7 Benefits of A.M. Workouts

morningSince the New Year, I got the crazy idea to start working out in the morning. I always avoided it before, because I need my precious sleep. But I’d always end up too tired or overwhelmed to exercise in the evenings. I thought I’d lead workouts after work, but those have been a flop this year. So I finally decided to stop making excuses and get my workouts done in the mornings. These are the reasons I’m loving it.

1. It gets me pumped!

Exercising in the morning has been so rejuvenating. Rather than tire me out for the rest of the day, it gives me energy. Exercise releases endorphins, those chemicals put me in a good mood and gets me ready to concur anything that comes my way.

2. I have to be organized

Because I am waking up an hour early to workout if forces me to organize the rest of my day so that everything doesn’t fall apart. I pick out my clothes, make lunches, clean, prepare lesson plans, and etc. I do all this to make up for waking up an extra hour. I usually make up more than that and I am more on point than ever before.

3. I actually get MORE sleep

Yes, you read that right, waking up an hour earlier actually allows me to get more sleep. Because I am preparing to wake up earlier I deliberately go to sleep in order to get my 8 hours in. Sometimes I still fall short, but its much better. Before, I would stay up on social media until 1, 2, or sometimes 3 in the morning. My sleeping schedule was HORRIBLE. Before I was working out I’d pass out shortly after I put my son to bed at 8, wake up again at about 11 and then be up until 4 in the morning, no wonder I had no energy to exercise, much less anything else. I was miserably just getting by during the day. Now I am well rested and energized through the day and fail asleep soundly somewhere in between 9-11, then wake up ready for my next workout.

4. I drink more water

Drinking water has always been a struggle of mine. Even if I was eating healthy I would not drink water. I could go an entire day without drinking anything but coffee. Before I workout I drink a big glass of water, I drink another during the workout, and another after. That’s half of the water I need for the day. It does make me have to rush to the bathroom right as I clock in. After that if I get just 1-2 bottles in at work and 1-2 at home with dinner, I’m good for the day.

5. I get creative

What exactly am I doing at 5 in the morning? Right now I’ve been alternating between doing Beachbody Cize workouts and Insanity. The Cize day is like the fun workout, and Insanity puts me in beastmode. I do the videos Monday-Friday, Saturday is a wild card day for a free community class or playing with my son, and Sunday is a rest day, I might do some yoga if I feeling up to it.  I also have a fitness room at my apartment that I could use. I have saved tons of circuits and workouts from Pinterest that will acutally be put to use now. The sky is the limit, but I have a chance to actually get creative and independently try new things without being worried about the other people around me are doing or thinking.

6. I have “me time”

I absolutely love my husband and son. I love my job. But these morning workouts I have all to myself. Its just me and the living room space. Sometimes I lose myself in the workout, I don’t even realize I’m exercising because I can hear all the thoughts that I don’t hear during the business of the day.

7. I eat healthier

Doing my workouts in the morning sets me up for healthier eating throughout the day. I’m already motivated and don’t want to undo my progress. So many times before, I’d put the workout I intended to do in MyFitnessPal and the never do it. Now I already have it covered, so I know not the overindulge. Plus, I still have the opportunity to do a little extra if I want at the end of the day. Although I still have issues with extra snacking, at least I’m motivated to plan better meals, because of my exercise routine.

I hope I keep this up and don’t fall off, because it has been really beneficial for me all around. My husband has even noticed. He says I seem happier and not so exhausted and defeated when I get home from work. He even claims he can tell a difference in my body, but I never believe him when he says that, because he says it even when I know I’ve put on 10 pounds. You can’t beat these results though. My ultimate goal is to lose weight, but all the other improvements are great as well. I waiting a month before I weigh myself. Even if I don’t like what the numbers says, sometimes there’s more to it that just losing weight. I’m just trying my best to be healthy, hoping that everything will fall into place. Making exercise a MANDATORY part of my schedule is my first step.

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Weight Loss Woes

One of the major topics of my blog is healthy living. And for many, like me, the journey towards a healthy life includes losing weight. Weight loss is probably one ofID-10019615 the most influential aspects of being healthy if you are within the overweight and obese range. I have historically fluctuated between being on the high end of overweight and the low end of obese. Since having my son 2 years ago I have been obese according to my BMI. My weight loss happened steadily while breastfeeding and then I hit a plateau after my body wasn’t naturally burning those calories from producing milk for my son. After I stopped breastfeeding I started a more rigorous schedule of exercises and a stricter eating plan. I don’t use the word diet, because I always attempt to make lifestyle changes according to my goals. Diets to me are gimmicks that people start and stop and generally the results are temporary.  So I reduced my caloric intake and the pounds started coming off again. I was getting very close to my pre-baby weight. And then life happened. Stressors from work, increased financial difficulty, and along with the already present demands of raising a toddler caused my current success to come to a halt.

This past year we started my 2 year old in daycare. We appreciated him getting more social time, and us not having to follow him around 24/7, but it came at a cost of $113 a week. The cost along with the time cause me to cancel my YMCA membership. My workout schedule included Zumba, Yoga, Body Pump, and a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class. I’d go to 2 classes a day, meaning I was working out 2 hrs each day. These classes were typically at 6 & 7 pm. By the time I got home it was after 8 o’ clock, and I’d get my son in bed by 9pm. When my husband was a stay at home dad that wasn’t an issue, as they’d just wake up whenever they felt like. But know that our son had to wake up at 6:30 for daycare, that was an issue. I attempted to selfish route, meaning he’d adjust to less sleep and nap longer. But after a week of having a hysterical baby at night, I decided to go with my sons best interest which was bed by 7, meaning I could not make it to my classes. Our apartment complex has a fitness room with medicine balls, a universal weight machine, elliptical, and treadmill. Given that I get all these resources for free I thought it would be silly to keep he gym membership without being able to attend the classes. So I cancelled my membership and said I would continue working out using the fitness center at my apartment complex. For the first 3 weeks that didn’t happen. I came home, made and ate dinner, put my son to bed, and often passed out myself.

The changes that had occurred in my life also had a toll on my eating habits. I began drinking wine each night, buying cakes, cookies, and ice cream to eat at nights. Any snack left in the workroom a school stood no chance if I saw them. I was out of control. I didn’t know what to do about it. I used to have so much will power. I college I’d go in the “caf” with my friends, watch them go through the pizza, burger, and ice cream stations, while I ate my salad or other health options available that day. While talking to one of my colleagues, she said it’s because you feel a sense of entitlement. When I walk through the break room after a tough class and see some leftover cookies from a church even I think “I’ve earned, this treat, I deserve this.” And that’s often times the exact thing that has crossed my mind. I often say that I believe in “all things in moderation”, but at this point there was no moderation, it was just an all out free for all. I’d seen almost 15 of the 50 pounds I lost over the past 2 years come back in 2 months. That’s when I decided I had to make some changes.

I decided to make a realistic exercise and eating plan. I could no longer rely on 2 hour hardcore workouts per day to offset the calories I consume. I know that I don’t push myself while working out independently the same way I do while in the front of a class with 10-20 other people. So I decided to start working out before I leave school with a couple other colleagues so we can motivate each other as well as get the workout done before I go home so whether I accidentally pass out or not, I’ll be Ok. I also decided that I’d allow myself a cheat meal on the weekends. That way I can pass everything up during the week knowing I’ll get a treat later. I’ve thought of a couple of rewards for myself (no food) if I reach certain goals. These rewards would included getting my nails done, new piercings and tattoos, and new clothes or shoes to show off my transformed body.

One of the major things I’ve been working on is trying to be happy and comfortable with where I am now. I may not have the time or energy to put in the strenuous workouts that would get the results I want as fast as I want. But I can take baby steps and get there in due time. This past week was the start of my new expectations and goals for myself. I can say that I was a lot more successful that I’d been before, although I still wasn’t perfect. But I will celebrate my successes. I pasted up cinnamon rolls left in the work room Monday. I worked out 4 days this past week. Even one day I did not workout before leaving school since everybody else in my group had other requirements, that same day I passed out at 8pm until 11. But I woke up at 11 and did a circuit of 40 jump and jacks, 30 crunches, 20 squats, and 10 push ups 5 times. I decided that would be my go to workout if I didn’t do anything else. Hopefully when I weight myself at school I’ll see some progress on the scale. If not at least I’m going in the right direction, and can make further adjustments to get my weight loss going again.