As is often the case with these tips they often tend to apply to some more than others. For example this would be of little use for those of us who aren’t ‘morning people’ or for others who regularly work early mornings.
However many of us do have the capacity to rise early, train hard and still have time to shower before work/education – got your attention? If so this tip is specifically for you!
First of all I have to point out that there is no cast iron ‘right or wrong’ time to train – we naturally desire to go to the gym when we believe it best suits our circumstances which is nearly always a subjective approach. That’s why I’m keen to stress the title of this tip is to consider training in the mornings – after all you may not be aware of the potential benefits!
Naturally it almost goes without saying that we always feel our strongest when we get into the habit of training at a particular time, but aren’t habits difficult to break? Not if we are convinced we are better off for making a change. For example, when I’m abroad I have no problem driving on the right-hand side of the road and likewise upon my return I switch to the left just as easily. Ok this may sound a bit pedantic, but it highlights just how easy it is to make what are significant changes when we only stand to benefit – imagine how easy it would be to switch to morning training if we were convinced we’d progress faster?
As with most things in bodybuilding, decisions like this are entirely mental, physicality has nothing to do with it due to the bodies wonderful ability to adapt (often within a couple of weeks). Making the switch is simply a ‘condition of the mind’ – you have to be sold on the idea and willing to try something new! This also is a key reason why this tip will apply to some, more than others – you have to be prepared to open you mind to the potential benefits!
So, what are these benefits that are ours for the taking by deciding to train while others are still asleep?
1) Testosterone levels peak at 8am and then slowly decline over the course of the following 12 hours until they are at their lowest at 8pm. Timing perfect post-workout nutrition (see previous tip) alongside naturally peaked levels of testosterone will make a significant difference to the amount of protein you absorb at this crucial sitting therefore increasing your ability to recover and ultimately grow!
2) First thing in the morning our metabolic rates are at a 24 hour low. Intensive training first thing in the morning address’s this ‘head on’ by stoking up our metabolism (which accounts for approximately 80% of our total calorie output) for anything up to 8 hours!
3) Increase your levels of energy throughout the day. This is related to point 2, the increase in metabolic rate will give you a natural lift throughout your working day – all very positive! You’ll be amazed by the amount of work you manage to get through before 12pm, then if anything serious does happen to slow you down you can take it all in your stride – you’ll be already in front!
4) Your sleeping will improve also benefiting your recovery. Again, look at the advantage in point 2 – this can become a disadvantage if you train later in the evenings. Have you ever struggled to sleep after a hard, evening workout (even without pre-workout supplementation)? Still feel pumped/fired up?
5) This point relates to the point 4. If you train first thing in the morning you can safely take a pre-workout supplement that will naturally wear off throughout the day allowing you to achieve a deeper longer sleep and all those associated benefits (again see previous tip on sleep).
6) Better focus and concentration levels. All manner of problems can arise throughout the day, taking up you mental energy and distracting you accordingly. As soon as you’re awake your day is like a blank canvas – it’s another day! Nothing has had the chance to have a negative effect on your mind/body helping ensure you begin your workouts mentally positive and physically fresh.
7) Increased motivation to stay on the proverbial rails! Countless times people have missed the gym because they’ve let themselves down through the day with poor nutrition. By training first thing in the morning you effectively lay down a physical and mental marker for the day to come. You set the tone if you like for the remainder of the day making it so much easier to adhere to quality nutrition. The likes of over-cooked sausages and bacon for example, soon lose their appeal once you’ve pushed yourself hard in the gym!
8) Take your pick of the equipment. This is a big plus, having 100% control over what you lift and how you lift it can only be a good thing for bodybuilders. Having the options to ‘cherry pick’ the ideal workout with the options to super-set, or set up various ‘work stations’ can only increase your motivation and ‘love’ for the sport. Having to compromise when training to achieve effective muscle overload can be frustrating to say the least.
9) Increase training intensity, this comes naturally for most of us in gyms that are quiet. Without social distractions we tend to do a lot more work over time – the definition of intensity! For those of us who have an acute inner drive to succeed, I cannot express this point strongly enough.
10) Perhaps the most important reason why I suggest you to consider training in the morning is that you’ll feel positively brilliant! Waking up with bags of energy to burn in the gym (which will be the case when you soon adjust) is just the best feeling ever. You’ll leave the gym on a natural high with all those endorphins rushing through your body and I guarantee you’ll struggle to keep the smile off your face – you’ll just feel great to be alive!
These are just 10 reasons, there are in fact more but not necessarily gym related. For those of you with wives/partners and families you can spend much more quality time with them around the dinner table not having to rush off, hoping that the equipment you wish to use at the gym will be free. Also you’ll genuinely feel a lot more relaxed on an evening as your body naturally turns its attention to R&R.
So there you have it, consider a months trial and start taking advantage, out of the 23 years I’ve been training the last 17 have been between the hours of 6am and 7am. I’ve experienced firsthand every single one of the above benefits and can genuinely say that they all combine together to make one big difference! What is there to lose?