Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The awesomeness of morning workouts

The above photo was taken this morning at Golden Gardens (a park in Seattle).  I went to run stairs and afterward sat down to soak in the beautiful scenery with Lucy.  It was a true cherry blossom moment where I stopped and thought "THIS is why I need to make time for my health in the morning.  I feel so lucky to be here."

For the past couple of weeks, I've gotten back into my morning workout routine. I feel so proud that I've made this change in my life.  I have felt (to no surprise) so much happier in the past few weeks, due to my recent Arizona vacation followed by a sincere commitment to my health.

I first learned about the benefits of morning workouts when I started doing outdoor boot camps about 4 years ago.  I would get up at 5:00 AM, 3-5 days a week to arrive at a park at 5:30 and do a killer hour-long workout before starting the rest of my day.  Insane? Yes. Worth it? Totally.  I have never been in better shape than when I was doing morning boot camps. During one month-long session I lost 4% body fat in one month, ran a mile in under 7 minutes (which is good for me as a "non-runner"), and was able to do 40 real push-ups in one minute and hold the plank for 2:30.  Just sayin'...

Here are my personal top three reasons why I love morning workouts:

1.  When I do a morning workout, I start my day by doing something healthy and happy for MYSELF.  I make myself a priority right after waking up and feel proud that I'm taking care of myself.

2.  I love the ripple effect of my morning workout.  I am instantly energized, my metabolism gets going, I have time for a healthy sit down breakfast, I come to work in a good mood (feeling more confident), and I make healthy eating decisions for the rest of the day.  Since I pushed myself physically in the morning, I am more tired later on in the evening, and am much better about going to bed on time.  I then able able to wake up (easily) the next day for my morning workout and repeat the process again and again.

3.  I get rid of the debate (and perpetual guilty state) about whether or not to exercise after work .  It is such an AWESOME feeling getting home from work and realizing that I DON'T have to workout if I don't want to because it's already checked off my list!  My evening is up to my disposal, whether it be happy hour with a friend, going on a walk with my dog, cleaning my house, grocery shopping, or working late (if need be). 

These are just three of my reasons, but there are countless other benefits to working out in the morning.  The other day I read a great article with lots of interesting insights. Even if you're not a morning person, I believe we all have the ability to give something toward our health in the morning, even if it's just a 20 min walk or 10 minutes of yoga and meditation.

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