Many of us find that at the end of the day we are simply too exhausted to exercise. But morning workouts come with their own challenges – in particular time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for extended exercise sessions, all before getting ready and heading out for the day.
So the key to morning workouts is to start slow (while your brain wakes up) and finish with a bang leaving you energised and ready to take on the world. All within less than 30 minutes.
Step 1: Get out of bed
Finding an extra 30 minutes in your morning might not be as hard as you think. Honestly evaluate your morning routine. Do you spend 15 minutes scrolling through social media, or drinking a cup of coffee on the couch, or hitting the snooze button and dozing in bed? Could you set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier than you currently do without that making you feel like a total sleep deprived train wreck throughout the day?
Combine the two and you’ve just found an extra 30 minutes for exercise. We’ve known guests who poured their cup of coffee into a reusable takeaway mug (with a lid to protect against spills), and then sipped it while on their exercise bike to start off their workout. Or scrolled through Facebook or listened to a podcast while walking around the block a couple of times.
The first 5-10 minutes just needs to be light easy exercise as a warm-up, also offering a little time to allow your brain to transition to being fully awake so that you can focus more on the more intense part of your workout. The last 3-5 minutes you should try to pick up the intensity so that your heart rate increases in preparation for higher intensity exercise.
Step 2: Intermittent circuits
Choose to complete a number of exercises where you exert yourself at a moderate to high intensity (depending on your fitness level) for 30-60 seconds, and then allow yourself a minute or two for a rest break in between before moving onto the next exercise.
Choose to work a variety of different alternating muscle groups. Think calf raises followed by biceps curls, squats followed by bench pushups, abdominal crunches followed by superman lifts, overhead curls followed by leg lifts, step ups followed by rowing. Complete any number of circuit repetitions for 15 minutes, and over time try to shorten the amount of time you spend resting in between sets.
Step 3: Cool it down
It’s important that you don’t just stop exercising without allowing your heart rate to return to normal. Walking on the spot, cycling at a light resistance, and active stretching are all great ways to slowly let your body cool down. You also want to try some static stretching to help reduce muscle soreness, tightness and improve flexibility in order to avoid injuries. A warm shower after a workout can help this process as well.
Notice that happy buzz you are now starting your day off with? Notice how you feel more capable, are thinking more clearly, and feel full of energy? That’s just a few of the many benefits of a morning workout, and you get to enjoy these perks all day long. Now isn’t that worth getting out of bed for?