Poll: Is Morning Exercise a Must for You?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I am not a morning person. When my alarm goes off at 7:30 a.m., I like to hit snooze at least once or twice. Even when I finally give in and open my eyes, I will lie in bed in protest for up to 15 minutes before I even move my body or get up. But just because I'm up and moving, don't expect me to actually TALK to you. I need a good hour before I feel like speaking a single word to anyone, so I'll get by with gestures or grunts as long as possible until I’m forced to speak actual words—it just takes too much energy. If sleeping counts as a hobby, it's one of mine for sure. What can I say? I like my sleep…and my bed, which is the most comfortable thing on the planet.

Sometimes I feel like I have no excuses for being this tired in the morning. I don't have any kids to care for. I don't lead a very stressful life. I take good care of myself and usually sleep for 7-8 hours each night. Most of my co-workers juggle work, family life and childcare while also exercising, training for marathons and volunteering. Coach Tanya, for example, is up at the crack of dawn (well, it might as well be) to hit the gym before she has to get her kids off to school in the morning and goes to work. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. What excuse do I have to feel too lazy or tired to walk down the hall to the bathroom?

Fitness experts say that morning exercisers are more likely to stick with an exercise routine than evening exercisers, and I can understand why. (How often do other obligations arise at that hour that would prevent you from working out?) But I am not a morning person and I don't know that I could ever wake up even earlier—especially to exercise.

This has led me to wonder: Are you a morning exerciser?

When I was 18, I was living at home and didn't have a job or a car. So I'd wake up to drive my mom to work (5 minutes away) early each morning so that I could use her car during the day. She worked in the offices of an auto plant, so she had to be at work before 7 a.m. each day. I got into a routine of sleeping in my workout clothes (a great tip by the way, if you are a morning exerciser), dropping her off at work, and then exercising across the street at the company wellness center to start my day. Somehow I managed to do this five days a week, without fail, for several months, and this is what first got me interested in exercise—and eventually led me to a career in fitness that I adore.

But these days, you couldn't pay me to wake up that early to work out. (Seriously, you can't. I get lots of offers to sub or teach early morning fitness classes that I turn down!) I'm an evening workout person for the most part, mainly because I teach fitness classes in the evening after my workday at SparkPeople is over. (And let's not forget the "I'm not a morning person" part, which surely contributes.) Occasionally, I'll leave the office for a midday workout around noon, which I love and would do more often if I didn't feel like it interfered with my workdays so much. If work weren't an issue, I'd probably exercise around the middle of the day all the time, because I'm awake, energized and ready to move at this time. On a rare day, I'll be up before my alarm and head outside for a refreshing morning run or I'll ride my bike to work, but these days are few and far between.

While I love that morning exercise energizes me and lets me check exercise off of my daily to-do list, I feel kind of helpless to stick with a morning exercise routine like I did in the past. After all, there are no pressing reasons that require me to exercise in the morning. But I'm sure that life circumstances will change over the years and, like Tanya and so many others, early morning workouts might be my only option for squeezing in exercise. But for now, I'm going to enjoy hitting snooze while I can and stick with my nighttime workouts.

How about you: Are you a morning, midday or evening exerciser? Why? If work, family life or other obligations weren't an issue, what time of day would be ideal for you to work out?

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I wish i could work out in the morning but I already get up at 5 to make it to work so any earlier is just too much on me. I'm an afternoon to night exerciser. Report
I am a morning person.. I am up at 4 am and in the gym by 4:20 to 6 am daily.... Used to work out in the evenings but something always comes up. Morning is better for me. Report
My *goal* is to weight train at four am and cardio at four pm due to my schedule. I did it for a little bit but work got to be too much...must get restarted! Report
Mornings suck. LOL If I had to work out in the morning, I wouldn't even be doing this. :) Report
Exercise in the morning sets a positive tone for the rest of the day! I sleep later on rest days. Report
I'm not naturally a morning person but I find that working out in the morning is the best way to ensure that your workout gets done. There's hardly every an emergency at 5am. No one is calling to talk to you or asking you to go somewhere with them or do something for them. Most people are asleep so you're pretty much guaranteed to be left alone. Whenever I wait until the evening to workout, something always comes up or I get home from work tired and don't feel like doing anything. Mornings definitely work best for me. Report
It is hard to get up and do a morning workout but you feel so great when it's done and you know that is out of the way. The rest of the day is yours! Report
I feel more relieved and relaxed during the day when i exercise in the mornig Report
Apparently my body responds REALLY well to Fasting-Cardio. Plus, I work a 10-hour day 5 days a week & have after work obligations every day of the week. So, I HAVE to do cardio before work. However, waking up in the morning to an alarm is the most difficult thing I have to do EVERY DAY. I'm usually in bed for 7-8 hours, but I feel like I'm only getting about 2 1/2-3 hours of actual REST. So, on one hand, my body responds well to & requires fasting-cardio, so I HAVE to exercise in the mornings (even though I feel exhausted all the time & can't wake up in the morning). But on the other hand, I exercise at least 4 days a week after work. Report
I am recently new to consistently exercising (3 months). If I do not exercise in the morning I find all sorts of things to do and excuses to blow it off for the day. Plus I am beginning to feel like something is missing if I don't exercise first thing. Report
Definitely mornings is a must and if possible midday and/or evenings especially on those stressful days which seems like everyday Report
I already get up at 4:00AM just to get ready for work. This is challenging enough without trying to get up earlier to exercise. Plus, I enjoy the fitness classes offered at my gym and none are offered at that time of morning. Report
I wake up all by myself no alarm, about 5 hours before I actually have to LEAVE for work. (This translates to about 11am). Within 10 minutes I've cooked and eaten breakfast and 50 minutes later i've already cooked and refrigerated all my meals for the day (except my final meal) and am pumped full of supplements hitting my first set of reps. So although its noon when i go in, its only 1 hour after waking before I'm at the gym and ready to go! Report
I have found that is easier that I exercise in the morning although morning exercise is new... Report
I do it in the morning if not I will never do it. I go to the gym immediately after dropping the Kids off at school! Report
I love mornings- you get it out of the way and burn calories for the rest of the day! Report
Because of all the above reason I work out in the mornings. It gives me a life too because I have nothing else going on, no job, kids gone....I love it as long as I get to bed in time to give me enough sleep. Report
I'm a morning person. I wake naturally around 4 am and SO want to go to sleep at 9 pm. And I love how a morning workout makes me feel for the rest of the day. Report
I've always exercised in the mornings.....no matter what! If I don't, I feel like I have this "must exercise before the day ends" voice playing in my head all day long.......I prefer to just get up, do it and then carry on with my day.
I know it drives some people nuts that I get up at the crack of dawn to exercise but it's the only way I can get it done! Report
I tried to workout in the morning, but my body isn't able to workout like it is able to in the evening. I also don't like trying to fit one more thing in before work (I already wake up at 5:30 am and I'd prefer to get an extra hour of sleep than to exercise). I can make excuses not to exercise regardless of the time of day. As long as I have something I love to do, I'll do it in the evening :) Report
I've always been an evening person until recently. Problem is that I've always wanted to go in the morning but never seemed to be able to get enough sleep or get my things ready the night before. However, I have hobbies I enjoy and I enjoy cooking. I would have to choose what I would not do because there aren't enough hours in the day. I think it boiled to just wanting to do it all. :) For the past 5 days I exercised in the morning before work and it felt ABSOLUTELY awesome to have my evenings free to cook and work on hobbies while watching TV. Getting exercise in the a.m. is such a motivator to have my evening free. Report
I prefer the afternoon. I've stuck with it for over 20 years. As soon as I come home from school (I'm a teacher), I immediately change and go out for my hour workout (a hard walk or run or combo). I prefer the sunshine and warmth, and that's usually when it's best for me! Report
I've done (1) after work, (2) at lunch, and (3) early morning. Of the three, I enjoy the early morning the best. It is time for myself. I can concentrate on my workout without lingering thoughts of anything else. Report
I woke up this morning at 4:30 am and could not go back to sleep. So I took advantage of it and worked out this morning with 30 minutes of running. I feel great!!! Glad I didn't just lay in the bed and watch TV. Report
I have done it both ways... the early workout is not a bad idea IF you feel ok in the mornings and don't require someone dragging you out of bed. That said taking into consideration children, sweating, no time and all the rest- I do workout evenings- even if I had a bad day. Report
Not gonna happen!I'm up by 5:30 for work-do not want to get up early,work out,get sweaty,etc.! I'll save mine for after work! Report
I get up early so I have plenty of time to gently wake up and get ready for work. I like to work out after work so I unwind before going home, eat and rest.This being said, I find exercising in the morning appealing but just not have taken it up yet. Report
I'm so used to getting up @5-5:30,I wake up before the alarm goes off.Sometimes the alarm does get me up and I never want to be getting up that early but once I'm up and the dogs are out pooping and thank God for another day just to start over again,I'm in full speed ahead mode.My daughter hates it that I'm so alert when waking her up,But oh well. Report
My alarm goes off at 5:00 every morning, but that's because I have a nasty commute into DC every day and start work at 6:30. Even on the days when I don't get up that early, i don't like to exercise in the mornings. I know everything says that we should, but i have energy in the afternoon and that's when I am the most efficient at everything i do. Report
I have always enjoyed working our right after work and before dinner. But, now - because of other commitments - I am forced to do all my workouts in the morning. It's rough and I hate it, but I still do it. When I am training for a race it is much easier to get myself up and outside, but when I'm not training, it's way too easy for me to blow off my workouts. Report
On rare occassions in my life I have scheduled early morning group classes like yoga or pilates, but it just kills me! My body is ready for a workout by around 11am, after coffee & breakfast, morning family stuff...
This blog has got thinking about how to adjust my energy coz I would like to get to the gym or my run by 9.30 am. Report
I need to seriously start exercising in the morning. I used to do it but now I just exercise after work. I want to add some regular morning exercise in as well. Problem is that I stay up too late. Report
Just started to be! I like doing some in the morning so I don't feel so much pressure at the end of the day when I might have something come up and take that time I had set aside. Report
Love my morning exercise! I'm retired now, but even when my work schedule demanded that I get up at 4:45am to get in a run, that was my choice! I could come up with too many excuses to not run after work - just didn't work for me. And it was as if that was ONE thing in life I could control - and if I did it I felt as if I was more in control of my day!

Now that I'm retired (and walking rather than running at least for now) I'm still a morning person. But now its not unusual for me to go out again later in the day for another walk - or if (like today) its rainy first thing in the morning I can just wait for the rain to stop and walk then. But when I was working - it HAD to come first!! Report
I am a morning person and a morning exerciser.. Though I have toyed with trying to schedule exercise later in the day, at lunchtime or even later, but I never, ever get to it..so it's morning or bust for me!! Report
I absolutely am a morning workout person! I could not survive my day without my 5:45 am workout. It gets me up and moving and I love the way it starts my day. Getting my workout over with in the morning not only energizes me, but keeps on track for the rest of the day and helps keep me from making excuses after work each day. I am a student teacher so I am at the school for 10 hours or more each day so by the time I get home at 5:30 or later there is no way I would have enough energy to workout! Report
Even though I'm a morning person..I have a hard time finding time to do what I would like in the morning, because the rest of the people in my house are morning people too. Hubby gets up early to get ready for work, I soon follow, then soon after that it's the kiddos. Between making sure that everybody is ready to go to work and school, I don't have time to do those things until mid morning....which time wise works, but physically not so much. We plan on finishing off some of the basement as a kids play room...maybe I can use that space in the morning also instead of hogging up the living room while people are running about. We'll see...but either way can't wait for that room to be finished!! Report
I got up at 4:30 am, just so I could exercise before work for over a year. While I liked the energized feeling when I went to work, I had alot of days where it was tough getting through the afternoons. So, I changed my schedule to 'lunch break' workouts; which I always take a late lunch. It energizes me and gets me through the rest of the day. Some days I run errands during my break and exercise after work. Those times I am able to get in a 60 - 90 minute workout, instead of the 30-35 during lunch; and I like that too, but I love my mid-day pick-me-up feeling that I get from my lunch workouts.
I have been doing this for 9 years & it's what works for me. Report
I am not a morning person at all, never have been...I am like you it takes me three alarms to go off before I even decide to stretch (in bed of course) and then get up and get ready for work...but even though I don't like it...I force myself up early three times a week to go for a walk/jog in the mornings after I leave my baby at school...sometimes I feel like just going back to bed but I have to force my self to continue, so to make it easy to continue no matter what the weather is (except in extreme raining weather) we walk to school and that helps me start waking up so by the time I get to my one mile walk and start jogging I am awake and energized when I get home...it feels good after and it helps me continue to eat healthier and stay active through the day...so I am not a morning person but three days out of the week I force myself to be and it feels great after :) Report
I am a morning workout person, getting up early at dawn and going to the gym early gives me all the energy I need for the day, But to be honest I love my bed and sometimes I fight my self to get up. After all I know working out in the morning is best for me. Report
I can completely relate to this article. Its perfect. Its exactly how I feel in the morning. I hate waking up in the morning and since I have to prepare b/f for my husband, I do fix his b/f by 8 a.m. and pack lunch for him. (I am already exhausted by then) Once he is out of the door for work, I will have my cup of tea & fruits and I am so tired and sleepy I will just sit and relax for few hours. Once it is 10:30 or 11 a.m. I am feeling better. But I do sometimes push myself to use my treadmill watching TV before 10:30 a.m. getting an hour workout. I will have brunch. I always wonder any household work or any chores, I can just do it in half of the time in the evening, I take to do them in the morning. WOW, its to mind boggling. Also, once the day starts slowing down in the evening, I usually have so much energy and drive to conquer the whole world. I will be on my toes and thinking to do something very productive. Report
If the Y was not so busy and had group exercise in the morning I would be there when the door open. Report
Very morning oriented person, dh gets up after 6, I get up a bit later to fix his breakfast since he is diabetic, then do close to 2 hrs. on the exercise bike. Have my breakfast, do chores, etc., then do the other hour after dh's lunch. We are retired, so this is our routine except when going to appts. or the like. I discovered this is the only way I can maintain my weight loss. Report
I get my walking clothes out before I go to bed. I set out for a walk through the neighborhood no later than 6:15. I walk two miles of hills, huffing and puffing while I watch the sun come up and the birds come out to feed. I love it. I have missed only 2 days during the last 3 months. Report
I have found that morning exercise works best for me. I like to get it done and out of the day. I will also work out in the evening only if I want to. Report
Even though I was never a morning person once I had my son, 5 years ago, I was forced to wake up at the crack of dawn each day as he IS a morning person. At first I thought I was cursed but now it is a blessing b/c after I take him to school I work out. By then I've been up for hours and am fully awake. I love working out each morning, it energizes me for the day. Though to be completly honest, if I get a chance to sleep in, I take it!! :) Love the article! Report
If I didn't have to work full time I would probably exercise mid-morning. After I was up long enough to be awake, and before I do my other daily chores. Report
Am is my best time. I'm still having trouble eating a bit before exercising. My trainer suggested eating a protein/carb bar while exercising, abt 100 cals. I'll try! Report
Not a morning person at all. I think my body is mixed up. It loves the night. I wish I was a morning person because more is going on in peoples lives. I have always had to force myself out of bed to go to work or get my kids ready for school. Now that I am a grandmother I still have to force myself out of bed. Report
I've been a morning person for the majority of my working years. I currently get up at 4AM, get my "me time" in, have bkfst and then get my workouts in. Has worked for me, so no sense in changing at this point..... Report
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