Exercising in the morning – advantages and disadvantages (self-experiment)
There are many benefits to exercising in the morning. I have often read about it and also spoken and written about it. Some time ago I wrote an article about the benefits of morning exercise . In another article I have already addressed the question of whether you should train early or late .
For a long time, however, I had never managed to go out t
o work out in the early morning before work for a long period of time. For me, as an old night owl, the advantages were simply never convincing enough to break my habitual patterns here sustainably and to forego the advantages of training in the evening. I changed that at the beginning of this year. For a period of eight weeks I decided to move my training consistently to the early hours of the morning.
Now that these eight weeks are over, I would like to tell you about my personal experiences in this article. For this I want to describe my personal advantages and disadvantages, which I have experienced during this time, in a very open and honest way. In addition to the expected benefits, these include some unexpected ones that I was able to discover while training in the morning. H
owever, I definitely experienced some disadvantages of early training in my self-experiment, because of which I almost stopped the experiment in the meantime.
Since I am speaking very clearly about my personal experiences in this article, I will address you less directly when I present the advantages and disadvantages of exercising in the morning. You have to find out for yourself whether you can transfer all of these things to yourself and your life. However, I am sure that you will find many of the points for yourself too.
Exercising in the morning – the advantages
I’ve always seen myself as a night owl and couldn’t identify with the morning training. Because of s
ome good arguments, I finally got carried away with this experiment. In doing so, I discovered that there are many things that speak in favor of training early in the morning for me too. I also found some arguments for myself that I hadn’t expected. I want to share the eight most powerful of them with you today.
1) Working out in the morning gives me a win right after getting up
Every morning, when I get up and finish my morning ritual by going to exercise, I take a big victory in the battle against my weaker self. This helps me start the day with a positive attitude and more energy. I also ticked off an item on my to-do list before most other people even got up.
2) I need less time to get up when I work out in the morning
It usually takes me a long time to get going early in the morning. There is usually at least an hour between my alarm clock ringing and before I am able to leave the house. When I work out in the morning, right after getting up, I just don’t wait until my head is up. I’ve already packed everything, lying next to the bed, jump into my sports gear when the alarm goes off, do my morning ritual, drink a small pre-workout booster and then go straight to training.
I just force myself to get up straight away and come to training as soon as possible, because I don’t want to get up early. When the alarm goes off, I know I’ll have to be at the gym 30 minutes later for my warm-up . If I’m too slow, then I either have to cut back on my training or I’ll be late for work.
3) My gym is empty when I work out early in the morning
I usually train at McFit near my home. This is on the direct way to work and luckily it’s already open when I want to train in the early morning before work. In the early morning at 6 o’clock not many people are crazy enough to train with the heavy weights there.
So I have my peace, I can find a locker without any problems, I am not in anyone’s way and …
4) I save time on my morning workouts
I wouldn’t have believed it myself if someone had told me beforehand that I save so much time by going to work out in the morning. But in fact, I’m about 10-15% faster with my training than when I train in the evening. Since I’ve been training in the morning, I’ve been using significantly more time to post about my training on Instagram.
But just by not having to wait because equipment or weights are not available, I save a lot of time. Since I started training so early, I haven’t had to wait a single time to start bench presses , deadlifts, or squats . I can even do super sentences without any problems without getting in anyone’s way.
In addition, the small talk in the morning is much less extensive. On the one hand, you meet fewer people and, on the other hand, most of the people don’t feel like talking for a long time in the early morning.
5) My gym clientele is different early in the morning
I’m not saying that the crowd at my gym is a better one in the morning. Many good friends of mine train regularly in the evening and I really enjoy meeting them there. Still, I have the impression that the people in the gym are just generally friendlier in the morning. That may also be due to the overall situation. If there is no shortage of weights, then there is no need to argue about weights.
You know each other quickly, you greet each other, you help each other briefly. Somehow we are a couple of crazy people who go to training so early in the same boat. Somehow that connects and creates a positive, communal atmosphere.
6) The gym is neat and clean in the morning
This is really great and especially applies to the washrooms. The cleaning crew is either through or in the middle of it when I come to training in the morning. I personally enjoy training a lot more when I am allowed to train in a clean gym and then use a reasonably clean shower.
7) Fasting training included
Sure, training on an empty stomach is not for everyone. I don’t want to go into too much detail here with regard to the energy supply processes; I would have to write my own article for that. However, there are advantages to exercising without eating, especially if you are on a diet, want to lose weight and tone your muscles . If I go to training right after getting up, it will be easier for me to train without having to eat beforehand.
8) Immediately after the training I am fit and motivated
For me, early training is like a kind of natural energy booster . When I’ve finished training, I have significantly more energy for a few hours. This means that my most productive time of the day is around three to six hours after the end of my training. So as soon as I come to work freshly showered after training and have drunk my protein shake , I am fully efficient and can take care of the most important things of the day with full energy.
I think these are some good arguments in favor of training in the morning. Apart from the fact that it is sometimes really difficult for me to motivate myself to train in the evening after work anyway . Do I go anyway? Clear! But there is also something to be said if you have already ticked it off in the early morning. 🙂
Exercising in the morning – the disadvantages
During my preliminary research, I noticed that there is a lot to be found about the advantages but very little about the disadvantages of early morning training. Articles on the topic of morning exercise mainly deal with the benefits. In my experiment, however, I also noticed some disadvantages that I would also like to share with you here.
Here, too, there is certainly one or the other very subjective topic in addition to general arguments.
1) Who would like to get up earlier?
If you want to train early in the morning before work, you have to get up earlier … or go to work later. What sounds totally logical, you really should really be aware of it again when you make the decision for morning training.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to go to the office later on a regular basis. This is also due to the fact that I always slept until I really had to get up to get to work on time. For me, this means, despite the time gained by getting out of the house, that I have to get up about an hour and fifteen minutes earlier than before. It wasn’t fun for an owl like me.
It also means that I have to go to sleep earlier. I like to use the time in the evening very effectively and to work on this blog.
2) Greater risk of injury when exercising in the morning
When you train in the morning, your muscles are still stiff and everything is not yet well supplied with blood and nutrients. If you start training as directly as you might otherwise have done in the evening (which is also not recommended), then the risk of getting injured is significantly higher.
For this reason, it is particularly important to have a decent warm-up when training in the early morning . This is especially true if you do heavy hypertrophy training or even want to train maximum strength. To be honest, I’m not sure if I would recommend anyone doing maximum strength training in the early morning …
3) In the morning you can (for the time being) expect a reduced training performance
What I had already expected before hit me like a slap in the face at first: I simply had significantly less strength during my strength training in the early morning. At first, that wasn’t exactly a small thing. Depending on the exercise, I achieved 10-20% less training performance than in the evening.
That was always one of the most important reasons why I never managed to train for long in the morning. For me, being able to lift so much less weight is just frustrating. In addition, the weight moved also plays an important role when it comes to building muscle mass or being able to maintain as much muscle mass as possible in the diet .
After pulling it through for some time, however, I can give the all-clear. You get used to it. After a few weeks (4-6) I had reached my training weight from the evening. When I went back to compare in the evening, I found that I could only move a little more weight. I therefore believe that it only had a minimally negative effect on my training development and thus my muscle building duration .
4) Challenging Post Workout Meal
While the extensive dinner after the workout was somehow the standard for me, eating after the workout in the morning became a bit of a challenge. After all, I drive straight to the office in the morning after training.
This is not so impractical in the diet, because I simply drink a protein shake with micellar casein and thus supply my body with protein and am not hungry for a few hours. The matter is a bit more complicated, especially with nutrition in the bulking phase , since the most important meal here is the one after training.
Since I have no way of getting a suitable breakfast on the go and precooking has never been an attractive option for me, I had to find another solution. For me it now boils down to making a self-made weight gainer shake for breakfast on the way to or in the office, as I described it in my article on muscle building supplements .
5) Carrying your sportswear with you all day
This point certainly does not apply to everyone. However, since I want to integrate my training into my daily routine in a time-optimized manner, I always try to make a stop at the gym on the way to or from work. In order for this to work, I always have to have everything I need for work and training with me.
It also means that I now have to take a shower in my gym before going to work. In the evenings, I usually only showered at home after training. That’s why I now have a few more things with me. Exactly these things stay in the gym bag with my sports clothes all day after training. On the one hand, this is difficult and annoying and, on the other hand, a bit disgusting when the stuff has to sit in your pocket all day.
6) Ever heard of post-sweating
I don’t know if you are also affected, but most people sweat slightly for some time after heavy physical exertion. This is a regulatory process of the body that is not stopped by showering.
When training in the evening, I don’t shower until I’m home and have had my shake. Then enough time has passed that I no longer sweat noticeably. If I work out in the morning, however, then I can’t wait an hour after training before I shower and put on my fresh clothes for work.
7) Performance slump in the afternoon
As great as the high performance in the morning that I have after training in the morning may be, it unfortunately doesn’t last all day. After about five to six hours at work, I have a noticeable drop in my cognitive performance. Since I often work ten hours or more, this is certainly not optimal, but I believe that I am still more productive overall thanks to the boost in the morning. Fortunately, there is also coffee. 😉
What is really annoying, however, is that in the evenings, which used to be my most productive working hours (especially for the blog), I am now unfortunately nowhere near as capable. Here I had to change some of my time planning to compensate for that.
So what is really important to you should best be done in the hours after your workout in the morning. I’ve also considered whether I just sit down with my laptop in the gym for an hour and work on my blog right after my workout in the morning. So I partly use my high performance for the blog and at the same time no longer have such a big problem with sweating afterwards.
My conclusion on training in the morning
As you can see, there are many advantages, but also some disadvantages, to exercising in the morning. Some of the arguments may not apply to you, or not as much as they do to me. There might be one more argument or two for you that it didn’t appear in my list. It is important that you find out for yourself whether training in the morning is an option for you. Perhaps it will even help you to overcome your inner weaker self more easily .
But don’t give up too quickly if you want to try. At first I could easily have let myself be dissuaded again. Now, however, I’m happy that I pulled it off for so long. I’ve decided for myself that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and I continue to exercise in the morning after getting up.