By Olivia, a personal trainer in London
Hard day at school! Do I really want to head off to the gym now? I know from when I worked in an office and was mentally tired, that I was physically exhausted before I walked through those gym doors! I am not saying that being mentally tired affects your muscles but it would make it harder for you to train vigorously. After all, if you keep telling yourself how tired you are it will make you believe that your exercises are more strenuous. This is because you don’t have that burst of energy that most people have in the morning. You may even think that those exercises are more difficult than they are if you attempt them after a long day. I appreciate that not everyone can go to the gym and run at 100 mph and that for most people, their sessions are at a comfortable/moderate intensity and this will still benefit you if you are feeling stressed. Personally I used to really enjoy taking my hard day out on a punch bag so there are also some benefits to training after a hard day at work. I also understand that when you have children it may be the only time you have! However, you may be interested to know that I was reading about an experiment that was carried out where 16 volunteers were asked to exercise on a bike. For half the time their mind was fresh and the other half was after 90 minutes of mentally fatiguing work. Participants stopped exercising on average 15 per cent earlier when they were mentally fatigued. So what are the benefits of training before you get to school or the office? I have made a list for you.
- Well the obvious reason is that you get it out of the way. It is always too easy to use the stresses and strains of the day as a reason to not go to the gym.
- It will help you to build consistency! How many times have you had the intention to train after work and have had to take that last minute call which sets you back half an hour? You can avoid this by training in the morning.
- It gets the endorphins flowing. This will make you happier, more productive, confident and you will have an abundance of concentration when you do get to work (honest).
- Exercising jump-starts your metabolism and helps keep it elevated for hours. Get that engine running as soon as possible. Then your increased metabolism will be working and burning more calories while you are, instead of when your body is at rest. If you are like many people who sit at a desk all day, you know that this is reason enough to train in the morning.
- Having a cardio session for half an hour in the morning before breakfast could also help you burn more calories. When you do this, your body is low on carbohydrates (your main fuel source) so it has no option but to use fat stores for energy. You may need a sports drink so you don’t break down that muscle!!