I work out in the late afternoon. Many advocate an early-morning workout since distractions may be fewer, but late afternoon works for me. And it turns out that I may have inadvertently stumbled onto the most effective workout time!
- Better sleep when working out later. Studies have shown that those who lift weights later have better sleep than those who exercise earlier.
- Those who work out later have more muscle growth and better endurance.
- A study in Journal of Strength Conditioning Research found that those who exercise later lowered their blood pressure by 15% more than those who work out earlier.
- A study from The New England University of Birmingham found that those who work out in the evening can go 20 percent longer and at a higher intensity. So, more calories burned!
- Your body will be ready to work out later in the day! Studies have found that cortisol levels (which inhibit muscle growth) are higher in the morning, but testosterone levels (which boost muscle growth) are higher in the evening.
So, I’ve been on the right track all along.
But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t work out if the best time for you is the morning. Any workout is better than none!
7 early morning things to jump-start your weight-loss journey:
1. Get plenty of sleep! You’ll be full of energy, which will help you stay on track. If you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for whatever’s easiest, like those chocolate chip cookies.
2. Catch some rays – just a bit. Sunshine helps increase your energy level which boosts your metabolism. Don’t lie in the sun, just lift your face to the sunshine as you walk to your car. And when you reach your destination, do it again. It’ll lift your spirits and boost your metabolism.
3. Eat protein – lean protein also helps boost your metabolism! Egg whites are great for breakfast.
4. Drink water with your breakfast (after coffee…) more water helps fight bloat!
5. Pack snacks – pack healthy snacks for your day. A few almonds, celery or carrot sticks will help you avoid the vending machine. 10 almonds are just as satisfying as a fun-size candy bar – and much healthier. A little thought saves a trip to the vending machine!
6. Get moving – try to fit in 20 minutes of exercise early – another metabolism booster! And just think how virtuous you’ll feel, having exercised before work. You’ll even have more energy before lunch.
7. Walk part of the way to work. Add to your exercise regime! And take a flight or two of stairs instead of the elevator the entire way.
I sometimes have trouble falling asleep. Not like my dogs – they can take a nap anywhere, anytime. No matter what’s going on around them, and especially after some intense physical activity, Booker and Tango are out.
Not me. Even if I’ve had a busy day – one that’s productive and full of exercise, I still have trouble falling asleep. I know that a good night’s sleep is important for good health, but that doesn’t help me fall asleep.
Many people swear by this breathing method to help fall asleep:
Called the 4 – 7 – 8 Method, it’s been proposed by Dr. Andrew Weil as the body’s natural tranquilizer. (Sounds exactly like what I need.) Dr. Weil maintains that this method will help relax you when you’re feeling stressed, or help you fight off that sugar craving that hits at about 3:00 in the afternoon.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat three more times for a total of four cycles.
It’s worth a try, right?
When you’re on vacation, be on vacation! I’m writing this in the beautiful Florida Keys. Right on the water, watching the boats and the sea birds. This is a working vacation for me, but I plan to make the most of my hours off.
It’s much too easy for my mind to go a million miles an hour, thinking about things I have to do, worry about things that might happen, what’s planned for the hours to come. I’m a big worrier – mostly about things I have no control over.
This time, though, I have resolved to focus on the now. What I have to do right now. Not about tomorrow or next week. I know that there is no sense in worrying about things I cannot control, and I will do my best to stop that as soon as I feel the worry starting. Just breathe and focus on the task at hand.
To help me, I have also resolved to plan my goals and outline the steps that must be taken to accomplish them. That way, when I start to worry about the future, I will focus on the goals I’ve set and the fact that the task I’m working on is a step in that direction.
But during those off-hours, I plan to breathe and enjoy what’s around me.