5 Rules to remember for morning workouts
It's Bank Holiday Monday, and whether you're relaxing at home in front of Netflix, spending time with family and friends or heading into the office, a morning workout can launch your day the right way - getting your blood pumping, endorphins flowing and setting you up for a great day!
Some of us just aren't morning people. So if you're guilty of hitting the snooze button more times than you care to admit, and struggling to get out of bed, even after an early night, you might find that you start your day in a bad mood, feeling powerless to pull yourself out of it. The way you start your day can impact your food and exercise choices . Starting out in a bad mood could mean choosing a chocolate bar over a piece of fruit mid-morning, or it could leave you running late and forced to skip your gym session, turning that bad morning into a bad day!
You don't have to choose between being a 'morning person' or not - you can train your body to wake up better, boost your metabolism, improve your mood and ensure you leave the house feeling happy and energised. It's all about creating the perfect morning workout, using neural morning primers.
What's a neural morning primer?
You're not alone if you're wondering what the heck a neural morning primer (NMP) is. It's a 5-10 minute circuit-style workout that uses nothing but your body weight. Its aim? To get oxygen flowing around your body, improving your brain's productivity, get your blood flowing and kick-start your system. Neural wake-up call, neural morning primer, even sun salutations for those who love yoga - no matter what you call these morning workouts, they're a great way to start your day. Working out the second you hop (or crawl) out of bed means you're exercising on an empty stomach, which improves insulin sensitivity and spurs your body to secrete more human growth hormone. Because NMPs are so short, they boost endorphin production for a feel-good start to your day. So how do you build the perfect NMP workout? We've got 5 rules to remember that will help.
#1. Perform immediately you wakeup
You want to get your body in the (good) habit of working out the second you wake up. It might be tough - and we're not saying you can't pop to the loo and have a drink of water - but working out before breakfast is one habit you definitely want to get into.
#2. Add at least one explosive movement
An explosive exercise such as lunges, jump squats or explosive push-ups will get your endorphins flowing and blood pumping, whilst elevating your metabolism and boosting muscle building. So make sure you add at least one to your short-and-sweet morning workout.
#3. Include a static stretch
Static stretches can help to improve your flexibility, provided you add at least one to your morning workout on a daily basis. Whether you're up with the lark, or struggling to crawl out of bed 20 minutes after your alarm goes off, make sure you add a static stretch such as Hindu Push-ups, Bulgarian Split Squats or Spiderman Lunges to your workout to boost flexibility.
#4. Keep it short
Your morning workout should be short and sweet. You should wakeup feeling motivated to do it on a daily basis. Overdoing things can leave you feeling tired for the rest of the day, or even worse, it could affect your energy levels for your gym session at lunchtime or after work. We recommend keeping things short and sweet - under 15 minutes is ideal, and still gives you plenty of time to ensure you're not rushing for your morning commute!
#5. Tailor your workout to fit your body goals
Dreaming of flat abs, sculpted shoulders or a defined butt? Tailoring your morning workouts to meet your goals helps you get the body you want. Squats, thrusts and presses are great for women looking to build up their chest and butt, whilst men looking to target their shoulders and quads should focus their exercises in these areas. Most of us are looking for more defined abs, so it doesn't hurt to throw in a few crunches and other ab exercises each morning too.
Getting a head-start on your day with a morning workout means you're more likely to hit the ground running once you get to work (or whatever it is you have to do today), so make sure you don't forget to squeeze a quick workout into your day before you get going. You'll benefit from enhanced energy levels, a mood boost and some serious calorie burning to ensure that the body you want is one step closer.