There’s nothing quite like launching myself out of bed at 5.30am to greet the prospect of a morning training session. I can’t wait to rip open the curtains almost off their rails to reveal the faint suggestion of morning light and the odd magpie yodelling the day into life.
Filling my lungs with crisp, fresh, yet-to-be adulterated pre-dawn air. Feeling my heart rate start to quicken in anticipation of a slammin’ workout of Spartan proportions to catapult me into the day. There’s nothing quite like it because, well, mostly because it never happens.
What does happen is that I get woken with a cup of tea at 5.25am (I didn’t hear the alarm – I never do – which is why I never have it on my side of the bed), which is my cue to start bitchin’ about not being a morning person and my almost certifiable hatred of anyone that is! Then putting on my gym gear in a near-unconscious state, and tripping over the dog as I fall out of the back door, brain switched resolutely in the ‘off’ position. But it works for me. Which brings me to the question – when is the best time to train?
Training in the morning has physiological as well as psychological benefits. My favourites are the psychological ones, principally that by 8am my exercise is done and dusted and I can get on with my day, smug in the knowledge that all I have to do is eat right for the day and I’m right on track for achieving that optimum health.
The physiological benefits though are the icing on the cake (or rather, the low fat ricotta on the wholemeal toast, preferably with a sprinkle of dried cranberries and cracked pepper!)
Training in the a.m. promotes fat burning as there isn’t as much glycogen around. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose, which we use as fuel. In the mornings, because we haven’t eaten anything during the night, our glycogen stores are depleted, so we tend to use stored body fat as a source of energy source.
Morning training also cranks our metabolism up earlier in the day so it runs faster for longer, chewing up the calories as it does so. Our brains sharpen up with an early morning wheat grass shot of glucose, and we don’t have to dodge a gazillion punters at the 5pm gym peak hour.
But, if you’re a strength trainer working out between 3pm and 7pm may be better for you. Your body temperature is at it’s warmest and your muscles are at their strongest, some researchers suggest by as much as five per cent. Warm, flexible muscles also reduce your risk of injury.
Article by Michelle Bridges, sourced from Oh! Magazine.