This article for goldfish:
- Nature doesn’t determine whether you’re a night owl or a morning person. You do.
- Regular workouts will make you feel happier and more energetic throughout the day that follows. In the long run, you’re likely to increase your self-control and self-esteem, which are both important when trying to achieve ambitious personal goals.
- When working out first thing in the morning, it is less likely you’ll cancel your workout due to an unexpected change of plans during the day. In addition, a morning workout can give you a competitive edge on the work floor.
This article for humans:
I’ve been a night owl since I was a kid.
I tried to avoid morning people like the plague (how dare you be upbeat and energetic so early in the morning, while I am still trying to wake up?).
As a student, I felt my brain was more creative during the nightly hours, although I seldom used these hours to actually create something. I felt the nightly hours added more value to my life, although I always spent these hours on activities that were fun in the short term, but did more harm than good to my long-term ambitions.
I used to think there were two kinds of people: morning people and night owls. That was how nature intended it to be. You’re either one or the other, and it was something that can’t be changed.
I was wrong about this.
You can in fact decide to become a morning person or a night owl. It is completely in your control. Not to say it’s easy to switch from one to another. Like changing your diet, your body starts to protest long before you reap the benefits.
So what are the benefits of working out in the morning anyway? Let’s start with having a quick look into why you’d work out at all.
The benefits of working out daily.
The physical health benefits of working out daily (when done right!) are well-known.
So are the benefits of becoming ultra-sexy as a result of working out regularly. If that doesn’t get you of the couch or out of bed, maybe the following will…
The mental health benefits of a workout include feeling more energetic throughout your day (source) and an increased sense of happiness (source). You don’t even have to work out for a long time to reap these benefits, you’ll get them early on. It’s nature’s reward for keeping your body fit.
So even if you’re not in it for the aesthetics and you’re perfectly happy with how your body currently looks like (all the power to you!), there are plenty of mental benefits to working out.
So why would you work out in the early morning, when it seems so much easier to do it in the evening?
The benefits of working out at the crack of dawn.
Although I can’t say I am fully transformed to a ‘morning person’, I do get up at around 5 AM on most working days. These are some of the benefits of getting up to do a workout long before the first rays of sunlight light up the streets:
- You’re less likely to cancel your workout. Plan to work out when everyone else is awake and you open the door to the possibility of the unexpected getting in the way of your good intentions. When I still worked out in the evening after my day job, I’d have to cancel often, either because my colleagues and friends wanted to get out for dinner and drinks, or because of unexpected overtime. If that didn’t happen, I’d often just be too tired to do anything at all after my workday.
- Unfair advantage on the work floor. The days I work out in the morning, I float around the office on an after-workout energy rush that lasts way past lunch time. When everybody else is still waking up, I am sharp, proactive, hyper-productive and in a great mood. It gives me the competitive advantage I need to progress in my career.
- Beat the heat. If you live in a place that gets hot during the summer, you’ll have a much better time working out during the early hours.
Rise early and do it consistently. You’ll get a lot in return.
A night owl’s guide to waking up early.
It’s not easy to switch to being a morning person, if you’ve always been a night owl. Believe me, I know.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Go to bed early. You know best how many hours of sleep you need a day. Calculate backwards from there. How late will you need to get up, to get enough sleep and still get up at 5 AM? For me it’s 9 PM. If for whatever reason I can’t make it to bed before 9.30 PM, I don’t even try to get up at 5, because I know I’ll feel tired the rest of the week.
Trouble falling asleep early? Give your body some time to get used to your new routine. Try to avoid bright (bathroom) lights and screens an hour before you get to bed. Read a book instead: you might learn something new and your eyes will get tired eventually! Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day also helps.
- Set yourself up for success, the night before. Place your phone away from your bed. Not only will this lessen the temptation to check your messages when you can’t sleep, but it’ll also force you to get up to turn off the alarm. Prepare your gym clothes the night before, so you don’t have to scrummage around for them in the morning.
- Form the habit. It takes, on average, 66 days to form a new habit. After these initial 66 days, things get easier, as long as you form a routine and stick to it! Exceptions and excuses will make it harder on yourself, try to limit them as much as possible. Discipline is the key to success.
I’ve been a night owl and morning person and if I had to choose to be one or another for an entire lifetime, I’d choose morning person every time.
Plenty of successful people made their workout part of their morning routine and you can be next.
Do the things that others won’t, so you can enjoy the progress that others won’t.
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