Morning exercise can start off your day like a good cup of coffee. It not only wakes up your muscles, but it wakes up your central nervous system including your brain. Working out your body first thing in the morning is equivalent to warming up a car engine on a cold winter day. The benefits include:
- Circulation is enhanced.
- Feel good endorphins are released.
- Fat molecules are burned.
EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This basically means that depending on the intensity of your morning exercise, your body will continue burning calories for several hours afterward. Because your metabolism is revved up (just like those pistons firing in your car engine), food consumption is not needed. Therefore, cravings that may arise after a well-balanced breakfast are easier to stave off, enabling you to get through the morning and engage in a healthy, uncompromising afternoon lunch.
Reducing Cravings with Morning Exercise
It may be difficult to squeeze in a morning exercise routine, but take into account some of the advantages compared to an after work or evening workout.
- Early Wake-Up: You rise earlier, which often gets you to bed earlier. Therefore, you get more sleep which helps not only with bodily reparation, but studies show that more sleep contributes to weight loss success.
- No Night Eating: Evening cravings will dissipate if you get to bed early to stick to your morning exercise routine. If you are not awake to be bored enough to crave dreaded high calorie snacking, you will not gain weight.
- Boosted Metabolism: A stimulated metabolism burns calories and contributes to EPOC. As EPOC works throughout the day, your cravings are pushed to the wayside.
- No Chance of Missing a Workout: Working out in the morning guarantees that you will not get sidetracked during the day and miss an afternoon or evening routine. When others are running to the gym after work, you are sitting down for a healthy meal having reduced your cravings throughout the day due to your morning exercise.
- Circadian Rhythm: This is a physiological, biochemical and behavioral 24 hour cycle (circadian is derived from the Latin term circa which means ‘around’) that your body uses to adapt to everyday living. By working out in the morning and getting to sleep on a set schedule, you are inadvertently setting up a cycle that will not only keep you balanced, both physically and mentally, but it will also enable you to maintain a healthy eating program. By keeping your meals on a fixed schedule and drinking plenty of water in-between, your cravings will be easier to avoid.
- Evening Exercise Dangers: An after work or evening workout does all the things a morning workout does, however, instead of keeping your body in perpetual motion throughout the day, you will more often than not sit down to a large dinner and then watch television. This sedentary routine takes many of the benefits out of your workout. Evening cravings will be more intense and you will probably end up putting more calories into your body than you burned off. In addition, because your body is so revved up after your workout, you will probably stay awake longer which can compromise a restful sleep and weight control.
There are several benefits of engaging in a morning exercise routine. One reason to rise and shine early and hit the gym is to reduce your cravings–and keep your metabolism boosted–for the rest of the day.