When it comes to exercising in the a.m., it’s way easier to be a wimp than a warrior—which is bad news, considering how an early sweat session may benefit your body, not to mention your to-do list.
Not only are morning workouts easier to stick to (hey, impromptu happy hours don’t happen before the sun comes up), but science also suggests that working out early—more specifically, before you’ve had breakfast—may help the body burn fat more efficiently. Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males. Gonzalez JT, Veasey RC, Rumbold PL. The British journal of nutrition, 2013, Jan.;110(4):1475-2662. That said, actually getting yourself to the gym—or even out of the house—at the crack of dawn can feel like a one-way ticket to struggle city.
It’s no wonder, really, since your body’s still in snooze mode at that hour, particularly if it’s not acclimated to doing something right away, says personal trainer Stacy Berman, founder of Stacy’s Bootcamp in New York City. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on all your #riseandgrind aspirations—just opt for a calmer kind of workout at the beginning.
Start with gentle movements that yield big results—ones that strengthen and stretch the entire body while getting the blood pumping, but are a bit less intense, Berman suggests. Consider this workout below your entry into the morning-person club.
How to use this list: Complete 3 rounds of the following circuit. Perform 10 to 12 reps of each move in the first set, 12 to 15 reps in the second set, and 15 to 20 reps in the third set. By the end, you’ll feel stretched, energized, and ready to take on the day.
1. Hollow Body Hold
2. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
3. Reverse Oblique Crunch
4. Plank With Knee Tap
5. Double Leg Lift
7. Lateral Lunge With Knee Drive
8. Inchworm Push-Up
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Photography: Julia Hembree