Fitting In Fitness
As it stands today – and has done for the last two or three years – I’m one of those guys that gets up and trains in the morning. Yep, the start of my day is usually (well, 5-6 times a week anyway) getting my training out of the way as soon as possible so I have the rest of the day free to work, play, socialise, eat and enjoy myself. In fact, these early morning gym sessions have become such a part of my weekly routine that I (now) don’t really enjoy going at any other time of the day. I thought I’d give you the low down of how & why I do this, to ensure I fit everything into my working day, incorporate the LDNM Cutting Guide too and try to maximise my gains. Everyone is of course different, and has their specific preferences for whatever reason. But, here is an example of how I try to structure my diet, workouts and an insight in to my mentality and why this works for me.
Mornings – why?
Pretty simple one really. Historically, I’ve been someone that usually went to the gym anytime from midday onwards and since graduating from University, I became one of the guys causing that busy chaotic scene you see in the weights room post 5:30pm. It was what everyone else seemed to do, it meant that I could have a training partner and it was a good social event too. But, life changed. As my career developed, just dropping everything at 5 or 5:30pm doesn’t work any longer. There are some long hours needed now, calls with other regions, plenty of travel, networking events, other projects and social events. So, because of this, I decided to transition to morning workouts.
The difficulty I found with this though, was getting up, eating, getting to the gym, showering, and then getting to work at a reasonable time. So, I changed this up and optimised the time by joining a 24hr gym, getting up a little earlier, skipping breakfast and heading straight there, then commute to work with protein shake in hand. Of course, “fasted” workouts take a bit of getting used to, but with a little help from a pre-workout, hydrating properly, timing meals well to suit my day and living very close to my work (I have a ten/fifteen minute commute to my offices) I managed to make it work. I typically roll out of bed at around 5am so I’m at my gym for 5:15ish, hit my session for around 1-1.5hours (depending on my morning meetings) so am usually done no later than 7am and have plenty of time to shower up and get to work before 8am if needed – simple as that!
How morning workouts have helped me
I’ve said a few of these before but I find that working out in the morning actually helps me in a lot of ways:
- The feeling of accomplishment of hitting the weights before work gives me a decent pick up and makes me feel like I have achieved something before the majority of the world is even up. You (well I anyway) feel one step ahead of the game
- It gives me time to myself to focus on the day, plan it out, relieve stress and zone out to music without any distractions
- It makes me focus better on my diet and day, and less likely to deviate as I don’t want to feel like I’ve ruined/wasted a perfectly good workout by eating well past my calorie target
- I have the rest of the day to myself, I can concentrate on work, and have evenings to do as I wish: work on other projects, chill, spend time with friends, and no pressure to have to go to the gym after a hard day at work.
- Getting to the gym that early means I usually get ALL the equipment in my commercial gym to myself. I can superset, get on all the machines and follow the LDNM Guides to a tee. Easily the best part is not having to worry about queuing, people jumping in or not having enough weights.
I’ll be honest, of course there are a few downside to the early am workout, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t
- Mainly, tiredness: I found I can hit a wall at around 4pm if I’m not careful and if work slows down or I’m travelling. Not ideal, but I don’t see it a huge problem if I structure my diet & day right, have a coffee at around 2-3pm and aim for my head hitting the pillow at around 10pm on weekdays (I know, not always possible)
- Social events. If I train on a Friday then go out after work, I’m pretty much useless after around 11pm/midnight and my alcohol threshold takes a huge hit. I’m a lightweight anyway, but much worse if 1) I’m cutting & 2) I hit the gym in the morning. So, if you do try this, be responsible with the alcohol intake!
I get asked a lot why I train in the morning and why always (well, mainly) fasted. And, there you have it. Does the science say it’s better for fat loss? Is it “optimal”? Some may say so, some may not. But, for me, it’s all down to convenience and for me, it’s more “optimal” to make it to the gym, than to not. I find it easier doing training this way if I weren’t to then with work and other parts of my life, my training would take a huge hit. For some, this may not work, but for me – I WANT to fit this into my life and the morning works right now. Everyone is different, for example, I know TGE likes a lunchtime session, which I’m sure I would too but just can’t for two main reasons 1) I can’t remember the last time I had a structured “lunch break” and 2) I get so sweaty and hot (even post shower) it’d ruin the rest of my day as I’d be trying to cool back down, and in a suit, for me, that’s impossible! Each to their own of course, but the key is to get it done!
Whatever your preference is with training times, the LDNM Guides have it covered, covering your full macro breakdowns and meal timings for a huge variety of training windows, including those who train first thing in the morning (like me), at lunchtime like TGE, or in the evening like many others.