There’s a million motivational one liners for the morning workout warrior:
Rise and Grind. Get It In Early. I Do More Before 8am Than You Do In A Day. And my personal favorite: My Worldview Can Fit On A T-Shirt … (okay, not that one).
Everyone knows the myth of the early morning gym rat. It’s an image pushed on the public more often by business publications than fitness mags, I reckon. Read a “day in the life” article on Forbes or Business Insider and you’ll probably find some Successful Person describing how they start the day with a 4am triathlon. This Successful Person will then explain how waking up early is really just a Will Power thing, and the key to their success as a Successful Person has been sheer force of will. Definitely…
Maybe I’m being hard on this made-up Successful Person. But this is a blog and sometimes it’s good to get angry! So this week I’m going to take aim at the idea that early morning workouts suggest a kind of self discipline that has a quality of moral superiority. I underlined the last part because it’s the most important part of what I’m saying. People that work out in the morning are great and I love them. Y'all impress me. People that boast about how early they head to the gym can collapse under the weight of a Smith Machine for all I care.
The thing about working out is that people do it for a million different reasons, some less douchey than others. Unfortunately, a fair number of people treat the gym like a staircase up a human hierarchy chart. That’s a bad attitude to have, in my opinion. Hence my distaste for when a Successful Person points to his workout schedule as some indicator of his or her personal greatness. Don’t impose your pretensions on the gym. There are better places to channel your self righteousness, like Whole Foods or Church.
Now, if you go to the gym for some combination of looking better, feeling healthier, becoming a better athlete, or finding inner peace from sweating, than the important thing is not when you train, but how consistent you are.
Now if we want to talk purely about performance in the weight room (and we should) than timing a workout properly will make some times better than others. Here’s a simple fact: you will not have a lot of energy to workout if you roll out of bed and head over to the gym. Think about it: you’ve been fasting for about 8ish hours (probably longer if you didn’t eat just before bed). There are still some reasons people like to train in a fasted state (it may increases fat burn), but just be aware you’re energy will be less than usual.
Personally, I think my best time of day is around 5pm, but often I compromise for the sake of a better work-life schedule. Just as an example, in my last year of college I went from working right after classes (3:30pm) to after dinner (8pm) to first thing in the morning (7:15am). These days I’m going around 5pm, but only a few months ago I was heading right after finishing work (2:30pm).
Basically, I’ve trained at almost all hours of the day, except very early in the morning and very late at night. None of those times are inherently better than others, provided you plan a little in advance. So don’t buy into the mystique of the Successful Morning Person. Find the right time for you to do your best work in and outside of the gym.
p.s. Sleep is good.
Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.