Poll: Is Morning Exercise a Must for You?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I am not a morning person. When my alarm goes off at 7:30 a.m., I like to hit snooze at least once or twice. Even when I finally give in and open my eyes, I will lie in bed in protest for up to 15 minutes before I even move my body or get up. But just because I'm up and moving, don't expect me to actually TALK to you. I need a good hour before I feel like speaking a single word to anyone, so I'll get by with gestures or grunts as long as possible until I’m forced to speak actual words—it just takes too much energy. If sleeping counts as a hobby, it's one of mine for sure. What can I say? I like my sleep…and my bed, which is the most comfortable thing on the planet.

Sometimes I feel like I have no excuses for being this tired in the morning. I don't have any kids to care for. I don't lead a very stressful life. I take good care of myself and usually sleep for 7-8 hours each night. Most of my co-workers juggle work, family life and childcare while also exercising, training for marathons and volunteering. Coach Tanya, for example, is up at the crack of dawn (well, it might as well be) to hit the gym before she has to get her kids off to school in the morning and goes to work. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. What excuse do I have to feel too lazy or tired to walk down the hall to the bathroom?

Fitness experts say that morning exercisers are more likely to stick with an exercise routine than evening exercisers, and I can understand why. (How often do other obligations arise at that hour that would prevent you from working out?) But I am not a morning person and I don't know that I could ever wake up even earlier—especially to exercise.

This has led me to wonder: Are you a morning exerciser?

When I was 18, I was living at home and didn't have a job or a car. So I'd wake up to drive my mom to work (5 minutes away) early each morning so that I could use her car during the day. She worked in the offices of an auto plant, so she had to be at work before 7 a.m. each day. I got into a routine of sleeping in my workout clothes (a great tip by the way, if you are a morning exerciser), dropping her off at work, and then exercising across the street at the company wellness center to start my day. Somehow I managed to do this five days a week, without fail, for several months, and this is what first got me interested in exercise—and eventually led me to a career in fitness that I adore.

But these days, you couldn't pay me to wake up that early to work out. (Seriously, you can't. I get lots of offers to sub or teach early morning fitness classes that I turn down!) I'm an evening workout person for the most part, mainly because I teach fitness classes in the evening after my workday at SparkPeople is over. (And let's not forget the "I'm not a morning person" part, which surely contributes.) Occasionally, I'll leave the office for a midday workout around noon, which I love and would do more often if I didn't feel like it interfered with my workdays so much. If work weren't an issue, I'd probably exercise around the middle of the day all the time, because I'm awake, energized and ready to move at this time. On a rare day, I'll be up before my alarm and head outside for a refreshing morning run or I'll ride my bike to work, but these days are few and far between.

While I love that morning exercise energizes me and lets me check exercise off of my daily to-do list, I feel kind of helpless to stick with a morning exercise routine like I did in the past. After all, there are no pressing reasons that require me to exercise in the morning. But I'm sure that life circumstances will change over the years and, like Tanya and so many others, early morning workouts might be my only option for squeezing in exercise. But for now, I'm going to enjoy hitting snooze while I can and stick with my nighttime workouts.

How about you: Are you a morning, midday or evening exerciser? Why? If work, family life or other obligations weren't an issue, what time of day would be ideal for you to work out?

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I think once my life becomes more hectic, I'll become a morning exerciser (as they could be the only time to work out!). Right now, I love midday exercising because I can go outside, have warmer temperatures, less traffic, and I feel wonderful afterward and have a 2nd burst of energy to continue my day. Even at the gym, I go between 11a-2p just to have that energy that will wear on throughout the night. Report
Yes, it's the best time to get the whole body into the action, you are better at {all things} you do though out the entire day...Mind, Body weight, Movements, Energy levels, Food/Drink/ intake...Etc...Your' on a roll... Report
I am a morning person. I find that if I don't exercise first thing, often it doesn't get done. When the weather is good, I love to walk outside. If it isn't, I either use my exercise bike, Wii Walk It Out, or other inside walking exercises including my treadmill. Report
I am a morning person, but ever since I've graduated college and started my first real job working 8-5, I can't do anything before I go to work in the morning. I've had to push my workouts until after work. I would so love to be able to get up and workout before work so that I can feel much better during the workday, but just like you, I can't seem to get out of bed in the morning to actually go do it. But I really need to start. Report
Yes, I am a morning person - that is my time. Exercising centers me for the day. It is, however, my goal this week to add an evening walk. We are actually supposed to have weather in the 50's. Report
Mornings!! Once I'm out of bed I'm usually good to go. I get on the treadmill or elliptical and watch the morning news in my basement. Or I do strength training or a DVD. I've been a morning exerciser for almost 12 solid years. It is the only time of the day that I am totally alone. It rids me of any excess water/puffy eyes so I look awake! If I miss my morning workout I can tell...it makes a big difference and has become part of the morning routine! Report
I don't do mornings! Love working out at night. So when I'm done exercising all that's left to do is take a shower and go to bed. Report
Me, I hate mornings, they are hard and I am sure my blood doesn't start circulating until at least noon. Until then I am on autopilot. Report
Yes. If I dont get it done then I probably wont do it. Report
Morning excercise always worked the best for me when I was working out of town: go early, shower, work and have the rest of the day to do what I wanted. Now that I live only 3 blocks from where I work, it works better for me to walk or run after work since it is dark in the am and my course requires light. I think as long as their is a routine in your life and it becomes a habit, it does not matter when. Report
I used to absolutely HATE the thought of exercising in the morning, I never did it. Like you, I needed my sleep. But ironically now, I workout every morning (swim) for an hour everyday at school. why? Because:

1. I already have to be there anyways and my classes start at noon.
2. It's the time of day that the pool is practically empty, so I take advantage of that.
3. Once I'm done, I don't have to think about it any more for the day.
4. I LOVE swimming so I can't wait to get there every morning.

It definitely helps if you love whatever your activity is because then you can't wait to do it no matter what time of day it is. Report
I would love to find the energy to workout in the morning again. I did it for months before I joined my current gym (closer to work).

I now workout during my lunch hour and after work. I would love to go to the morning spin class at the gym.

My excuse for not working out in the morning now is that the gym is 20 minutes from my home. Report
I get up for work at 4am with much protest also. So mourning workout are completely out Report
I am in my second semester at college and the freshman 15 did not pass me by last semester. So this semester I made myself schedule all 8:00 am classes so that I would have a regular routine and go to bed at the same time each day and get up at the same time. This way, I get up at 5:30, get to the gym by 6:00, swim for 45/50 minutes, shower and head off to class. I have been able to keep this up for two weeks so far and I feel 100% better than I ever did last semester. As long as I have a regular routine, I love being up before everyone else, including the sun, and doing a little something for myself! It's a great way to start the day. Report
I am not a morning person at all, or a night owl for that matter. I have always workout out after work. I start work at 6am, lets see, working out before work would mean getting up at... 3:30am HA! That's funny! It would never happen. I live alone so i dont have to worry about being home or making dinner for anyone. Report
I love to roll out of bed, grab a water bottle and hit the gym 100's class! Later in the afternoon I get a longer workout it. A little exercise in the AM seems to set the day on a good track. Report
I guess for me it depends on what my work hours are now that I work days and have to be at work by 5AM I am a morning exerciser, I get up at 2:30 AM and take my dogs for a brisk 50 minute walk, I like working out in the afternoon I consider it a treat, but way too often by the time afternoon rolls around I have other things waiting for my attention. Report
I am not a morning person either. I have tried all times of the day and find that 4:30 am works best for me. I have to be at work at 6 so I exercise before then because I have the house to myself and noone is demanding anything of me. If I had no family obligations ( not that I would ever wish that) I would probably work out in the afternoon though. Report
I prefer to exercise early in the day because later on, the excuses start to pile up - principally, not feeling like I have time. The added benefit is a great in-control feeling that I did it and I can conquer anything in that day! Report
during the week my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and by 4:30 I am ready to hit my treadmill for 25 to 35 minutes. And then after that I do strength training for another 35 to 40 minutes. this fits my life these days. With my hubby's cargivers ariving at 8 I have to get up that early to get it all done. But I am a morning person so I don't mind. It gets my workout all done and nothing interupts it any. I love my morning workouts. Report
I exercise in the morning. I get up and put on my workout stuff. I do my chores, get the kids to schools, and off to the gym. I come home, shower, and pick up with the rest of the day. It's do or die in the AM! Report
I'm totally a morning person when it comes to exercising. I pack my gym bag at night when I'm going to the gym in the morning. I'm usually at the gym between 4:30 - 5:00a.m., however if I workout at home I'm exercising by 5 a.m. I really struggle with afternoon and evening workouts. I'm just at my best in the mornings. If I worked the night before I exercise as soon as I get home and then go to bed. I never use a alarm clock to wake up in the mornings. I have a automatic time sensor and wake up like clock work. Report
on my gym days i get up at 7pm to get ready to make it to fitness place by 8:30am and stay there until 11:30am doing cardio/strenghten/swim/sauna/steam room/whirlpool , but days i am home i get up when i get up then do exercising sessions, I do fitness between breakfast and lunch on all days sometimes Saturday is a day of rest and errand duties. Report
I see nearly everyone here is just like me! Not a morning person in anyway possible.

However, with a whole lot of personal discipline I have learned to get myself up at 5:30am - 5 days a week to get my workouts in. If I don't do it in the morning I will spend the whole day worrying if I am ever going to be able to get to it. It is a huge distraction to me. I don't feel like a complete person until I have worked out.

With evenings full of husband, kids and all those resposibilties I have learned to love my alone time in the mornings. Report
I am not a morning person either but working out in the morning is a must for me. I am up at 4:45 on most mornings and work out with my trainer 3 days a week at 5:30. If I planned to work out in the evening too many 'excuses' would come up. Working out in the morning energizes me to start my day Report
I am a total morning person! i'm usually up at 4 in the morning and at the gym by 4:20 or so. I love my morning runs and exercise. i find that i can do elliptical and weights in the evening, but running? gotta be in the morning. :) Report
I, too, am not a morning person, and was doing evening workouts, but I found it hard to fit it all in between making dinner, helping with homework, etc. I do most of my workouts in the morning now, and find I have more energy. Report
I'm totally NOT a morning person! I just hate to wake up early and nothing can get me out of my bed before 6 a.m. I'd really, really like to workout in the morning, because it boosts energy level and boost metabolism, but I just can't force myself to do this. I always make up some excuses, because i can't workout without a breakfast. So if I want to exercise in the morning, then'll have to exercise after a meal, so I woul have to get up even earlier to have that meal and rest after it. Noo way. I always workout in the afternoon, sometimes even in the evening although it's not good. Report
I get up at 6:10 most mornings, work out until 7 am, and then get ready for work to be out the door by 8 am. I watch a video (usually twice), do some cardio, and then before I know it it's 7. Some times I switch it up and watch the news while I do some workouts with my barbells or bands. Report
Wld love to exercise in the morning to start my day but that wld mean I wld hv to wake up at 5 a.m.!!! I'd rather sleep! Exercising after work currently. Report
I could have written your first paragraph! That is ME to a T. I sit and stare out our living room window over coffee with CNN or VH1 playing in the background. My mom was the same way. She always called her morning Garbo time her "Sit Stupid Time." This apple didn't fall far from mama's tree. The only time I was an early morning exerciser was when I lived in the So Cal desert near Palm Springs. Summer temps in the 120's can serve as a serious motivational tool in kicking your butt out of bed as early as humanly possible. Now that I am in the Northeast US, and have a rigid work schedule, I have settled back in to the pm, post-work, workout zone. Hence my nocturnal Sparkage. ;~) Report
Morning exercise is a must be me. I set by alarm for 5:20 a.m. every week day morning. I use by Spark Fitness video daily and alternate between the exercise ball and the resistance band. I would like to walk in the evenings but my busy schedule does not allow it. Report
I am so not a morning person. I have been trying to fit in working out in the mornings. I set my alarm earlier to wake me up to get that fitness video in and get to work, and then my eight-month-old wakes up an hour before the alarm which completely throws me off and I end up not workout at all. Hopefully I will be able to manage it soon enough. Report
I have been a morning person ever since I went to high school and had to be out of bed by 6:00 a.m. It got worse when I moved to my present location and started taking the bus to work instead of driving. I had to be up by 5:30 a.m.

I'm retired so I could exercise any time of the day. My only exercise is walking my dog each day for about 30 minutes. I have terrible arthritis in both knees which prevents me from walking much longer. During the summer it's much easier to get up and out before the hot, humid weather sets in. During the winter, I wait until the middle of the day when the temperature will be at its highest.

I have resistance bands which I'd like to start using, especially for my arms. I'd probably use them after I walk my dog rather than waiting until the afternoon. Report
Im not a morning person at all!!! Im not even a night person.. if I could sleep all day I would, lol.. but I dont work out as much as I should, maybe if I go to bed at a moe reasonable time I can get up and do some things.. usually if it's a must-do I will.. but.. yeah :( Report
I want to exercise, but for the last 2 years I have been working on my Masters' and burning the candle at both ends. I have become very sedatory and stiff in the joints. I am trying very hard to get remotivated by finding it to be a challenge. Please help ......Need all of the inspiring messages that I can get. Report
I am and have always been a morning person. I don't have to be to work until 9am and I have no small children (only 2 dogs), but I am up at 4:30AM, and do not need an alarm clock..... I have an internal clock built in..... Therefore, morning exercise is my thing. Exercising in the morning is my morning "coffee", it just starts my day off right, and love it. Report
I love exercising at night - it allows me to work out all my thoughts and frustrations of the day to exercise harder, and it also makes me tired to go to sleep at night.. Report
I preferred exercising in the evenings but things kept interferring so I switched to mornings. It was difficult at first but a friend recommended that I tune my alarm to the annoying buzz sound and place it in a location where I was forced to get out of bed to turn the sound off. The key was forcing myself not to return to bed. It was a gradual change that I am happy to have made. I love working out at 5:30 AM. It energizes me for the entire day. Report
I want to be a morning workout person. I am so tired at the end of the day that I always seem to find an excuse for not working out. So now I set my alarm clock for 5:30 every morning. But so far I end up sleeping til 7:30 (my normal time for getting up for work). I just hope that one day I will actually get up at 5:30. When I was in High School I worked out in the morning regularly, but have never done it since. And as a result I havent regularly worked out since. I want to be a morning workout person, and hopefully I will get there! Report
Although morning exercise definitely wakes me up and energizes me for the day, I am totally NOT a morning person. I person to do everything in the evening and at night. I clean at night, I shower at night, I even do grocery shopping at night (We have 24 hr groceries where I live). When I do work out in the morning, I am usually too tired to make as good of an effort as I might late in the day. I need an hour to wake up before I do anything, and who has the time for that if they are going to work out in the morning before work/class? Not me. But, I am going to try to get into the habit. :) Report
I need a morning program. It gives me energy for the day. It also takes less total time. If you work out in the morning you only need one shower and only need to get dressed once. When you do it in the afternoon, you need another shower. It also makes me feel good to know I have it out of the way Report
I tried the workouts in the morning, but I sweat so bad that it takes me forever to get dressed in the mornings for work. I usually go at lunch for 30 minutes then again in the evening. I know my workouts at lunch gives me a lot of energy and sometimes the one in the evening keeps me up late. I do my morning routines on the weekends. Report
I am very much a late afternoon gym goer. When I first started I was so self conscious about working out that if I couldn't get to the gym by 3:00 p.m. then I just wouldn't go. It has taken a lot of discipline to get to a point that regardless of how many people are at the gym during peak hours that I make it. The work week is after 4:00pm and if I miss during the week then I generally will get to the gym on a Saturday morning. It no longer matters. However, evenings are best for me because I am still so new to this that I don't have much energy after a workout of nearly 2 hours so it helps me to sleep at night. Report
I usually start my workout at about 2:30 pm. I can't workout in the morning. I am not a morning person and I have a child that wants my attention at 7AM every day. I would sleep much later if I could, so the idea of waking up before the tot does and working out makes me a little sick to my stomach. Really, it does. If I don't get plenty of rest, I will vomit all day long... until I get a nap. It can be really bad sometimes. I have been forced to call in sick to work, just because of a late night. It is kind of miserable actually. I wish I was more of a morning person. But, as it is... I workout when my tot naps. He usually sleeps between 2-5 in the afternoon, so I put him down, and check my email, then put on my big girl shoes and workout. I don't sleep in my workout clothes, but I do put them on first thing in the morning, unless I have errands to run that day. As a SAHM, I find that putting on my workout clothes in the morning prepares me mentally for a workout. It is just that much harder to talk myself out of working out if I have been dressed for it since 7AM. Report
i cannot exercise first thing in the morning because I am to lethargic. I need a few hours to fully wake up and get motivated. If I go while I am lethargic I tend to work out for a shorter period of time and not as hard.
I tend to go to the gym around 2pm. But I also work at 2am. Report
I guess we all have our own definition of "early", lol. I found when starting SparkPeople, that if I don't excerise first thing in the morning, which is around 7:30am for me, that I find excuses to put it off till noon, then maybe 4 or 5 or 6, and then something always comes up and I didn't get it in for that day. I promised myself when I started this that I would not leave the house until I did my excerises in the morning. I owed myself that time! I have always taken care of everyone else first. Report
I like the IDEA of morning exercise...bc then it's out of the way. I can do it on the weekend if I have time to eat/digest a healthy b-fast. However, I cannot go out for a run on an empty stomach or only a light yogurt breakfast because I feel dizzy & lethargic...not to mention I am probably not properly hydrated from not drinking water all night. I feel best when I exercise after work...pack my back & go straight to the gym. Then I have my evening free to make dinner & do whatever... Report
I'm the opposite I guess. I'm a night person. Late at night, the world is quiet. Everyone else is asleep and I have my own world to do what I want, including exercising. Plus, sleeping in if I need to is a plus. Report
If nothing else were an issue (including my arthritis!), I think I'd be a morning gal. Unfortunately, by the time my meds really kick in, I'm at work. If I didn't have to work, it would definitely still be morning - just not as soon as I get up. Report
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