Workout of the Week: Energizing Morning Workout

May 21, 2015 Updated: May 21, 2015

Working out in the morning can set you up for a better day by creating a positive and healthy tone right at the start. Exercise in general can help you feel better about yourself, and morning workouts will help you deal better with obstacles that present themselves during the rest of your day.  

Positivity breeds positivity, so if you’re in a rut, trying to lose weight, or just need a lifestyle change, try exercising in the morning.

Weight Loss

There is a huge connection between sleep and weight loss because quality of sleep affects the hormones that control appetite. Those who exercise late at night tend to have more trouble falling asleep because exercise energizes the body making it more difficult to relax and fall into a peaceful sleep.

Exercising in the morning jump-starts your metabolism and can keep it up throughout the day. People also tend to find that morning exercise helps them make better food choices and regulate their appetites.

Mental Focus

Exercise stimulates the brain and increases mental acuity. So exercising before work can help you think more clearly and perform better at work.

If you have a busy schedule and have trouble making time to work out, getting up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise will make you more likely to do your workout. If you wait until the end of day, schedule conflicts or tiredness are more likely to interfere.

It does take discipline to get up earlier than “necessary,” but over time, your body will adjust to waking at an earlier hour, especially if you are consistent.

It’s worth going to bed an hour earlier to help you wake up. Plus the more sleep you get before midnight, the better since our biological clocks, which respond to light in our environments, are set for us to go to bed between 8 and 10 p.m.

The Workout

Try these full-body moves to energize your day.

Vinyasa Warm-Up

1. Stand tall with your feet together. Take a deep breath as you sweep your arms out and up overhead until the palms touch.

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

2.Exhale and send your hips back as you fold forward with a long spine.

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

3. Jump or walk your feet back to plank. Hold for three deep breaths while holding your abdominals and buttocks firm.

4. Send your hips up and back as your press into your hands to come into Down Dog. Keep stretching for three deep breaths.

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

5. Now bend your knees and look through the palms of your hands by extending at the upper back.

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

6. Jump or walk your feet up so they fall in between your hands.

7. Stand up by lengthening your spine up to a flat back (torso parallel to the floor) and sending your hips forward to return to the standing position. As you come up, sweep your arms out to the sides and overhead to meet in prayer position, palms pressed together.

Repeat the vinyasa four times.

 

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Vinyasa Warm-Up. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Side Plank With Twist

1. Sit on your right hip with your right hand down on the floor directly under the right shoulder.

Side Plank. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Side Plank. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

2. Press away from the floor to lift your hips up toward the sky while balancing on the side of your bottom foot. Extend your top left arm up to the sky.

Side Plank. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Side Plank. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

 

3. If you feel ready, reach your left arm around under your hips while hollowing out your abs and return the arm up overhead. Do three to six reaches, lower back to the floor, and repeat on the left side.

Box Jumps

1. Stand tall with your feet directly under your hips a few inches away from a sturdy box about 1 foot high.

Box Jumps. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Box Jumps. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

2. Jump with both feet up onto the box, and then jump right back down to the starting position. Keep jumping and aim to complete 20.  

Box Jumps. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Box Jumps. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

Overhead Press

1. Stand tall with your feet directly under your hips. Hold a weight in one hand. Bend this arm at the elbow and squeeze it in to your side with palm facing in. Let the other arm hang down your other side.

Overhead press (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Overhead press (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

2. Brace your abdominals and buttocks as you press the weight overhead and the palm rotates to face front.

Overhead press (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Overhead press (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

3. Control the lowering of the weight back down to the rack position and repeat.

Choose a weight that is light enough for you to cleanly complete 12–15 repetitions.

 Fan Kicks

1. Stand a few inches away from a yoga block, a foam roller that’s upright on one end, or another object you can kick over. Adjust the height to your needs. Place your hands behind your head and brace your abdominals.

2. Swing the right leg across your body and up around the object on the floor to kick up and over it. (You’re not trying to kick it over.)

Fan Kicks-1 copy
Fan Kick. (Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)

3. Then do the same on the left. Keep alternating legs, aiming to complete 10 fan kicks on each leg.

Pay attention that the knee of the standing leg doesn’t rotate in. You are bracing your abdominals against rotation here as the leg fans around, so keep your core solid.

Ashley Whitson is an ACE-certified personal trainer, Pilates-certified instructor, pre- and postnatal exercise specialist, Functional Movement Systems professional, Neurokinetic Therapy practitioner, and professional dancer in New York. For more information, see AshleyWhitsonPersonalTrainernyc.com.

RECOMMENDED