Practice — Early Morning vs. Sleeping In

22 January 2014
Functional Fitness
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Practice — early morning vs sleeping in

It’s a unique experience, switching off the alarm with the sunrise hours away, getting out in the crisp morning air, and practicing consistently. Even if you practice consistently, there’s something about waking up that provides a sense of discipline and accomplishment. You’re in control and you’re getting stuff done. Early morning workouts get you alert for the day and keep you on schedule, they also force you to get to bed early so you get enough rest for practice. Some people even claim that it will speed up your metabolism if you work out early in the day.

Maybe you’ve heard otherwise. Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s important to sleep. What if you aren’t the kind of person who can get to bed early enough to make the early morning wake up call an efficient time for rest? Your body needs sleep so why would you shock it awake and get it active?

Is it better to wake up and practice early or to stay in bed and get your rest?

Searching for Answers

To be truthful, there isn’t a specific answer. Practice is important so doing it whenever it best fits into your schedule is a good idea. But if you have a choice between morning and afternoon, there are a few items to consider.

Power Routines

First off, expect longer warm-up times in the morning. Studies have shown that our muscular function (especially power routines) is more affected by temperature in the morning than it is in the afternoon. It would be wise to add an extra 5 minutes to your warm up time. If it usually takes 15-20 minutes to warm up, budget for 20-25 minutes or alter your session to include fewer power-style movements.

Endurance Routines

However, if you are an endurance athlete morning workouts can be more beneficial. Research suggests morning workouts increase heat capacity storage. Since initial temperature is the main factor in increasing your heat capacity, working out in settings where initial temperatures are colder allows you to last longer than in scenarios where you start with a higher core temperature.

How Does It Fit in Your Life?

Getting up in the morning versus practicing in the afternoon depends on a few factors. For starters, what works with your schedule? Working out at an inopportune time is better than no workout at all. Secondly, the type of workout could guide you to the time to do it. For power movements, a cold morning might be an inhibitor. If you can do it in the afternoon, great; if not, add an extra 5 minutes of warm ups. Likewise, morning workouts are beneficial for endurance athletes due to the lower core temperature contributing to longer sessions.

The answer truly is a “depends”, but your goals and your movements should give you a good sense of what time you should be practicing.