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Kick-Start The Day With This Quick Morning Workout

A woman completing a quick morning workout.

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Putting your training off to later in the day is risky for your fitness. Work and the seemingly endless barrage of commitments not only come between us and our workout but also drain us of energy. In his book Willpower, leading psychologist R. Baumeister warns us that when our mental energy levels drop so does our cognitive capacity to make healthy choices. When you’re tired (and perhaps a tad fed up) after a hectic day in the office, the sofa and takeaway are far more alluring than a sixty-minute sweat session.


A simple strategy to improve exercise consistency is to start each day with a quick morning workout. When our batteries are fully charged, we’ll feel far more motivated to train. Also, when everyone else is asleep and you’re not on the clock, fewer things will get between you and your workout.


Another reason to squeeze in a quick morning workout is that it can boost energy levels. This can improve our powers of productivity thus enabling us to get more done throughout the day.


Before we move on to the benefits, let’s not forget the positive psychological impacts associated with morning exercise. To state the relationship simplistically, mustering the motivation to get out of bed a bit earlier to train leaves us with a strong sense of self-satisfaction. Knowing that you’ve done something beneficial for your health feels good.


On that note, here are three reasons to use this quick morning workout.


Quick morning workout benefits

The key benefit of this morning routine is that it activates all the major muscle groups and stimulates the cardiovascular system. It achieves this outcome by combining resistance and cardio into a short sharp circuit. This design feature ensures that you will enjoy a complete training session every morning.


In addition to expanding the health and fitness benefits on offer, exercising the full register of your physicality takes the pressure off training an area later in the day. If for whatever reason you can’t get to the gym for your obligatory Monday evening spin class, you’ll rest a little easier knowing that you’ve already engaged in aerobic exercise.


Make it your daily workout routine

Though this next benefit is not related to health or fitness, it is nonetheless still important. Some session plans (such as this Barbell Complex) require specialised equipment. While this is necessary when targeting a specific component of fitness (such as strength), it can result in missed training sessions on those days when you can’t get to the gym. After all, few people have the luxury of a home gym that’s kitted out with an Olympic barbell and set of bumper plates.

 

Because this quick morning workout can be adapted to any training facility – gym, home, office, outdoors – you’ll always have a workout to hand. Here are a few more benefits before we take a look at the workout.


  • The training tasks can be tailored to target your fitness goals. For example, you could alter the resistance-cardio ratio to emphasise either strength, muscle endurance, or aerobic conditioning. I cover this in more detail below.

  • The overall duration of the plan is fully customisable. What this means is that you can shape it to fit your time constraints. Suppose you ‘accidentally’ hit the 10-minute snooze button, reducing your workout from 30 to 20 minutes. You’ve still got enough time on the clock to cram in a couple of laps of the circuit.


How to do this quick morning workout

The warm-up is the most important part of the quick morning workout. And the warm-up is the one part of the workout that shouldn’t be quick! Remember, the purpose of this training phase is to prepare the body for the demands of exercise, improve performance and reduce injury risk. For your warm-up, I recommend rolling out a Yoga mat and performing a few sets of slow sun salutations. After limbering up those tight muscles, raise the core temperature with a five- or 10-minute bout of cardio – such as running or shadowboxing.


I’ve created two plans for you to try. The first has been crafted with a gym in mind; the second for a kit-free space. As I explain in the hints and tips section, both plans are modifiable. So, let’s review the training method.


I’ve kept things nice and simple. The last thing we want in the morning is to wade through a complex plan packed full of exercises. The five exercises that form the workouts are organised into a circuit. You’ll spend a minute at each station before transitioning. Your objective is to complete as many laps of the circuit as you have time for.


Key training points

  • Kickstart the quick morning routine with a five- or 10-minute warm-up. Begin with a few sun salutations (or mobility exercises) before turning up the heat with a progressive-intensity bout of cardio.

  • Select the plan most suited to your training facility. If you’ve got time in the morning to make it to the gym, take plan one with you. If you’re training at home or the local playing field, go plan two.

  • The training task involves circumnavigating a circuit comprised of just five stations. You’ll spend sixty seconds at each station before moving on.

  • Conclude your quick morning workout with a cool-down, whole-body stretch, and healthy breakfast >


Quick morning workout plan #1: strength and cardio training.

Quick morning workout plan #2: muscle endurance and aerobic conditioning.

Quick morning workout hints and tips

Our first tip, them, touches on modification options. I say ‘touches on’ because the number of possible permutations is vast. Thus, an exhaustive list would be anything but quick. Of course, any exercise in the circuit can be substituted for one that aligns more closely with your fitness goals or preferred training method. For example, the goal of developing muscular endurance would require the removal of the aerobic exercise to be replaced with a resistance movement. But if you’re pursuing general fitness conditioning, a balanced plan should be prioritised.


The default timings are sixty seconds per station and five minutes per lap. Again, as with the exercise selection, these are not set in stone. Depending on your time constraints (and/or level of fitness), you may need to shave a few seconds off each exercise. Alternatively, on one of those rare mornings when you beat the blackbird out of bed, you could double or triple the preset station duration.


Workout routine to build muscle

I briefly mentioned above about how the quick morning workout can be adapted to emphasise a specific component of fitness. To expand on that point, restructuring the plans to promote, say, muscular endurance, is merely a matter of populating all the stations with resistance exercises.


But let’s suppose you’ve set your sights on building muscle and increasing strength. Those fitness goals limit you to the first plan for the simple fact that you’ll need heavy equipment. Now it’s a matter of selecting appropriate exercises – these compound lifts are a good place to start – and applying the correct training protocol. When targeting strength and size, you should reduce the sets and reps (1 to 3 sets of 4 to 10 reps) and take longer recovery breaks.


 

Enjoyed this workout routine?

Then get your hands on over 80 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Vol.3 >

Quick morning workout concludes with the HUngry4Fitness Book of Circuits.

 

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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