It’s 5.30 a.m.
The alarm goes off. You hit snooze. It wails again. You hit snooze, again.
It’s suddenly 7.30 a.m. You are late for work and have missed your morning gym session.
“How did this happen?” you cry out loud.
Well, for starters, you played a very successful game with your alarm clock. Congratulations on winning!
However, you did lose a very vital battle against fitness motivation this morning.
If the aforementioned has become an everyday morning drama in your life, then you need to change things.
Work with me…
Why exercise in the morning?
A morning workout is close to my heart for three main reasons:
1. Fat Burning Benefits – Your body uses up energy in three forms while training: first is muscle glycogen, then it’s blood sugar and lastly the fat stored in the body. When it’s been anywhere from 8-12 hours since your last meal, it’s safe to say your blood glucose levels are low, so when you wake up and train, the body kicks into burning muscle glycogen and fat much faster. A study published in The Journal of Physiology states that exercising in during a fasting stage stimulates energy provision via fat oxidation. Therefore if weight loss is your goal, morning training rocks. Don’t get me wrong, lunch or evening training is still fabulous. In fact, the best time of the day to train is, well, ANYTIME! If muscle size, strength or performance is your number one goal, afternoon or evening training may suit you better, but if weight loss is on your agenda, mark my words that mornings are the best time to train.
2. Boost in metabolism – After a morning workout, your digestive system runs on a fast forward speed. Talking on a generalised level, the metabolism stays boosted for up to 15-hours after an A.M. workout. This in turn means that the body burns up the food you eat throughout the day faster, like a Kenyan runner (well – almost!).
3. Morning exercisers are more consistent – In my many years of working in, owning, basically living and breathing gyms, I can assure you that morning exercisers are more consistent. Not only day by day, but week by week, year by year. Health and Fitness experts from American Council of Exercise in San Deigo suggest that morning workout is the best problem solver of lazy exercisers, as it gets you in a long-lasting routine.
Because of these golden reasons, I am pumped to convince each and every one of you to train first thing in the morning. No matter how busy you are, I have tips, tricks to get you out of that blanket and into your running shoes.
I might also have some treats post-challenge. But don’t worry; I’m not bribing you, not just yet.
Appalachian State University in North Carolina conducted a study in 2011 granting 7 a.m. to be the best time to workout in the day, as it proved to have lowered blood pressure and improved the quality of sleep amongst participants.
But I didn’t exactly need a study to tell me that. I have been a vivid fan of working out before breakfast, so much so that I have converted an army of my friends and clients in doing so. At least, I’d like to believe I have.
The Crack of Arse Challenge
To create a new buzz in your fitness routine, I have sculpted a fitness challenge for all my loyal social media followers. So if your 70-year-old grandma is riding the Twitter wave, please don’t hesitate to let her get on with the challenge. I’d love her on board.
Crack of Arse, also known as #CrackOfArse on Twitter, is a challenge that lasts the first five working days of a month, i.e. Monday-Friday.
For these five days, you have to start training between 5-7 a.m., then take a photo of your training as a proof and tweet it to my Twitter account. Do this diligently for five days and win yourself a health-laden hamper prize of the month.
- Train five days straight, Monday – Friday starting between 5-7am on the first week of each calendar month.
- You don’t necessarily need to finish your workout by 7 a.m.; the challenge is to start training somewhere between the two hours.
- The workout can be of any kind: a circuit session, resistance training, a group fitness class or running on the beach. All you need to do is exercise in the morning before you indulge in a healthy breakfast.
- Take a photograph of anything workout related and don’t be embarrassed to do so. It could be your sweaty head, your heart rate monitor results, your gym, your puddle of sweat. It’s proof that you worked out. Everyone in the gym is too busy doing their own thing; no one will notice you snapping away.
- Upload this to twitter and tag me and #CrackOfArse.
- At this stage, the challenge is only limited to my Twitter followers. Be sure to tweet me the photo at @ameliaburton.
- At the end of the 5-day challenge, I’ll pick two winners who’ll win our healthy hamper prize of the month.
All I’m asking for is a disciplined morning routine for five consecutive days in a month, no more and no less. At best I’m hoping that after you successfully finish this challenge, your body will adjust to the morning hour and crave a morning workout session from there on. At worst, you will have trained a few extra days when you normally might have hit the snooze button.
Remember – the change starts in your bedroom, under that warm and cozy blanket. If you can resist the urge to hit the snooze button, get out of bed on time, tie those shoe laces and walk out of the house in pride, and do all this before the sun comes out, you have already half-won the battle.
But having said that, let me also put my other motto on the table, that being, any time is a good time for a workout. If you realistically cannot fit in a morning workout in your schedule, don’t give up all together. Workout at any hour of the day and you’ll still be a winner.
Tips to avoid the snooze-tragedy
We know it’s hard, especially when the weather cools down,but discipline and perseverance is all it takes to delegate yourself to a morning workout routine.
- Prepare your gym bag and leave it near the front door. This means going the whole nine yards: fill up your water bottle, pack the iPod, and decide on the next day’s work clothes.
- Don’t put your alarm clock on your bedside table – that’s easily accessible. Place your phone or clock away from the bed, so when it goes off, you have to literally get out of bed.
- Update your iPod playlist every month or so. New music in your ears would motivate you to workout.
- Convince a friend, partner, sibling, neighbour to participate in the challenge with you. Doesn’t matter if they’re not a Twitter user, you’ll at least have a companion to keep you motivated.
August’s Prize Hamper
As promised, I’ll be picking two winners from this week-long challenge, starting July 29 – August 2.
Since it’s the last month of Winter (yay!), I want to end the season on a wintery note… with tea, lots and lots of tea.
Resonating with the Ayurvedic methods of treatment and healing, Pukka is a blend of powerful herbs and teas that will uplift you, relax you, cleanse or calm. The blends are all organic, made with a lot of love and imported all the way from the UK. When Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole started the brand, they wanted to create teas that are packed with flavours and rich in therapeutic and functional benefits. What I also love is the packaging – it looks beautiful in the tea drawer, and they are all stored in individual sachets to seal the aromatic goodness.
I’m yet to come across a tea that I haven’t fallen in love with… they’re all so flavoursome!
The good news is that, this month, two winners are getting the chance to win a $60 worth of hampers with eight variety boxes of teas each. All you gotta do is wake up, exercise and tweet!
Who wants to workout at 5am now?