If you had told me right after college to exercise before work, I would have told you, “No thanks!”
At that time, I never would have predicted that I’d eventually become an advocate of morning exercise. However, I changed my schedule back in 2013, and I’ve worked out religiously before work since then. These days, I can’t imagine going to work without exercising beforehand. In this article, you’ll learn the three biggest benefits of working out before you start your workday.
Note: If this is your first time at StrongerHabits.com, you can click here to take a free assessment that measures your habits in four areas that have a major impact on how you feel and perform each day. The assessment takes less than 3 minutes, and you get your results immediately.
1. Morning workouts release feel-good hormones and boost your brainpower. Exercise makes your body and brain stronger over the long-term, and it also releases feel-good chemicals in the short-term. Morning exercise (when combined with quality sleep and quality nutrition) will improve your mood at work and make it easier for you to concentrate. As Dr. John J. Ratey writes in Spark; The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, “If you had half an hour of exercise this morning, you’re in the right frame of mind to sit still and focus on this paragraph, and your brain is far more equipped to remember it.”
2. Morning workouts set a strong tone for your day. Start your day by voluntarily doing something difficult (like getting up early and working out), and you set a powerful tone for the rest of your day. Obstacles that you face later on will seem smaller when you’ve already crushed a morning exercise session before the sun came up. Morning workouts will completely change the way that you view yourself and the challenges that you face on a daily basis. Would you like to be tougher, more disciplined, and more resilient every day? Exercising before work is one way to develop these desirable traits.
3. Morning workouts increase your exercise consistency. If you have a predictable work schedule and you are single with no kids, you might find it easy to exercise after work. However, anyone with a family and/or an unpredictable work schedule will face many personal and professional conflicts in the evenings. As Jennifer Carr-Smith, an SVP at Groupon, told me in an interview for Work Stronger, “If I don’t exercise in the morning, it doesn’t happen later on.” This sentiment is common, especially when you are juggling a demanding career and a family, like Jennifer is as an executive, a wife, and a mother of three children. By working out in the mornings, you increase your exercise consistency. You also keep your evenings free, and you won’t have an evening workout hanging over your head all day long.
But, I’m not a morning person!
No problem. You don’t need to be a “morning person” to work out before work. You can work out before work because you’re not a “morning person.” Morning exercise is even more powerful if you don’t feel great when you wake up. Physical activity before work will help you show up at work at your best- physically, mentally, and psychologically. You can click here to learn how to exercise before work (even if you’re not a morning person).
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P.S. If this is your first time at StrongerHabits.com, you can click here to take a free assessment that measures your habits in four areas that have a major impact on how you feel and perform each day. The assessment takes less than 3 minutes, and you get your results immediately.
About the author: Pete Leibman is the creator of StrongerHabits.com and he’s the author of Work Stronger; Habits for More Energy, Less Stress, and Higher Performance at Work. Earlier in his career, Pete worked as an executive recruiter for Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership advisory firm who serves the majority of the Fortune 500. In his free time, he teaches one of the largest group exercise classes in the Washington, D.C. area, and he has competed in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships.
References for this article:
- Ratey, John J. with Eric Hagerman, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2008.