I used to be a morning gymnast. I really did. You could catch me at dawn ready to sweat But at some point that changed. And although I can rarely sleep even after 7:30 a.m. and enjoy exercising regularly at some point during the day, the thought of daily morning workouts felt exhausting – even before I had to set an alarm.

Sure, I might be persuaded to get up for an early spin session or bootcamp class. Missing it meant I was foregoing the fee I paid or abandoning the friend I signed up with. But the thought of having to answer only to myself is daunting – especially because sometimes I hit the snooze function too often and end up flying out the door with breakfast in hand.

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But at the beginning of the year I signed up for a half marathon and knew I had to train seriously. And because the weather was getting warmer at that time, I knew that morning exercise had to become my new daily habit.

So I made a commitment to do it for a month. Here’s how a 30 day morning workout helped me prepare for my half, and why it might be what we all need.

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I’ve changed my schedule for the better.

As a non-tomorrow person, I really had to work to get a schedule. Sometimes I stay up too late to play reality TV and then fall asleep a few extra times before work, which also meant skipping any training plans I had. I have learned to fall asleep in good time – and not to hit the snooze function again.

“If you’re working on being an early riser, you have to go to bed! Burning both ends of the candle will cause burnout – you guessed it, “Lindsey Clayton, Barry’s bootcamp instructor and co-founder of the Brave Body Project, told Runner’s World. “Sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition. So if you want to get the most out of your morning workout, you have to catch your Z’s. ”

I have a dog too, so I really needed to take enough time for a run and a walk and breakfast. I also like to have a light pre-workout snack, no matter how intense, so I had to incorporate that too. And although it depends on the person, experts say you should allow yourself at least 30 minutes to wake up and drink some fluids and maybe some fuel.

“Depending on how early you work out and what you do, you might just eat a banana and a half bagel – or 200 to 400 calories. In other words, not a full breakfast, ”said Chris Lundstrom, Ph.D., director of exercise and exercise science at the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology.

To make my morning easier, I nibble a piece of toast or fruit and then go for a walk with my dog.

The best equipment for sleeping

Fitbit Versa 2

You can find sleep tracking software in any Fitbit of your choice, but the Versa 2 has a nifty Smart Wake feature that wakes you up when you’re in your lightest sleep phase (set a 30-minute window ). Do not feel drowsy during your run.

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Allswell mattress

Buy now | Queens start at $ 375

Both the “Supreme” and the classic all-swell mattress have copper-infused foam, which conducts heat away from the body and prevents you from sweating at night.

Tuft and needle, percale sheet set

Tuft and needle, percale sheet set

Made from American-grown cotton, these naturally treated, chemical-free sheets are breathable and cool to the touch.

Therapeutic weighted eye mask

Therapeutic weighted eye mask

Travel with an eye mask to block the light in the absence of blackout curtains. This is lightly weighted, which can relieve minor exercise headaches.

I went to sleep earlier and felt less stressed.

Exercising in the morning can also help increase your resting metabolic rate, especially if you’re doing more intense workouts. So if you’re trying to lose weight, morning workouts could be especially beneficial, explains Lundstrom. Another disadvantage of evening training is that intensive training near the bed – and thus an increased metabolism – make it difficult to fall asleep and can keep you awake later at night.

Additionally, exercising in the morning can help you have a less stressful day, and I really felt it. After running and showering, I felt calm and ready to approach the day. I also had a sense of achievement right away. Knowing that I could go straight to the couch for Love Island after work helped.

“You have this huge rush of stress hormones that your body produces when you exercise, but when you finish your stress hormones go down,” explains Lundstrom. “That means you can get through your day with many benefits, including lower circulating stress hormones and lower blood pressure.”

I got used to running at the time of my race.

During my 30 day morning workout, I trained for a half marathon. Running in the morning made sure I made it, no excuses. It was also very beneficial because on race day there was no problem getting up extra early to drive an hour to the start, even with the adrenaline rush of pre-race jitter.

This made even more sense to me after talking to Lundstrom because while he said that late afternoon is the time when our bodies are at peak performance thanks to circadian rhythms, he pointed out that most races take place first thing in the morning. This means that when you are preparing for an event, it is particularly beneficial to do your workout during the time of day that your event is taking place.

And Clayton agrees. “All the races I drive take place in the morning. Running early at the same time as the actual races I signed up for gets me into this routine, so I’m not scared on race day; My body is used to being awake at this time and it’s ready to perform, ”she says.

And sure, after this 30-day experiment, I won’t do all of my runs in the morning, but I’ll still make time for it every now and then. One thing is certain, however: getting up earlier and allowing myself some “me time” in the morning will not change.


Digital editor
Jordan Smith is a writer and editor with over 5 years experience reporting health and fitness news and trends.

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