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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Rise and shine


The benefits of completing an early morning workout

My alarm clock pulled me from a peaceful slumber at 6 a.m. on a Monday morning. Voluntarily doing physical activity in 30-degree mid-April weather almost two hours before I usually get up seemed borderline insane.I told myself to push through, knowing that I would have one less thing to worry about in the busy day ahead.

Like many college students, trying to squeeze exercise into my school, work and social schedules gets difficult. So, for one week, I decided to try an early morning workout.

The first day, I opted for a run. After loosening up, I was able to keep a steady pace and managed to do three to four miles, about what I generally run later in the day.

As the week went on, I continued to start my mornings with a workout, alternating between running, hot yoga and a spin class. With each morning came more ease. My body was beginning to adjust.

Experimenting with different types of workouts allowed me to test what my body could handle that early in the morning and how it would affect my energy level and productivity for the rest of my day.

Jessica Witzke, assistant athletic trainer for Saint Joseph’s University Athletics, explained that certain exercises and workouts in the morning are, in fact, more effective than others. Witzke recommends early-morning high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.

“The calorie burn from a HIIT workout will last thought the day,” Witzke said. “For a shorter duration HIIT workout, say, 20 minutes of sprint intervals, the calorie burn will stay elevated throughout the next several hours rather than a normal steady-state cardio workout.”

In addition to the fitness benefits, Gabriela Proietti, ’18, said that she believes that morning workouts allows us to make the most of our day. Proietti starts off every morning with cardio interval workouts or spin classes to get energized and clear her mind. Getting to the gym by 6:30 a.m. gives her enough time to get in a full workout without having to cut it short.

“When I get my workout done in the morning, I don’t find myself struggling to get through it later after a long day at school or work,” Proietti said. “By setting aside time in the morning, I avoid cutting my workouts short as I do late in the day when I am more limited on time and when the gym gets much more crowded.”

I also  liked getting a jump start on my day. With one less thing on my mind, I found that working out in the morning allowed me to dedicate more time and focus to my work, internship and job applications.

In addition to increasing my productivity, I also discovered that my eating habits improved during the week. When I work out in the evening, I tend to justify eating more, and sometimes worse, throughout the day by convincing myself that I will push harder at the gym later (that rarely happens). Starting off my days with fitness encouraged me to keep the ball rolling throughout the day. I felt inclined to eat more balanced and nutritional meals.

Brian Bingaman, director of strength and conditioning for St. Joe’s Athletics, confirmed that an early morning routine helps build momentum throughout the day in order to help you reach your ultimate health goals.

“From a fitness standpoint, getting up and training in the morning with either strength or cardio helps to jumpstart your metabolism for burning calories,” Bingaman said. “Additionally, the endorphins that are released during exercise will help put you in a good mood.”

The benefits don’t stop there, according to Ben Steenrod, head strength and conditioning coach for St. Joe’s Athletics.

“Early exercise is shown to help improve focus and energy throughout the day, helping you to be more productive and think clearer,” Steenrod said. “These benefits maintain throughout the day and help the individual feel less stressed.”

That’s all the more reason to motivate this graduating senior out of bed for an early morning workout.

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