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Morning Gym Workouts That Build Complete Fitness

Two CrossFit athletes taking part in a morning gym workout.

A morning gym workout is a great way to start the day. As well as kickstarting the physiological systems – firing up the metabolism and increasing heart rate and blood flow – an early sweat session sets you on a healthy path. The authors of Willpower argue that starting the day as you mean to go on is an effective strategy in the fight for health.

Contrary to common misunderstanding, morning exercise doesn’t drain our batteries but boosts energy and vitality. After a morning gym workout, we will typically feel full of beans and ready to embark on a day of productivity.

Morning gym workout health & fitness benefits

This article brings you four morning gym workouts to try. Each workout has been developed to target a different component of fitness.

As well as changing the exercise experience, the training variations broaden the range of potential health and fitness benefits on offer.

For example, if you interchange the workouts throughout a training week, you will build functional strength and muscle endurance while enhancing cardio fitness. And because all the workouts feature an aerobic element, they promote fat loss as well.

Health and fitness benefits

Increased functional strength
Enhanced muscle endurance
Improved aerobic capacity
Decreased body fat

How to use these morning gym workouts

There are several ways that you can use these morning gym workouts. Because they have been crafted to target a specific component of fitness, you could select the one that more closely aligns with your training objectives.

For example, if your aim is to lose weight and trim up, you would be wise to select workouts three and four. These workouts are comprised of cardio and circuit training. And, according to Daniel Liberman, cardio and training involving high-intensity exercises, such as circuits, are the best methods of melting fat.

Make a routine out of the morning gym workouts

To maximise the effectiveness of the workouts, and to bag all those benefits outlined above, you would organise them into a weekly routine.

You could do this simply by rotating through them each time you train. Alternatively, you could implement a more structured program.

This could be achieved by fixing a workout to a specific day. For example:

Monday – Workout 1: Strength
Tuesday – Workout 2: Muscle endurance
Wednesday – Day off (or low-intensity activity/sport)
Thursday – Workout 3: Cardio
Friday – Workout 4: Circuit

Four morning gym workouts

Below you’ll find four morning gym workouts. They include a brief outline of the training method, a list of key points, and a session plan that you can use at the gym.

Before starting any of the workouts, you should complete a 5- to 10-minute warm-up. The warm-up can be a simple 2000 metres of rowing, or it can incorporate light resistance exercises.

Related: Best Warm-up Exercises

Morning gym workout #1: Whole-body strength

The objective of this workout is to promote whole-body strength. To achieve this outcome, an exercise has been selected for each of the main muscle groups. This accounts for the long list of exercises in the session plan.

It looks like it will take a week to complete but the workout can be tailored to suit your time constraints. If you only have 20 minutes to spare, you can simply perform one set on each exercise.

As long as you remain within the strength training zone (50-plus % of max effort), gains can be gleaned from even a short session. If you’ve got more time on the clock, go for two or three sets per exercise.

Workout key points

  • Complete a warm-up of an appropriate nature before starting the workout.

  • Select either one, two, or three sets per exercise.

  • Follow the plan ensuring to apply the strength training formula: low sets/reps, long rests, and high weights.

A strength training morning gym routine.

Morning gym workout #2: Functional fitness

This workout is almost diametrically opposite to its predecessor. Whereas workout one is packed to bursting with exercises, here there are but three: kettlebell clean, jerk, and the long cycle.

To these three exercises, the EMOM training method has been applied. If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for every minute on the minute. The EMOM process is as effective as it is simple.

After setting a repeat countdown timer, the aim is to complete a pre-specified number of reps at the start of each minute. Once you’ve completed the reps, you are to rest for the remaining time before the next minute elapses. So, if it takes you 25 seconds to complete 10 kettlebell swings, you will get 35 seconds of rest before starting the next set.

For more on this highly versatile training method, see the Hungry4Fitness Complete Guide To EMOM Training.

Related: Need a Competition Kettlebell?

Workout key points

  • Warm up well – a two to five-thousand-metre row should do it.

  • Set a 30-minute repeat timer (it’s important that you can clearly see time).

  • Organised into three 10-minute sections, complete each EMOM before moving on.

  • You can use one or two kettlebells in this workout. However, if using one, you will need to make transitions.

A gym workout involving kettlebell exercises that is designed to develop muscle endurance in all the major muscle groups.

Morning gym workout #3: Cardio conditioning

Arguably the best form of exercise to do in the morning is cardio. A gentle jog, swim, or cycle sufficiently stimulates the physiological systems but without over-stressing the body.

An added benefit of cardio is that it doesn’t require much concentration. While you’re plodding around the block or peddling away on a stationary bike, you can let your mind wander – perhaps plan the day or ponder the meaning of it all. When you’ve just woken up and are still feeling a little groggy, it’s as mentally taxing as it is physically to navigate complex lifts with heavy loads.

After the cardio, the workout concludes with a short callisthenics complex. This involves completing a series of bodyweight exercises for 10 minutes.

Workout key points

  • The warm-up can be integrated into the workout. If you plan to jog for 30 minutes, you could spend the first 5 minutes walking and performing mobility exercises.

  • Sustain aerobic output for between 20 to 60 minutes.

  • Concluding the cardio bout, progress through the callisthenics complex.

A morning fitness routine that promotes cardio conditioning.

Morning gym workout #4: Complete fitness circuit

Our final morning gym workout is a circuit that has been crafted to promote complete fitness conditioning. If you’re incredulous as to whether a single session can deliver ‘complete’ fitness conditioning, here’s what Watson has to say on the matter:

Circuit training is . . . a way of developing all-round fitness. Decreases in body fat and increases in strength, as assessed by the one repetition maximum effort, and maximum oxygen uptake have been reported as a result of circuit training.

And this is just the icing on the bun of circuit training benefits. As well as being infinitely versatile, the intensity can be adjusted to accommodate your energy levels. So, if you roll out of bed but leave your motivation still ensconced in the sheets, you can take it nice and easy for the first few laps.

Workout key points

  • Warm up with 2000 metres of rowing or a low-intensity whirl around the circuit,

  • Set a timer for however long you want to train.

  • Start the circuit trying to complete one full lap before resting.

A morning gym workout that promotes whole body fitness conditioning.


Enjoyed these gym workouts?

Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.

This article that features four morning gym routines concludes with the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume 2.


These four morning gym workouts conclude with the bio of the author.

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