Why Are Workouts Harder in the Morning?

It’s well known that working out in the morning is often the hardest part of the day. But why is that? We explore the science behind why workouts are harder in the morning.

Physiological Effects

Working out in the morning has its benefits, but it can also be more physically demanding than working out in the afternoon or evening. This is due to a variety of physiological effects that the body experiences. Some of these effects include increased muscle fatigue and reduced energy levels. Let’s take a closer look at the physiological effects of working out in the morning.

Changes in hormones

The timing of your workout can affect hormones, which in turn can affect how hard you work out. During the day, your body produces cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Cortisol levels are low in the morning and start to rise during the day. Exercise puts stress on the body, which increases cortisol levels even further. Having increased cortisol levels in your body while exercising forces you to work harder and can make workouts feel more difficult than usual.

Exercise also triggers endorphins (the “feel good” hormones) that make you feel better after exercising and motivate you to stay active. However, endorphin production is lower when you exercise in the morning compared to other times of day when it’s higher. This means that although cortisol is already at a low level making it easier to physically push yourself while exercising, endorphins are not there to act as a natural motivator and reward for completing a workout.


When training in the morning, one of the biggest factors to consider is dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a decrease in physical performance and can be avoided with proper hydration habits. Even if you’re well-hydrated before you start your workout, once you actually begin sweating, it’s essential to stay ahead of the game by drinking water throughout your workout.

When you’re sleeping at night, your electrolyte levels are low and your sweat rate increases. This means that even if you wake up hydrated, during your morning workout or run you will quickly become dehydrated—faster than during other times of day. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that dehydration impairs physical performance when exercising in a hot environment or during intensive exercise; this means even if it’s not hot out yet and all other variables remain constant, dehydration will lead to decreased performance when exercised in the morning.

To ensure optimal performance during morning exercise sessions, it’s important to stay adequately hydrated throughout the activity by drinking plenty of fluids before working out and engaging in regular drinks throughout the session. In addition to consuming plenty of fluids before and during a workout session, eating certain fruits that contain both water and electrolytes can help maintain proper hydration levels for an easier training session.

Low blood sugar

Low blood sugar can be a major contributor to feeling exhausted during morning workouts. Upon rising in the morning, your blood sugar levels are at their lowest point due to fasting throughout the night. This lack of fuel can make it difficult to find the energy required to push through a challenging workout. Furthermore, since your body will be seeking fuel, your muscles may become fatigued faster since they are not getting enough sustenance from glucose.

In order to counteract low blood sugar and maximize your workouts, it is important to have an adequate pre-workout snack containing both carbohydrates and proteins an hour or two before exercise. This snack should be high enough in carbohydrates to provide you with energy for exercise but low enough in fats to prevent sluggishness afterwards. Additionally, having a regular pattern of eating throughout the day is key for maintaining blood glucose levels. To control cravings and give yourself more energy throughout the day, try eating smaller meals and snacks at regular intervals rather than larger meals less frequently; this will also ensure your glucose levels remain steady over time as well!

Psychological Effects

Working out in the morning often feels harder than it does at other times of the day. This is due to the psychological effects of morning workouts. Factors such as the body’s natural circadian rhythm, higher levels of stress hormones and lack of motivation can all make morning workouts seem more difficult. Let’s explore the psychological effects of morning workouts in more detail.

Lack of motivation

When it comes to exercise, setting and sticking to a routine can be a challenge. But why do some people find it so hard to motivate themselves in the morning? According to research, there are psychological and biological effects that can make it harder.

Psychologically, people may find it difficult to mentally prepare themselves for a morning routine because there are fewer distractions or other activities competing for their attention. There is also the expectation that they will have to wake up earlier than usual, which can be stressful or unpleasant. When they wake up they may feel groggy or fatigued, making the act of waking up extra challenging. The lack of enthusiasm is especially common when starting out on an unfamiliar fitness regimen or experiencing depressive symptoms like insomnia and fatigue.

On the biological level, our body’s ability to exercise is affected by its circadian rhythm (the physical process that regulates biological cycles). Natural hormones like melatonin and cortisol work together in the body to determine when we’re more alert and when we’re tired – something known as an “internal clock”. In the early hours of the morning our body may not be at its peak performance level due to decreased levels of hormones like testosterone (which helps muscle building). This affects energy levels, strength and endurance – all crucial components of physical activity.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of why workouts can be extra challenging in the morning. Not getting enough sleep directly affects a person’s energy levels and ability to focus, concentrate, and stay motivated during a workout. It can also lead to exhaustion and make workouts seem much more difficult than they would be if you were well-rested. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is especially important for those who plan on exercising in the morning. Without adequate rest, even regular or simple exercises may become harder to perform or complete. Moreover, poor sleep habits may cause high levels of fatigue that make pushing your body through an intense workout virtually impossible.


Stress is an important factor to consider when it comes to why morning workouts tend to be harder. Stress changes the body’s chemistry, which can make physical activities more difficult. A study from the University of California-Davis found that elevated levels of stress hormones can lead to reduced performance in physical activities. The study found that these hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, suppress the release of various neurotransmitters, which can make it difficult for muscles to work properly. This means that if you are feeling overly stressed or anxious before your workout, it could make exercising more challenging.

On top of this, lack of sleep or poor quality sleep also contribute to higher stress levels in the morning and make it harder to stay active throughout the day. Researchers have found that stress hormones increase when you get less than seven hours of sleep a night, making physical activity more challenging when paired with other lifestyle factors such as work or school demands. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels resulting from consistent stressors have been associated with difficulty sleeping at night, further contributing to fatigue and lower energy for morning workouts.

Strategies for Morning Workouts

Exercising in the morning can be a challenge, but it can also be beneficial to your health and wellbeing. When we wake up, we often find that our bodies are not fully awake and our minds can be foggy. That makes it more difficult to muster up the energy and willpower to stick to a workout routine. Still, it’s possible to make morning workouts work for you with the right strategies. Let’s explore some helpful tips for making your morning workouts less daunting.

Set realistic goals

When we set unrealistic goals for our morning workouts, it can make it difficult to maintain a consistent routine. It is important to know your own capabilities and limitations before you start. Establish a manageable routine that works within your abilities. For example, instead of trying to complete a marathon running session, you may start with an easy 15-minute jog and gradually increase the duration over time.

It is also beneficial to create a schedule to help you stay on track. A clear goal plan and timeline of activities can make all the difference when it comes to successful morning workouts. You can also reward yourself for reaching fitness milestones or completing extra challenging workouts. This will help keep you motivated and committed to reaching your morning fitness goals!

Prepare the night before

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to work out early in the morning, especially if you’re used to working out at night. To make it easier, it is essential to plan and prepare the night before — this helps ensure a successful workout. Before bed, lay out your workout gear and breakfast items so that you can get dressed quickly and easily in the morning. Ensure that your clothes are comfortable for exercising in and are appropriate for the weather. To maximize energy levels, it is best to eat a healthy snack such as grains or fruits an hour before working out; doing so will give you enough energy for a good workout session. Additionally, having all items laid out ahead of time allows you to save time in the morning since you do not need to waste extra time searching for things. Preparing everything beforehand gives you a better chance of success when it comes to sticking with your morning workout plan.

Listen to music

When it comes to motivating yourself to wake up early and exercise, listening to music can be just the trick. Music has been found to be one of the most powerful tools in motivating a person, making them more likely to stick with an exercise routine. This makes sense as music is a great way to uplift your mood, increase energy levels and forget about any morning stresses or strains. Scientific studies have found that listening to upbeat music can have effects similar to those of stimulants such as caffeine or drugs and ultimately give you the spark you need for a successful morning workout.

Moreover, it helps your body go through the motions of a workout without being distracted by outside influencers that could otherwise throw you off course. The repetition of physical motion combined with an empowering playlist makes perfect combination for blasting away those stubborn fats! So next time you need an extra burst of energy for your morning workout session, put on some beats and energize yourself for success!

Benefits of Morning Workouts

Morning workouts can be an incredibly beneficial addition to anyone’s daily routine. Not only do they provide a great way to stay in shape and maintain an active lifestyle, but they can also have a positive effect on your mental and emotional well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the potential benefits of morning workouts.

Improved energy levels

The physical benefits of regular, early morning workouts are substantial. Aerobic exercise in particular has been shown to increase energy levels, allowing you to stay alert and focused throughout the day. Studies have also demonstrated that regular exercise helps to boost mood and reduce stress. As such, early morning workouts can help you face the day with more positive energy and attitude.

In addition to improved energy levels and mood, other advantages of working out in the morning include increased dopamine levels and improved cognitive function. While the effects of aerobic activity on cognition have only been studied in youth, similar findings can be expected in adults with regular exercise during any time of day. Furthermore, metabolism is at its best first thing in the morning due to higher glucose levels; thus working out shortly after waking may lead to more efficient calorie burning throughout the day.

Increased focus

A morning workout can greatly improve your focus for the rest of the day. Scientists believe this is due to a variety of reasons, including increased oxygen levels in the blood and a boost of dopamine released from physical activity. Doing a challenging workout first thing in the morning can give you an edge, as your brain and body are using the available energy in the most efficient way possible before you tackle anything else. Additionally, many people report getting better sleep when they work out earlier in the day, which may be related to higher metabolism that comes with exercise. Research has shown that those who exercise in the morning have been able to concentrate longer on tasks than those who do not. Improved focus at work or school can help you accomplish more tasks with better results and ultimately make your life easier.

Improved mood

One of the key benefits to morning workouts is an improved mood and overall sense of wellbeing. Working out releases feel-good hormones including endorphins that have a positive effect on mood. Additionally, getting physical activity in the early part of your day means that you are not carrying around excess stress throughout the day, which leads to fewer feelings of anxiety.

Morning workouts can also provide improved focus and concentration. This makes it easier to tackle tasks during the day without feeling overwhelmed or distracted by anxieties or worries from home or work. Studies show that people who start the day with exercise experience better performance throughout their day compared to those who skip morning physical activity and rush into stressful daily activities without taking time for yourself first.

Finally, beginning your mornings with physical activity helps to build healthier habits related to diet and nutrition, since working out is often more energizing than overeating pre-work breakfast foods like pastries or sugary cereals that give a short-term surge but then leave you feeling sluggish afterwards.

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