Thursday, July 26, 2012

Morning workouts are hard to come by!

"When you 'work out in the morning', you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake." 

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Time to wake up and get moving.  Maybe you use the beeping alarm, music alarm or some other form of AM torture set to get you up before any decent person should be.  Whatever you use, if you are human, getting up before daylight to get a workout in is a tall order.  If you do that day after day, it’s even harder.  Add in family, kids and a job and it’s almost impossible without a psychotic episode.

Some people avoid the AM workouts by hitting the pavement or pool over lunch, after work or before bedtime after dinner.  It’s a tough balance when you have your plate full with a busy day already to squeeze in an hour ride or hour and a half BRIK workout.  Forget about a 7 hour century ride.

Let’s think about the morning workout.  Get a cold shiver at losing some sleep?  Check out some pros and cons for the zombie workout.

PRO – You get your workout in.  No matter what happens for the rest of the day, feel comfortable you got it done.

CON – Unless you are going to bed earlier to make up for getting up earlier, you’re losing sleep.  With families and other obligations, it’s hard to be in bed with the lights out at 9pm.  Sure, you will have an endorphin rush from your workout that may get you to lunch, but many will be looking for that caffeine boost to get to the end of the work day.

PRO – There’s usually less traffic at 4 or 5 A.M. on the streets.  You have the roads to yourself with less worry about the jerks that can’t wait 5 seconds for oncoming traffic to get by to pass you safely.

CON – Even on the longest days, the sun won’t get up until 5am, if you’re lucky.  You will need light somewhere, somehow.  What sucks worse than hitting a pothole on your bike that you didn’t see?  Tripping over an uneven sidewalk you didn’t see.  Been there, done that, have the scar.  You’ll want to invest in a headlight for your bike and find a running path that’s well light to avoid injuries in the dark.

PRO – If you’re heading to the gym for a swim or lift, more space for you.  Do you hate being gawked at while you lift weights right after work?  Guys, let’s hear it for all those times we had to turn our heads in disgust as a women stared you down like a piece of meat!  Ok, maybe it’s more of a female problem.  But, it is a problem non-the-less.  Fewer people will be at the gym before work and those that are could probably care less about picking up a date.

CON – Say you are out running or riding away from the house and have an accident.  Less traffic is good for safety, but when you need to find help, you may be waiting a while or even worse, people may not see you on the side of the road in the dark.  It takes some planning to have a phone, ID and a light to get someone’s attention if you’re out before dawn.

PRO – If you need to get in a two-a-day workout, you have one done before most get there Wheaties in their bowl for breakfast.  One workout is hard enough.  If you miss the morning bell, you have just made it infinitely more difficult to cram two workouts in one day.

CON – Sleep deprivation. It sucks.  Do this for a consistent period of time and you’re liable to get cranky or sick.  You need to move up bedtime and for some; it’s just not an option.

PRO – Have you noticed the heat lately?  Triple digits suck.  At least it gets down to the 80’s, maybe, before dawn and there’s no sun beating down on you causing a river of sweat or heat exhaustion.

CON – If you don’t make a habit of it, it will be sporadic.  Ever heard the saying it takes 3 months to build a habit and 3 days to break it, or some variation of that?  How many times have you broken the AM workout habit?  Find yourself adding undue pressure on yourself to make the workout, only to miss it and have a bad start to the day?  It takes discipline and it’s easy to fall off the wagon.  “My name is Ryan, and I’m a recovering AM workout-skipper-a-holic…”

PRO – With no sun pre-dawn, you’re not damaging your skin in the sun.  Hopefully you use sunscreen when out during the day, but hitting the pavement in the morning reduces those nasty UV rays and slows down the leather effect.

CON – How many of you are getting older and finding you have new aches and pains every day?  Well, you better schedule more time for warm ups if you’re getting it in before rush hour.  Nothing’s worse than jumping right into a ride, run, swim or lift without some sort of warm up no matter what your age is.  Budget 20 more minutes for that AM drudgery.

PRO – Being half asleep and dazed during a workout, you’ll be hard pressed to remember the details.  Time flies by and before you know it, you’re at your desk punching the keys to that email to your boss telling him where to put that TPS report.  Or, deleting that email before you send it.  Not all workouts are fun, and some can seem to drag on.  Being sleepy might be the influencer you need to get through a tough workout.

If you are a morning workout-go-getter, props to you.  It’s hard with today’s responsibilities (except for you single people with no real responsibilities).  But, it can be well worth it to make it a part of your life and not the exception.  With proper adjustments, it can be the saving grace between a DNF at a triathlon and crossing the finish line.

Give us a comment if we left any PROS or CONS out of the list!
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