Are You Apart of the Morning Crew or Night Crew?

Nov 18, 2019 | Blog

  Exercising is important for everyone. Exercising has many benefits from improving cardiovascular health, decreasing stress, to even improving lung function in cystic fibrosis and COPD. However, what is good for us doesn’t mean we will always want to partake in it. In 2018, there were over 253 million people that were 18 years of age or older in the US (Kids Count Data Center, 2019). Out of those 253 million people, 55.3% engaged in physical aerobic activity and 23.2% engaged in aerobic and resistance training. (NCHS, 2018). Based on Center for Disease and Control Prevention Physical Activity Guidelines, physical activity guidelines are set at 150 minutes a week of moderate- intensity aerobic physical activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, and/or at least 10-minutes bouts of an equivalent combination of moderate-vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (NCHS, 2018). Let’s face it, sometimes you will hit these numbers each week, and other times you won’t. In addition, these guidelines do not take into consideration special populations such as pulmonary diseases, so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to hit these guidelines as the benefits have been well-documented.  

  So, why don’t we hit exercise goals we set for ourselves even though we know it’s good for us?

  Generally speaking, there are many variables that could be examined and discussed about this, but we are going to chat about one approach you can take to create some self-awareness on when the best time for you to exercise is. This way, you have more information to help you attack and maintain your fitness and exercise goals.               In research, the goal is to systematically investigate and understand something. Earl Robert Babbie describes it best, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict and control the observed phenomenon.”  Every day you are doing research without knowing it. When you “get hungry,” you eat something that you perceived to be satisfying, and fulfilling to crave your appetite. You didn’t ask your body what it would like to eat, you told it what you were going to eat based on previous experiences. Then when you eat the food, your body will tell you what it thinks of the food. Upset stomach, headache, muscle and mental fatigue are all end products of a research project you just did. Your body tells you more information than you may realize. Why do you think some people are early risers and others are not? Research isn’t very clear on why this occurs however, but findings have led researchers to believe that it is linked to genetic variants in our DNA. This means you are not lazy or unmotivated to work out in the morning or night, it means that there is a window of time that best fits YOU and you should work off of that.  

Build your routine around what works best for you and not what is best for someone else.

  So how do people do it?           They create a routine. Every person has a routine. There are certain things you consistently do throughout the day/week. You wake up at a certain time, you work at a certain time, you drink your morning coffee at a certain time, the list goes on. You may not realize it, but this is a routine. You’ve adapted your time to create this routine.  Successful people create a routine that not only works with their daily responsibilities but also with their body’s feedback. You have feedback loops in your body that keeps your body in check. For example, some people like to work out in the morning, some like to work out in the afternoon, and others like to work out at night. Some people do not have a choice, or at least think they do not have a choice, but often times it is because people are either “morning people” or “night people.”   How to Evaluate Who You Are.           Sometimes it is hard to figure out the best time to work out. Especially if you have to alternate from morning workouts to night workouts.  What you can do is look at your exercise routine from an objective lens. Compare your morning and night performance results subjectively and objectively. Which workouts do you have more energy during? How much are you lifting in the morning vs. nights? How is your aerobic performance capacity in the morning vs. nights? When you have great workouts, or feel most energized, reflect back on what you did that day at work, or what you ate or drank, was it a high stress day at work or slower paced, and at what time was your workout? All these factors play into your decision on when to workout, whether you realize it or not.  If they didn’t, then every day you work out the intensity, frequency, duration, and mental capacity would be the same and you would be on a linear path to great health performance, but that is not the case. Anyone who has ever worked out or taken a breath of air has great days and bad days. Each day is different but the more you know about what your body is telling you, the better off you are when the bad days roll around.             It can get hard to work out, especially as winter is right around the corner, but you need to listen to your mind and body. If your energy levels are at their highest peak in the morning, then you should think about scheduling your workouts in the morning. If you practically fall out of bed in the morning after you have hit the snooze buttons several times, then workout in the afternoon or night. Don’t stress about not getting a morning lift in, especially when someone posts on social media how they “crushed their workout” this morning. Take a minute to reset and understand why you didn’t go to the gym this morning. It is most likely because you like to sleep in and your best lifts are at night. You are part of the night crew.             No matter if you crush it in the mornings or you crush it at nights, spend a moment to find out who you are. Now, not everyone has the luxury of working out when they want but try it out and start simple, start with morning workouts or nights and then in a couple of weeks examine how you feel. You are going to have to reflect on your fitness because your life is always changing. You will be surprised what happens when you listen to your mind and body. There is a reason why we don’t stay at a consistent energy level throughout the day.  You may be trying to fit in your workouts during times when you have the least amount of energy. This could be a reason why it is hard to keep a consistent routine.   Keep it simple. Find out if you are a morning person or night person and investigate what happens if you exercise at that time compare to another time. Just keep in mind that one acute session at this new time will not give you enough feedback for longevity. Try and stick with this approach for >2 weeks and then revaluate.          

References

National Center for Health Statistics. (2018). National Health Interview Survey, Sample Adult Core component. Retrieved from https://public.tableau.com/profile/nhis5946#!/vizhome/FIGURE7_7/Dashboard7_7   The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2019). Kids Count Data Center. Retrieved from https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/99-total-population-by-child-and-adult-populations#detailed/1/any/false/37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38/39,40,41/416,417     .
 

For more exercises check out our YouTube Channel: Cystic Fibrosis Fitness Institute 

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