Morning Workouts: Why I Choose to Workout Before Work Instead of Afterward
I’m not a morning person. Never been one, nor do I want to be. I think people that enjoy waking up in the morning are crazy. Even today, I have to force myself to wake up every single morning. Depending on how many chores I have in the morning before leaving for work, I’ll set my phone alarm for either 4, 4:30, or 5 AM.
I’d prefer 8 or 9, but those hours aren’t on the table.
I’ve tried working out a variety of times over the last few years, including before work (between 5 and 7 AM) to directly after leaving work (4-5 PM) to later on after dinner and family time (around 7-9 PM). I’ve concluded that morning workouts that take place before going breakfast and before heading to the office work best for me.
Sets the tone for the day. If you had a half a dozen donuts for breakfast, that sets your tone for the day — you feel like your “diet” is ruined for the day and you can eat whatever you want. The same logic applies toward going to the gym. If you go to the gym first thing in the morning, that sets a healthy tone for the day.
Gets your physical activity for the day out of the way. By choosing to workout in the morning, you get your calorie burning out of the way for the day so nothing can come up later on and ruin it. This includes Jimmy’s soccer game that you forgot about, being asked to stay late at the office, a surprise visit from the in-laws, etc.
The gym is much less crowded in the morning. If you have the option of going to the gym at 2 PM, well, that’s probably a lot less crowded than going to the gym either in the morning or during the evening. But if you only had the option of going before or after work like I do, the gym will be much less crowded in the morning.
Early morning workouts do have a couple of major drawbacks. You’re usually leaving for the gym around the coldest time of the day, which is obviously great during the summer (especially in South Carolina), but not so much for December. Also, a lot of folks aren’t “morning people,” and lack serious energy right after they roll out of bed.
That’s nothing a little bit of caffeine and some loud workout playlists can’t fix, though.