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When I first started working out, the thought of working out in the morning was a totally foreign concept.  Workouts were afternoon time, not morning!! Banging weights was a football related activity to be done with your teammates!

During High School, I discovered that with so much testosterone flowing through my veins, I could do high rep bench press/lifts in the morning and a heavy lifting routine in the afternoon (of the same day!) and recover so fast, it made my head swim. During one 8 week period, I increased my max performance in the bench by 90 pounds – a massive increase by any standard.

The days of crazy increases because I was a hormone fuel teen have long past, but the idea of morning workouts stuck with me. I liked the boost the workout gave me for the rest of the day. After I finished my college football career, I spent some time as personal trainer – doing workouts at 6am with clients. The gains and mental benefits my clients experienced solidified what I had been feeling. The days were better, my concentration was better and my sleep was better. The gains were better. That being said, here are 6 tips to help you roll out of bed and become a morning workout warrior!

1. Sleep – It will take a few weeks to get acclimated, but your body’s internal clock will become used to getting up early. After awhile you will find that you might not even need an alarm. Additionally, you will sleep better at night.

2. Consistency – this is key to long term success at morning workouts. As your body adjusts to morning workouts, you will actually feel bad if you DONT work out in the morning – your body will miss that rush of adrenalin, endorphins and the feeling you get post workout. Stay focused, maintain a goal of not only getting up, but getting stronger or losing weight or beating your best time.

3. Morning vs. afternoon/evening – Because you have less of life getting in your way in the morning, you are less likely to skip your workout because you want to go to happy hour or your day was too much and you just need to crash. Consistent workouts lead to consistent success.

4. Weight loss vs. Strength gains – the American Council on Exercise says those who work out in the morning are more consistent and even exercise more often than people who work out at other times of the day, which can lead to fitter, leaner bodies (consistency is key!).

5. Cortisone vs. testosterone

Morning workout: 35% – Testosterone which fuels energy and muscle gains, soars in     the AM when levels are a third higher. This leads to a better workout and better results   long term.

           Evening workout: 75% – Cortisol, the muscle-eating hormone, climbs by 3/4 in the AM, but normalizes at night. Not so good for muscle gains…

           Morning workout: Do your cardio at the crack of dawn and you’ll burn 20% more fat,   reports a British Journal of Nutrition Study.

6. Crowds – there is less competition for machines, free weights and treadmills. You can focus on you and your goals, not the hot guy or girl on the machine next to you.

7. Kids – for those of us who are parents, morning workouts when the rest of family is asleep is like the ultimate gift…to ourselves. And since we can make ourselves physically stronger and mentally fitter, our families will benefit. No need to miss a workout to go to soccer practice or a baseball game. You’ve already covered it – your kids will appreciate your presence and your significant other will enjoy the down time with you taking over the reins. A true win-win!

These are a few of the reasons I love morning workouts. Overall, I have come to find that my day is better, my attitude better, my focus is better and my outlook on life is better when I consistently work out in the morning.

Give it a try – you may find those additional morning hours may open up your life to something you never even consider – a fuller life with more time on your hands.

Eric Mader