Let's face facts: Weight loss isn't a quick and easy process. However, you can do specific morning workouts to speed up weight loss and reach your fitness goals. A 2022 study published in Nutrients found that participants who did morning exercise lost significantly more weight than those who exercised in the evening. Fortunately, you don't need complex workout routines or fancy gym equipment. All you need is an arsenal of effective morning workouts in your back pocket that will kickstart your metabolism, torch calories, and set a positive tone for the day.
In this article, we spoke with Michael Masi, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who unveils his five best morning workouts designed to ramp up your metabolism and accelerate weight loss. This guide breaks down each workout, providing detailed instructions for each exercise to eliminate the guesswork from your weight loss quest. Regardless of your fitness level, these morning workouts are a surefire way to energize your day and skyrocket calorie burning.
Read on for the best morning workouts to speed up weight loss, then don't miss The Ultimate 30-Day Belly Fat-Melting Plan for Beginners.
Workout #1: Rounds for Time (RFT)
Masi instructs you to complete three rounds of the below movements for time.
1. Dumbbell Thrusters
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your chest up as you lower into a squat position. Explode upward, pushing the dumbbells overhead and extending your arms fully. Lower the weights back to shoulder height as you descend into the next squat.
This compound movement engages multiple muscle groups, offering an efficient full-body workout. Opt for a relatively light weight to maintain proper form throughout the set, ensuring safety and effectiveness. Aim for three to four sets of 20 reps.
2. Lateral Burpees over Dumbbells
This variation adds an extra challenge to the classic burpee. To begin, stand with dumbbells on either side of you. Drop into a squat position, placing your hands on the dumbbells. Jump your feet back into a plank position, perform a pushup, and then jump your feet back toward your hands. From this crouched position, explode into a lateral jump over the dumbbells. You can also lift the dumbbells when you stand rather than doing a jump. This dynamic exercise enhances cardiovascular endurance, agility, and strength. Perform three to four sets of 15 reps.
3. Ab Mat Sit-ups
Begin by securing your feet under a stationary object or having a partner support them. Lie on your back with an ab mat positioned beneath your lower back. With your arms crossed over your chest or your hands at the back of your head, engage your core, and lift your torso toward your thighs, keeping a straight back. Lower your upper body down to the mat, ensuring a controlled descent. If you don't have an ab mat, do foot-supported sit-ups, adjusting the movement to maintain proper form and intensity. Shoot for four sets of 20 reps.
Workout #2: As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP)
Complete as many reps/rounds as you're able to within 10 minutes, Masi instructs.
Grip a pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you, hands shoulder-width apart. Hang onto the bar freely with your arms fully extended. Use your upper-body strength to engage your core and pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower yourself back down with control.
If unassisted pull-ups are challenging, consider using a resistance band or machine for assistance. This variation allows you to build strength progressively until you can perform unassisted pull-ups. Perform six rounds of as many reps as possible.
2. Jump Rope (Single and Double-Unders)
Jumping rope is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that also enhances coordination and endurance. For double-unders, swing the rope and jump higher than usual, passing it under your feet twice in one jump. For single-unders, maintain a steady rhythm with one rope rotation for each jump. Focus on landing softly to reduce the impact on your joints. Complete either five sets of 50 double-unders or 100 single-unders.
3. Pushups to Alternate Toe Taps
Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Perform a pushup, lowering your chest toward the floor while maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels. As you push back up, lift one hand off the ground and tap the opposite toe. Repeat on the other side. Aim for five rounds of as many reps as possible.
Workout #3: Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) Kettlebell Workout
Next up on this list of morning workouts to speed up weight loss calls for a kettlebell. "Every minute on the minute, perform the next round," Masi explains. "Rest for the remainder of the minute, then move on to the next round. Do this for nine minutes. Choose a semi-challenging weight and try to use the same weight for all exercises," says Masi.
1. Kettlebell Swings
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight, and let the kettlebell swing back between your legs. Drive your hips forward, using the momentum to swing the kettlebell to chest height. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down. Maintain a firm grip and control the movement with your hips, not your arms, for an effective and safe workout. Complete four rounds of 20 reps.
2. Kettlebell Goblet Squats
Hold a kettlebell close to your chest, keeping your elbows pointing down. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees, ensuring they stack over your toes. Lower yourself into a squat position, maintaining an upright torso. Drive through your heels to return to the starting position. Shoot for four rounds of 20 reps.
3. Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift
Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, maintaining a slight knee bend. Hinge at your hips, lowering the kettlebell toward the ground while keeping it close to your body. Maintain a straight back, and feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the upright position by squeezing your glutes and engaging your hamstrings. Target four sets of 20 reps.
Workout #4 Upper-Body Strength Workout
Masi says, "Use a dumbbell weight that makes completing the prescribed rep ranges difficult. Rest for 90 seconds between sets."
1. Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand above your chest. Lower the dumbbells toward the sides of your chest, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Press the dumbbells back up, extending your arms. Focus on a controlled movement to maximize muscle engagement and reduce the risk of injury. Complete three sets of 15 reps.
2. Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
Sit straight back on a bench or chair, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Press the dumbbells overhead, fully extending your arms without locking your elbows. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height, maintaining a controlled pace. Perform three sets of 15 reps.
3. Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
Position yourself on a bench with one knee and hand, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand. Keep your back straight, and pull the dumbbell toward your hip, engaging your lats. Lower the dumbbell back down, and repeat. Do three sets of 15 reps per arm.
4. Alternating Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. Curl one dumbbell toward your shoulder while keeping the other arm extended. Alternate arms in a smooth, controlled manner. Focus on maintaining proper form and controlled movements for optimal results. Shoot for three sets of 15 reps per arm.
Workout #5 Lower-Body Strength Workout
Last up on this list of morning workouts to speed up weight loss is all about lower-body strength. Like the upper-body strength workout, select a weight that makes performing the recommended number of sets difficult.
1. Dumbbell Goblet Squats
Hold a dumbbell close to your chest with both hands, and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position, keeping your chest up and maintaining a neutral spine. Push through your heels to return to the starting position. This compound movement targets multiple muscle groups, including your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Perform three sets of 15 reps.
2. Dumbbell Deadlifts
Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs. Hinge at your hips, lowering the dumbbells toward the ground while keeping your back straight. Engage your hamstrings and glutes to return to a standing position. Aim for three sets of 15 reps.
3. Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step forward with one foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off the front foot to bring your feet together, then repeat on the other leg. This dynamic exercise adds a functional aspect to your workout, improving balance and coordination. Do three sets of 20 reps.
4. Bodyweight Calf Raises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, rise onto the balls of your feet, and squeeze your calves at the top of the movement. Lower your heels back down, feeling a stretch in your calves. This exercise is simple yet effective for targeting the calf muscles and improving lower leg strength. Shoot for three sets of 20 reps.