My thoughts on early morning workouts can be summarized as follows: Fuck that shit.
On weekdays, my usual habit has been to work out in the early evening, after work (if I’m in the office) or after Ben gets home (if I’m at home). I also work out on Sunday mornings (usually after I’ve been awake for at least an hour and have consumed coffee).
This week, I decided to switch to early morning workouts. I’ve done this three times. It has meant waking up at approximately 5:20 and arriving at the gym at approximately 5:50.
Why? Well, why not, I guess. Why not try it, you know? But also, from most important to least important:
- Morning workouts free up my evenings, giving me more time to spend with Ben and Soren. In theory, I’d also be free to do other fun things in the evenings.
- I almost never get runner’s tummy1 when I run on an empty stomach, which isn’t possible in the early evening.
- The gym is much less crowded in the morning.
- Parking in the morning is very easy and free (you don’t have to pay downtown Denver parking meters between 6 and 8 a.m., which is kind of random but nice), saving me approximately $20 a month.
These benefits strongly support morning workouts. The problem is that, well, there are many problems.
What ends up happening is that I spend my supposedly quality evening worrying about going to bed early enough, falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting up before the crack of ass the next day. I’m naturally inclined to stay up until around midnight, and I’m just not a very good sleeper any more. And as far as I’m concerned, getting up any time before, say, 6:00 is just not right. It’s okay to wake up in the 5s if you’re going on a road trip, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
Then I’m torn between sleeping as late as possible and allowing myself enough time so I don’t feel totally rushed and crazed. Then I have to leave the house while it’s cold and dark and everybody else is still snugly sleeping and without fail, I almost trip over the Rottweiler in the living room. Then there’s the fact that Soren doesn’t wake up at the same time every day. Sometimes, he’ll sleep until 8:30 if he can. Sometimes, he’s up at 7. It’s inefficient and not that much fun to shower and get ready for work with a toddler running around the house.
Then, and maybe this would change after I adapted to early morning workouts (assuming I’m capable of adapting), I just don’t feel as good in the morning. I’m not as mentally alert, which I thought might be a good thing but it’s really not, because it’s harder to get motivated to finish a run instead of doing something easier like the elliptical. And I’m not as physically alert, either. My body doesn’t feel as good as it does later in the day. Even lifting weights (my favorite) is much harder — the same weights I’ve been lifting feel so much heavier and I feel so much weaker.
My original plan was to give early morning workouts a month and then see how I felt. But I’m ready to call it quits now. It just doesn’t feel right. So fuck that shit. I’m an early-evening-workout-er, and that’s just how it is.
1. Look, I don’t want to get all TMI or anything but yeah, runner’s tummy. This means sometimes (avert your eyes) I get, well, runner’s trots. Sometimes I don’t get them but feel just as bad. So to me, runner’s tummy means that sometimes after a run, I end up feeling relatively minor (I can function) to extreme (I sit on the couch wishing for someone to shoot me) stomach/digestive pain that comes in cycles and may or may not be accompanied by trots and lasts for approximately two hours. This is awful and greatly detracts from the quality time I’m ideally spending with Ben and Soren in the evenings. I’ve gotten better at preventing this (by eating lunch for breakfast and breakfast (cereal with soy milk) for lunch so that I’m eating very little fat and no dairy for lunch) but it still happens sometimes.