Getting out of bed in the morning usually consists of a few snoozes, a lot of groans, and at least a few minutes of absolutely dreading getting out of the haven that is your mountain of pillows and blankets. The only thing that could make it even harder? Knowing you’re getting out of bed to hit the gym.
Working out in the morning is no easy feat. It means less time sleeping and makes the chances of being able to make your second-day hair work-appropriate slim to none — but it’s backed by science as the best time to hit the gym. From better sleep to getting better, faster results, a morning workout can completely change your day. These morning workout benefits will make you want to set your alarm for an hour earlier and might just make you a morning person.
1. You’ll consume fewer extra calories throughout the day
While you might think that burning calories in the morning would give you even more reason to go crazy on the office donuts, the study found that those who work out in the morning don’t consume any more calories throughout the day than those who don’t. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that those who worked out in the morning found tasty images of food less appealing than those who didn’t and that working out in the morning prevented consuming unnecessary calories throughout the day.
2. You’ll sleep better at night
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “When you sleep at night, your blood pressure naturally dips by about 10 to 20 percent. That reduction is good for your heart and may be one way that your body restores itself when you sleep. An early morning sweat session may provide the ideal blood pressure reduction, as well as maximize deep sleep, compared with midday or evening workouts.”
Since a tough workout increases your body temperature and heart rate, working out at night can make it more difficult to relax and fall asleep at night. Working out in the morning sets you up to have a good night’s rest without any unnecessary tossing or turning.
3. You’ll be more active throughout the day
Studies have found that people who work out in the morning end up being more active throughout the entirety of their day. Getting moving in the morning can help prevent being sluggish and can make it more likely that you’ll hit those 10,000 steps by the end of the day.
4. Exercising in the morning burns more fat than later in the day
When you exercise first thing in the morning, your stomach is emptier than if you were to at other times of the day. Research shows that when you exercise on an empty stomach, your body is forced to dip into your fat reservoirs to get the energy to use, which burns more fat in the meantime.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat anything before your morning workout if you’re hungry — if you need to eat, experts suggest a banana with peanut butter, dried fruit, or a hard-boiled egg with toast.
5. You’ll start the day in a better mood
Everyone knows that exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and kick stress’ butt — so, working out first thing in the morning can put you in a better headspace to start your day. A morning sweat session can clear your mind and set you up for success throughout your entire day.
6. You get it out of the way
It’s no secret that working out can feel like a huge chore — especially when you’re planning on doing it after work, and you have the entire day to think about it (and dread it). By getting it done first thing in the morning, you’re free for the rest of the day and won’t get a mental block or come up with excuses to not get it done — especially after that stressful 2 pm work meeting.
7. It can help increase your metabolism and promote muscle growth
First thing in the morning, testosterone levels are at their daily high, which can lead your workout to give an extra boost to your metabolism and muscle growth. According to the National Institute for Fitness, “The more testosterone we have in our bodies while working out, the more efficient our bodies will be at muscle production. Taking advantage of this morning boost of testosterone can help build muscle more efficiently.”