First of all, let’s begin by emphasizing that cardiovascular exercise is a good idea regardless of your fitness plan. Weightlifters, athletes and weekend fitness warriors all benefit from cardio. It not only increases endurance levels, but it also raises metabolism for better fat burning and it prevents heart problems as well as an assortment of other diseases.
Of course, the time of the day which you perform cardio will depend on what works best for you because each person’s workout routine and body clock can vary. If rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. to work up a sweat causes you to shudder then you probably should wait until later in the day. However, if you’re a morning person then you would stand to benefit from cardio exercise in the morning.
How to Approach Morning Cardio
Cardio exercise in the morning is fine. However, you can’t just jump out of bed and begin a prolonged session on a treadmill or elliptical trainer. There is a certain way to go about your workout in order to avoid muscle breakdown and maximize results.
Many people have the idea that doing an intense session of cardio on an empty stomach as soon as they wake up will burn morn fat than if they eat something. The logic is usually, “if I don’t add fuel to my system in the morning then my body will consume more fat, right?” Wrong! That is a false notion.
Actually, fat is stored energy and is therefore the last source of energy that your body will draw upon. After fasting for around 8 hours during sleep, you body kicks into a survival mode and won’t burn, but save, your fat stores. Instead, when put under the additional stress of a cardio workout, your body will consume the energy more readily available in your muscle tissue first. Therefore, those who work out on an empty stomach will lose much more muscle mass than belly fat. That’s especially not a good thing for bodybuilders.
Breakfast or Bust
If you want to perform your cardio exercises in the morning then you need to get up early enough to eat a small portion of breakfast beforehand. After awakening drink a pre-workout protein shake with minimal carbohydrates along with a small piece of fruit and then wait 30-45 minutes before hitting the bricks for a morning run or other form of aerobics. You should also stick with high intensity cardio as well instead of steady-pace rates.
Giving your body that essential fuel first thing in the morning will cause it to break out of its fasting mode and enter into its normal rhythm. Because your body has “gas in its tank” and energy to start the day, when it runs out then it will instinctively go to the fat stores for its extra fuel. Moreover, the protein will help your body preserve its muscle tissue and instead, focus mainly on fat stores.
Also, eating a small nutritional breakfast before tackling aerobic exercise will give you more energy than if you strike out on an empty stomach. That fresh, extra energy will allow you to work out harder and longer which will then cause your body to draw off of more fat reserves once the initial breakfast energy has been used up.
If you don’t have time to eat a proper nutritional breakfast before your morning workout then it is best to perform it at another time of the day, such as after you weight resistance workout.