3 Awesome Morning Workouts that Shape your Day!
Those who knock out their workout first thing in the morning are the most consistent crowd. For the rest of us, good intentions make way for urgent unplanned events derailing the plan. Not only is this frustrating, but it also thwarts our efforts to make exercise a habit. Results are closely tied with consistency; showing up, especially in the beginning, is probably more important than the actual mode of exercise chosen.
SIDEBAR: HABITS DEFINED
Habits are defined as something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way (Merriam-Webster) or an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary (Dictionary.com). A habit (or wont) is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously (Wikipedia).
The formation of habits requires regular repetition. Lally et al. (2010) found the average time for participants to reach automaticity was 66 days with a range of 18–254 days. Most professional organizations define a consistent exerciser as one who has reached the 6-month mark exercising most days of the week for at least 30 minutes per day.
Exercisers who are already consistent can thrive on bouts of intense exercise. A newcomer who is trying to lay down a consistent routine might like the ‘idea’ that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is going to help them lose fat faster than other modes of exercise, but there is a problem to this strategy: the brain. The brain does not like stress. It does not like threats. Sprinting and high intensity bursts of energy are what our primal ancestors needed to engage in when a threat was present. Sprinting for FUN is not intuitive to the primal areas of your brain. It is much easier for a newbie who does not have a firm foundation of consistency established to fall off the wagon when the exercise program is HIIT; they usually find excuses to not exercise. Have you ever heard that little voice in your head urge you to clean the garage rather than go to the gym? Or hit the snooze button rather than get up and go run? When creating the habit of consistent exercise lower the bar. Make your workouts accessible and fun to increase your chances of success.
SO THE BEST STRATEGY IS:
First establish the habit by engaging in something that you like to do at a moderate pace. Once the habit is firmly in place (after some weeks or months), add intensity.
3 AWESOME EXERCISE CHOICES FOR REACHING THE GOAL OF CONSISTENCY
- STRENGTH TRAINING
SIDEBAR: CREATING HABITS
Forming a habit requires 3 parts: the cue, the behavior, and the reward.
* The cue causes the habit to come about triggering the actual behavior. A cue could be the reminder of putting your shoes by the bed so that when you wake up, the first thing you see if your reminder to go on a walk. It is anything that associates the mind with the habit.
* The behavior is the desired outcome; you went on a walk.
* The reward is the positive feeling that you get for doing the behavior.
* This loop needs to be consistently reinforced for automaticity to occur.
IMPORTANT: since the reward is part of the loop, choose an activity that you like and can participate in with a positive attitude.
GOALS: A habit often is triggered by a goal. Goal setting helps to reinforce habit formation. Over time though, goals become less necessary as the habit become more automatic. Goals then can become a tool to drive the consistent exerciser to try new modes of exercise that are not as comfortable.
Arguably the best start to any day; there is a reason that yoga has exploded in popularity. Sun Salutations were designed for, yes you guessed it, waking up the body’s strength, flexibility, and endurance while teaching steadiness and ease in the midst of work and challenge. The very essence of yoga establishes a safe space where your body, no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are, is accepted as is, progressing mindfully and gently. Your brain is going to give you UBER rewards for going to yoga, reinforcing the cue/behavior/reward loop (see sidebar).
Your body was meant to walk and move. The more you can do this simple behavior, the better. Some of us just need to build it in to the day: the 5-minute by car errand is usually a 15-20 minute walk.
Walking first thing in the morning opens your posture, gets your heart pumping, stimulates your brain, lowers stress, and triggers feelings of wellbeing and gratitude. Most of us should be aiming to get a minimum of 5000 steps in per day with 10,000 as an optimal goal.
Whether you choose an early morning Ballet Barre class, a workout in the gym, a home workout of Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Squats and Lunges, or a Small Group Workout with your workout buddies, choosing a strength based workout is your ticket to turn the “age-clock” back. Losing strength is a function of disuse, not a function of aging. To keep your body young, strength train. Just 2 or 3 workouts per week garner big rewards.
OR DO IT ALL!
Our bodies love, need, and crave variety. Choose the mode(s) of exercise that creates the most enjoyment in order to reinforce the cue/behavior/reward loop. Use all the strategies you can think of to help manipulate your environment for the best chance of success. Get a workout buddy, find a class or trainer at the gym that you enjoy, try different modes of exercise piquing interest from both your body and your mind. Gratefully accept what your body can do, while curiously wondering what else you should try.
Pivotal Fitness has variety in workout modes, instructors, trainers, and it is all under one roof. We open early so you can knock out your favorite workout before anyone can derail your day! If you have questions about our offerings stop by the front desk and speak to our staff for recommendations that will support your success.