There seems to be two types of people in this world, ‘morning people’ and ‘people who don’t like morning people’. I fall into the ‘morning people’ group however it is through absolute necessity not choice I find myself there. For the last 20 years I have risen to an alarm at 5am six times a week. I don’t say this in a vain attempt to impress you, I do so to point out each time my alarm goes off the same thought pulses through my head ‘Oh no!’ I do not like getting out of bed!
However I do and head off to train ‘morning people’ in the parks of Adelaide every day except Sunday. Now you’d think over the years I’d get used to these early starts but I haven’t. Whilst I can drag myself out of bed to stand in a park and watch others exercise, the thought of joining in at this time of the morning does not interest me one bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to exercise but if it’s before 12 noon forget it. I am a night person, I love to stay up late and sleep in but I think the last time I did that I was probably in my early twenties, some years ago now. I have always done my training at night too. Whether it was football training or the many hours spent on the track when I was an athlete, after 5pm always suited me best.
And I think everyone has their own best time to exercise. Some of my ‘morning people’ clients are so lively in the morning I find it almost disturbing. They train flat out at 6am, often the sun’s not even up, yet their capacity to train is at its maximum at that time of the day. I find them amazing.
Some recent research I found from Canada suggests strength levels increase depending on brain activity levels, and these are different for each person. My brain doesn’t feel like it gets truly switched on until mid-morning so this may explain why the thought of training pre-lunch doesn’t juice me. So if you feel better and are lively in the morning, this is your best time to exercise.
There's been a myth floating around for many years suggesting a morning workout results in more calories burned. However the truth is no reliable evidence exists to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day.
There is one advantage to exercising at 6am I’ve noticed. There’s not much else going on to disrupt you. Most people are asleep at 6am or just waking up, so exercising at this time gives you a clear run free of phone calls, text messages, emails and other urgent but often not important distractions. I have noted over the years my ‘morning people’ tend to be more consistent with their training, and are on the whole, very successful and balanced individuals.
If you are not a ‘morning person’ and force yourself to exercise in the morning you will more than likely give up. I don’t want to discourage you from trying however if you know your own internal body clock is not set for an early morning workout, I’d look for other options. Far more effective to find a time when your body feels like moving, when you can exercise with some energy and enjoyment.
I’ve seen too many people beat themselves up at 6am for a few weeks, then either get injured, sick or disgruntled and the opportunity is lost. Exercise must be connected with pleasure for it to become a lifestyle choice. If you can find that connection, exercising becomes a joy, and the lean, strong, fit body you deserve becomes a consequence of doing something you love. The time of day you are doing it could make all the difference.