For the longest time I convinced myself that morning weight training wasn’t for me, sure running or walking in the morning sets you up for the day but weight training…No Way! It just doesn’t suit my body. It makes me feel ill. I can’t push myself as hard. I’m too tired to perform mentally at work later in the day. All of these were legitimate excuses that I kept to keep me out of morning weight training where at all possible. All of this based on some poor morning performances I had previously resulting in some or all of the above on the one day through lack of preparation.
Roll forward to my latest programme, and I just cannot get enough of the morning training. I feel absolutely great and here’s why:
1) The sense that you’re getting ahead – Every morning that I get up early and get out for 6am to start my 30-40 minute journey to the gym, I get the genuine feeling that I’m getting ahead of those in bed. While they sleep I’ll get ahead. The fact that I’m up and you’re not already means that I am ahead, I have more hours in my active day to get to the goals I want to achieve. As winter sets in and it gets colder and wetter and harder to make these morning sessions I’ll remember the three words that I say every morning to push me on:
“While they sleep…”
2) The sense that you own the city – Have you ever walked around your city at 6am? Every city has a different culture, but at 6am Dublin sleeps. The streets are quiet, very few people around. It’s mainly delivery people completing their early runs. The people you do meet are usually half asleep and in themselves quiet. And then there’s me – Fuelled, Focused & Ready. While all of these other people are tired from yesterday or worried about what they need to do today, I’ve gone to bed knowing that I’m going to emerge with a sole focus of smashing my workout. I travel to my workout with my hood up, inside that hood is my zone. The world is outside, the world is irrelevant. I’m focused and I feel like I own this f**kin’ city. I don’t use my phone much traveling to the gym, sure on public transport I’ll check insta, or fb, or whatever. But when I’m walking I take it all in. This is the city, these are my streets, I walk with pride and focus.
“The city’s at peace and so am I”
3) The Nutrition mind-set shift – training in the morning changes the entire mind-set of how I approach my diet. When you train in the evening it’s so easy to get restless with your diet during the day. The sense that you can work things off later in the gym in common place…hmmm I’ll just have this chocolate bar and I can work it off later in the gym. Hmmm I’ll just have this pack of crisps I’ll work it off later in the gym. Hmmm I’ll just have a hot chicken roll with mayo and taco sauce and a large bag of jellies with a coke for lunch because you guessed it I’ll work it off later in the gym. By the way, I would mangle that lunch right now! When we train later in the day it’s easy to pre-reward ourselves for what we are going to do but it’s a habit that will inevitably hold us back. By training in the morning I find that I don’t suffer this problem. Instead there is a much stronger sense the I’ve done the hard work in the morning, why f**k it up now!”.
As a result of training six days this feeling repeats over and over and it’s becoming really easy to keep on track. Seriously:
“You’ve done the hard work in the morning, why f**k it up now!”
4) The time is your own – Touching back to point 1 slightly, everyone is generally asleep. The amount of people or institutions that are demanding your time at 6 am is greatly reduced in most cases when compared to the evening time. When you’re in the middle of a structured programme you want to hit the gym for the sessions that you’ve planned when you’ve planned to do them. However training in the evening will never 100% guarantee this. Working late, family commitments, social commitments, event nights etc. Training in the evening in a busy schedule makes life difficult. You create a split between the gym and other elements of your life and it’s hard to balance both. Gym sessions get shorter or are missed completely and you end you get cranky at those around you or yourself for not being better prepared. Training in the morning flips this on its head, external factors are limited and you take the responsibility on yourself. It’s you and your goals versus extra time sleeping.
“It’s you and your goals versus extra time sleeping”