Staying Motivated for a Morning Workout, Even If You’re a Night Owl

Does getting out of bed and fitting in a morning workout before the sun comes up sound more like a punishment than your favorite way to begin a new day?


Don’t sweat it. Not everyone’s an early bird!


We all have our own Circadian Rhythm which is governed by the 24 hour pattern of the earth’s rotation and influence body functions such as blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels, and heart rate, all of which play a role in your body’s readiness for exercise.


These all play a significant role in whether we’re more likely to pop out of bed at 5:00 am for a run, or prefer to head to an evening spin class on the way home from the office.


But is there an ideal time to work out to reap the most benefits?


Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just go for a run whenever we feel like it and take a quick, 20 minute snooze at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, for that matter, simply because it’s time for siesta? Sadly, for most, getting in a workout requires much more than just hitting the gym on whim.


When you factor in childcare, work schedules, dinner meetings, social calendar, and a bit of downtime for yourself, even something as natural as physical activity needs to be planned out in advance. So by default working out first thing in the morning becomes most practical.


Even if it feels contrary to what your body is telling you, you’re far less likely to face the unexpected at 5:00 am to get to Barre compared to what could occur throughout the day.


Whether it’s a last minute meeting at the office forcing you to skip your evening workout, or your child getting sent home sick with a cough, be proactive and nip the potential scheduling conflicts in the bud. At the crack of dawn, there are few things to potentially steer you off course!


“Research suggests in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better,” said Cedric Bryant, PhD, Chief Science Officer with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.1 “The thinking is that they get their exercise in before other time pressures interfere.”


Bryant recommends if you exercise in the morning, when body temperature is lower, you should simply allow more time to warm up than you would later in the day.


Even if you’re more of the nocturnal type, you can still segue into a new regime of getting moving in the morning.


Ease your transition with Paleoista’s 5 Tips to Working Out in the Morning:


1. Get Enough Sleep


As silly and obvious as it may sound, making it a priority to rest properly is likely the single more important factor not only in ensuring you’ll get to the gym, but as a contributor to overall health.Try getting to bed earlier each night until you’re hitting the sack about eight and a half hours prior to when you want to wake up, in order to allow for a solid sleep cycle.


2. Time Your Dinner


A giant dinner at 8:30 pm before a 9:00 pm turning in time is far less than ideal. Remember to eat breakfast like a king and dinner like a peasant, keeping your macros intact during the day, in order to fuel your body when it needs it most (after that morning session) and to properly digest prior to turning in.


3. Watch the Wine


If you’re enjoying a glass of Malbec with a grass-fed flank steak and Chimichurri for dinner at 6:00 pm, that’s one thing; pounding a Vesper Martini after a long, stressful day at the office right before bed is another. While it might feel like you’re settling into a restful night, there’s a big difference between falling asleep and passing out.


4. Look Forward to Morning Workouts


Make the activity you’re getting up for something you will find enjoyable. Choosing something fun will be far more appealing than a form of exercise you despise.


5. Get a Partner


If your neighbor is waiting for you on the corner at 5:30 am, ready to go on that our long brisk walk, it’s not fair to flake out and disappoint her. Working out with a buddy holds you and them accountable.


It may take a little bit of getting used to, but give it a few weeks and don’t be surprised if you find yourself turning into a bit of an early bird. With more energy to expend all day long, better mental focus as a result of the increased activity, and ability to use fat as fuel thanks to the fasted training, and a slimmer figure, you’ll find it’s a win-win-win situation!




[1] “What’s the Best Time to Exercise?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.