Wake up! There’s more to working out in the morning than simply moving your body to your a.m. regimen. Proper nutrition, hydration, warmups—and even a few tunes—are the perfect package for any full-bodied, morning routine.
Whether building muscle or trying to shed pounds—this is your new early morning workout agenda.
Find the right fuel
To eat or not to eat before a morning workout?
If you’re going to eat, do it at least one hour before you’re in motion. Keep it light such as a protein shake (we suggest ALOHA's Premium Protein) and berries, or a shake and oatmeal. Stay clear of fiberous and fatty foods as they sit in the stomach longer, making you feel heavy and sluggish.
Nick Johnson, director of programming and education of Halevy Life, says, “An athlete looking to get the most out of a workout is going to want a combination of carbs and protein for energy and recovery. For someone looking to drop a few pounds, keeping the carbs down allows you to target a higher amount of stored fat during your workout."
Get the blood flowing
The body needs to adjust to what is about to happen to it when you wake up. A morning routine works, so add five minutes of drills to keep you unbreakable. Whether it’s taking a quick, 25- to 30-second shower to get the body temperature up a bit or throwing in some yoga moves, warming up pre-workout is crucial in helping to avoid injuries. “The best way to get warmed up for a workout is to do dynamic movements that mimic what you will be doing in your workout that day,” says Johnson. To get the most out of your warmup, he recommends addressing all movement patterns by balancing your workout regimen to your warmup routine, addressing your full range of motion for proper joint mobility with some constant movement. “No reaching and holding for more than one second with anything,” says Johnson. His 15-minute, a.m. warmup consists of walking lunges with twists and quad stretches, pushup to inchworm to downward dog, alternating lateral lunges and more.
Pump up the volume
If electronic is more your speed, go ahead and turn it up. Music can help regulate moods and stamina during a workout. It’s also a great distraction. In fact, listening to music can have a profound impact on physical effort by making you less aware of exertion, in addition to helping you keep a rhythmic pace to your workout. A recent study by John Moores University found that people riding an indoor bike can sustain their regular pace for 30 minutes while listening to a song of their choice. In a second trial, the tempo of the music was increased or decreased. In the end, riders' heart rate and mileage decreased when the tempo slowed, while others rode a greater distance and increased their heart rate with a faster tempo of tunes.
The body needs water—especially during workouts. Think of yourself as always dehydrated, particularly when working out. The body is more than 60% water, so if you’re not well-hydrated prior to a workout, you cannot perform at your best. Nathaniel Oliver, CEO, Type A Training LLC, recommends having a glass of water before you go to bed so you wake up hydrated and ready to go; down another glass 10 to 15 minutes before a workout. “If you are waking up wary to working out and you’re not hydrated, you’re in trouble,” says Oliver. “You can’t fully hydrate yourself in 15 minutes before your workout.” He suggests keeping the body fully hydrated throughout the day by drinking 8-10oz every two to three hours.
What you put into your body after a workout may be more important than what goes in before. If you can’t eat earlier, hold off on food until later. Packing in some protein post-workout helps to repair muscles and encourage growth, whether you grab a hard-boiled egg or a protein shake paired with a banana and berries. Protein before a workout doesn’t lead to more muscle mass, but pumping in some of these nutrients post-workout is when your body is most receptive to its muscle-building effects.