If your morning routine includes rising early to work out, we have some good news to share. Exercising in the morning may be more effective than working out later on in the day. In fact, according to a 2023 study published in Obesity, working out between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. could help speed up your weight loss efforts and trim belly fat. We here at Eat This, Not That! spoke with experts who share several reasons why morning workouts are more effective for your fitness goals.
Working out in the morning may not be for everyone, but there are some key tips you can implement into your regimen that will make rising early for exercise much more of a seamless (and enjoyable!) process. According to Noel Miller, master coach for Row House, habits like scheduling a morning workout class or session with a personal trainer, having a light protein-packed snack, prepping your workout clothes and gym bag the night before, and heading to sleep early can all boost your morning workouts.
So without delay, read on to learn more about the top reasons why morning workouts are more effective. And when you're finished, be sure to check out 9 Lazy Ways to Lose Weight All Month Long.
They help you avoid distractions.
Exercising before starting a busy workday can help you avoid many distractions. "Working out in the morning before you've taken phone calls, started meetings, responded to emails, greeted the family, or started tackling everything on your to-do list means that you'll get your workout in before anything can get in the way of you doing it," Miller tells us.
They boost your mood, setting a positive tone for your day.
Exercising is an effective way to boost your mood naturally. Therefore, working out in the morning can help set a positive tone for your entire day. "[Exercise] causes the brain to emit endorphins which can create the 'runner's high' which is a great sense of joy or delight; it can also help you feel relaxed and calm," Miller tells us. "Not everyone experiences this sense of euphoria, but for those [who] do, what a great way to start the day!"
They support better sleep.
Morning workouts help you tap into your body's circadian rhythm, explains Juanita Franke, NCPT, lead instructor and master trainer at Club Pilates Charlottesville in Virginia. "Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, naturally reaches its peak in the morning and gradually diminishes throughout the day as the body prepares for sleep," says Franke. "By exercising in the morning, you're able to take advantage of this surge and perform when cortisol levels are at their highest rather than in the evening when levels are reducing to prepare for sleep."
Aligning your workouts with your body's natural circadian rhythm helps you feel more alert and productive during the day, along with promoting better sleep at night.
They help you form better habits.
Habits are so much more successful when you build them into a routine. "Morning workouts provide a structured and consistent routine because they are less likely to be disrupted by unexpected events or work-related issues that may arise later in the day," Franke explains. "No meetings that run late, last-minute activities with the kids, or networking events to attend! Consistency is key to forming any habit, and morning workouts help establish a regular pattern that can make exercise a natural part of your daily routine."
They pave the way for all-around healthier choices.
Starting your day with a vigorous workout will get you pumped up and in the right mindset to make healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. "People who exercise regularly often find themselves making healthier food choices and adopting other positive lifestyle habits," Franke points out. "In a study conducted in 2018, it was found that individuals who engage in physical activity before meals are inclined to opt for more nutritious food options. Although the exact reason behind this behavior remains unclear, exercising in the morning inspires healthier choices throughout the rest of the day!"
They emphasize self-care.
Amid a hectic schedule, it's easy to put self-care on the back burner. But by kicking off the day with an invigorating morning workout, you're putting your health and wellness first. "Starting your day with your workout sends the message to you and others that taking care of yourself is a priority," Miller tells us. "And when you take care of you, you're better equipped to take care of other tasks and people in your life."