will bring you a surge of motivation and will help you get better results from your workouts. If you are a morning person then morning workouts are definitely a YES for you.
People who want to lose weight
Although a morning workout might not be great at building strength, it is effective when it comes to losing weight. However, this does not mean that only working out in the morning will result in weight loss or that morning workouts will make you lose more weight. At the end of the day, it all depends on how your body reacts to your workouts.
There are two things that make morning workouts effective when it comes to weight loss (9). Firstly they help reduce cravings and also stop people from overeating. This is especially true for people who get cravings after working out. Working out in the morning helps control your appetite as well as help you make better choices when it comes to what you eat.
Secondly, working out in the morning helps burn more calories of fat. Most people who work out in the morning do so on empty stomachs. Working out on an empty stomach means most of the energy you get comes from the stored fat. This means you end up burning more fat than working out later in the day when your body can get energy from the food you will have eaten during the day.
These are some of the ways working out in the morning might help you lose weight.
Pros And Cons Of Working Out Before Work
Most of the things come with advantages and disadvantages and so does working out before work. Here we shall look at both of them to help you see if working out in the morning is a good thing or not.
Benefits Of Morning Workouts
As we have been mentioning throughout this read, there are many benefits associated with working out in the morning. These benefits include:
Working out in the morning is associated with better sleep. All exercise is able to promote better sleep but people who exercise in the evening find it hard to sleep since working out boosts endorphins.
A study on effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in pre hypertensives was done (7). The main aim of the study was to see if the timing of aerobic exercises would affect one’s sleeping patterns. On one day the group of participants did 30 minutes of treadmill exercise at 7 am, the other day at 1pm and the final day at 7 p.m.
The results showed that the group of people spent more time in deep sleep when they worked out at 7 am compared to when the group of people worked out at 1 p.m and 7 p.m. This goes to prove working out earlier in the day results in better sleep compared to working out at other times of the day.
Helps control one’s blood pressure
It is a well known fact that exercising helps control blood pressure. The question to ask is whether the time you work out has an effect on how you control your blood pressure.
The same study mentioned in the above section was also used to measure the people’s blood pressure after working out at different times. It showed that their blood pressure levels were better when they worked out in the morning (7). This shows that working out in the morning helps you control your blood pressure better.
Makes you feel better
Exercises are one of the ways to deal with stress (1). This is because exercising triggers the brain to release more endorphins. These make you feel good and help distract you from what is stressing you out. Working out in the morning will lead to better moods throughout the day.
It is more sustainable
Sometimes it is not about how effective a workout is but how sustainable it is. At the end of the day, if a workout is sustainable it ends up being effective. Working out in the morning is easier because you feel more fresh (2). This means you have energy and you are not too tired to do your exercises correctly (1). Working out in the morning also removes the possibility of being too busy for you to work out. This is because you will have already worked out before your busy schedule caught up to you. It is also sustainable in the sense that if you want to work out longer all you have to do is wake up earlier and if you want to work out less you can sleep in for a little bit.
It is easier to work out in the morning
We all know exercises are not the easiest of things. If they were easy everyone would be doing them. Working out in the morning is easier than working out at other times of the day. One thing that makes it easier is the fact you are working out before the sun is out or rather before it is really hot. This reduces the rate of dehydration, it reduces the rate of getting tired and also reduces the discomfort while you work out. The fact that there is still a cold breeze makes the workout even more enjoyable.
The fact that not so many people are awake also makes it easier. This means there are less distractions, less car noises, and overall a good environment to work out in.
Working out before work is effective for weight loss
Nobody wants to be obese. Obesity comes with so many health complications that it is better to avoid it. One way one can effectively lose weight is by working out in the morning (11). Several studies have been done to prove whether this claim holds water.
A study was done to investigate if exercise increases 24-h fat oxidation only when it is performed before breakfast (8). The study was done on 10 young non-obese men. The men were to perform an hour of exercise before breakfast on one day, the other day they were to exercise after lunch and the final trial they were to exercise after eating dinner.
The results showed that fat oxidation was highest when the young men exercised in the morning before breakfast compared to the other days. This shows working out in the morning is quite effective when it comes to weight loss.
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Cons Of Working Out Before Work
Although working out before work comes with numerous benefits, it is also associated with some disadvantages but not too many.
One has to wake up early
Waking up early is not for everyone. People who have to exercise in the morning are forced to wake up a bit earlier in order to be able to work out, get ready and get to work on time. Hence if you are not a morning person you might find working out in the morning to be very stressful
Does not support muscle gain
If you are working out to build your muscles and grow stronger then working out in the morning is not the way to go. This is because the muscles of the body tend to be weaker when you wake up and get stronger as the day goes by (11). Hence it is easier to work out and grow muscles if you work out when your muscles are stronger and this is during the later hours of the day.
Makes you tired
It is important to remember that this is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. If your workout is too hard, you might tire yourself out. If you are too tired, you might not be able to carry out your day’s activities.
Tips On Working Out Before Work
We all know working out before work requires a lot of preparation, discipline and dedication. It is not the easiest time to exercise since it requires you to get up from your warm comfy bed. Here are a few tips that will make the experience a bit easier and more sustainable:
Prepare the night before
Do you want to start looking for one of your gym shoes at 5 a.m.? Do you want to be looking for your bottle of water at 5 in the morning ? Nobody wants that. For some reason, it becomes even harder to find the things you are looking for when you really need them. To avoid this, prepare all the things you need the day before (6). Put your gym clothes close by, make sure everything is there, if you plan on cycling check if the bicycle has a flat tyre or any other complications (10). Prepare to the point that you will only need 20 minutes of prep time once you wake up at most. This makes working out in the morning easier.
Have multiple alarms
We all know the biggest problem with working out in the morning is waking up. It is very easy to fall into the snooze button trap (5). Set multiple alarms (4). This makes it harder for you to ignore them.
Ease into it
Start easy. Do not overstrain yourself. Start with simple exercises and go adding to them as you become more comfortable with your exercise routine.
Find a morning workout partner
Working out becomes easier when done with someone. When you work out with someone it becomes easier for both of you to keep each other accountable (3).
The Bottom Line
Working out before work is filled with numerous benefits. It is quite effective when it comes to weight loss and relieving stress. Before you start working out in the morning, it is important you first consult an expert.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Amazing Benefits of Morning Exercise (2017, totalwellnesshealth.com)
- 9 Really Good Reasons to Exercise Early in the Morning (2017, nbcnews.com)
- 10 Ways to Get Motivated for a Morning Workout (n.d., everydayhealth.com)
- 12 Things Healthy Morning People Do Every Day (2015, cosmopolitan.com)
- 14 Clever Morning Workout Motivation Tips That Will Actually Get You Out of Bed (2020, self.com)
- 18 Actually Helpful Tips for Waking Up Early to Work Out (2020, greatist.com)
- Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- FACT CHECK: ARE EARLY MORNING WORKOUTS BAD FOR YOU? (2020, adidas.com)
- Is Going To The Gym Before Work Right For You? (2017, thriveglobal.com)
- Working Out in the Morning is Best for Stress, Not Muscle Size, Report Says (2015, biospace.com)