How to know when to snooze or work out early

Lifestyle & Tips door thijs

We've all been there, convincingly telling ourselves we will get up early and work out before school or work tomorrow, even getting our gym gear out ready. "Tomorrow I will, no more excuses." Only to find ourselves turning off all five alarms that we set the night before in the effort to wake up early. Some people are great at getting up for the early morning spin class or clocking in a 5km and being dressed to impress by 9am, while some of us can't hold our heads above our cereal bowl. Are the rest of us just damn lazy or genuinely too tired to attempt it? Here's how to know when to snooze or hit the gym, that might help answer this question!

Know when to hit snooze

So should you set the alarms anyway and try to push through or sleep on and get in the extra hours of shut eye? Missing out on sleep when you really need it, even for a workout won't go in your favour when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being tired makes it harder to say no to the offer of fatty foods and your body does most of your post workout recovery and repair while sleeping. This might lead you to try and replenish your energy from the less beneficial sources, a.k.a. cake because ..."well I did work out today". But how do you know if you are being too easy on yourself if you skip the morning workout? Maybe talking about balance and not pushing yourself too hard has encouraged you to hit snooze too many times. Here's how to know:

  1. If you woke up several times or were up all night... Skip the sweat sesh that day. Your co-ordination will be affected by this sleep dept and it might even be dangerous to exercise because you're less careful. It also increases your perception of pain, so working out feels tougher even if it is the same intensity.  You're less likely to enjoy it in this case and the struggle continues (working out isn't punishment, it can be enjoyable you know). If it's normal for you to sleep badly and you find yourself skipping more workouts than you would like to because of it, it's time to reassess your whole routine.
  2. If you slept less than six hours and it's the third or fourth time this week... Sleep on. Skip the morning workout and take a walk later on in the day instead. Use that time as an opportunity to think about why you haven't been sleeping very well lately. If there is something stressing you out at work or school, settling down on the couch in the evening might leave you feeling restless again by the time that you hit the hay. Exercising could help relieve some of the stress and using up some extra energy will help you sleep more soundly.
  3. If your muscles are sore from working out the previous day... Take a day off. Overtraining can cause a decrease in the duration of your sleep and the quality of it too, which won't help you get back at it the next day. Make sure to foam roll or try a gentle yoga flow to loosen up again.
  4. If you slept at least seven hours the night before... Go workout! Although everyone is different of course, between seven and nine hours is adequate sleep for adults to function properly. You can get up and work out, even if your cosy bed is telling you something different. If you still want to hit snooze, how can you make yourself do it? Try asking yourself these three questions that might just help you find that feeling that forces you out of bed for the early bird workout:
  1. Can I work out later today?
  2. If I don't go, am I going to fall back asleep now for another 30 minutes?
  3. Have I done all of the other workouts I had planned to do this week?

If the answer is no to all of the above then you better give yourself a shake and get moving!

Exercise right and sleep tight

It's no secret that working out improves your sleep, unless you leave it too late before heading to bed. Although the most beneficial time to work out is debatable, and studies find different benefits of exercising at different times of the day. If you’re constantly setting the alarm and having the battle between deciding to work out or sleeping, then you're only disturbing your sleep and not even receiving the benefit of working out. That's just plain crazy. If you're guilty of setting the early alarm after a junk food filled day to try and compensate for a 'bad day', I urge you to stop! The chances are you'll not have a great sleep and have even less energy because of poor nutrition. Instead, get the sleep you need, focus on returning to having a balanced diet and tackle the workout the following day when your body is better fueled and rested!

With the mornings staying darker for longer and the weather turning cold, my motivation to get out of bed in general is declining, so if you're killing it in the early morning workout department, share some tips with us too!

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