Sometimes a new schedule is all that’s needed to get back into a workout plan that’s become stale.
I talked with Trainer Steve Lopes, Mr. Early-Morning Boot Camp himself, to hear his perspective on morning workouts.
Kristi: You teach two early morning classes (Boot Camp and Triple Fusion). How did you become the “early morning trainer” at the club? What do you do to motivate yourself and prepare for getting up and active so early in the morning?
Steve: I was not always an “early morning person” as Sam would definitely tell you, but one morning as with most changes I have made in my life, I woke up and said: “Why not?”
The rest is history.
Having hired me at Bally’s 3 1/2 years earlier, Sam was looking to fill a 6am class slot that was previously used for yoga and he knew that my very successful bootcamp classes at Bally’s, which were held at 9:30am, would be a good change and a way to meet more members.
However, I had some concerns that Midtown members might not like the new trainer replacing a 6am yoga class with whistles and loud music. But, as has been the case once or twice before, Sam was right. It was a great way for me to start at the club.
Motivating and preparing myself just required a mindset. You just have to tell yourself to do it. Why? Because it’s what you have to do. Don’t give yourself excuses as to why you can’t.
Kristi: What advice would you give to someone who wants to switch their daily workouts to early mornings? What are the benefits of an early morning workout schedule?
Steve: Don’t spend a month trying to plan. There’s no need to wait until next Monday for the new week to begin. Do it tomorrow and the next day. You will find you are at the top of your game at a much earlier point in the day and you will most likely be in a better mood by the time you get to work. The best part? It’s done and off of your to-do list. You just took a “Maybe I will do it,” and made a lifestyle change that will stop you from that 3:30pm feeling of, “Oh yeah, I still have to go to the gym.”
The benefits are plenty. It’s done and out of the way. The club is not as busy as the 4:30-7:00 pm time slot. “Morning tired” is different from “Nighttime tired,” and instead of trying to find energy, you are creating the energy for your day. You may find yourself sleeping better at night, and not having to wait for the workout high to wear off in order to sleep. These may not be concerns for everyone, but for some it could be the change your body needs.
Kristi: What’s your nightly ritual to prepare for early wakeup calls? What time do you actually get up?
Steve: My nightly ritual may not be the recommended way to go, as I usually work until 10 or 11pm. But I try to be in bed by 11:30pm. I read a lot, lay my clothes out and put my breakfast together, have a tea of some sort, and then fall asleep to the sounds of a thunderstorm on my noise maker. I wake up between 3:45 and 4:15am, stretch, get dressed, check email, eat, and go. I am a fast mover so I am usually ready to go in 10 minutes. This is what I have been doing for quite some time so it comes fairly easy to me.
Kristi: Would you advice those working out so early to eat before they work out or after?
Steve: I would recommend before andafter. In the morning after “most people” sleep 5 hours or more, the body is in a rested state. There is a common belief that after a night’s rest, the body during the waking process and progression into your day tends to be catabolic. This means that the body is trying to break down muscle tissue as well as body fat in order to get fuel.
Another belief is that you should eat for what you are going to do, not what you have done. These two ideas do make sense, if you think about the thermogenic process. If your body has been resting for a long period of time, it needs to be warmed up before it is started. Think about a car. You need to warm it up in order to get the motor ready for where it’s going and for heat. You also have to have gas in order to get you from point A to B. You probably wouldn’t jump in your car and immediately take off on a 5-degree day. Andhow far would you expect to go with no fuel in the tank as you attempt to go from point A to point B?
Kristi: Is the club less crowded at 5 or 6am? What’s the atmosphere like then, and how is it different than other times of day?
Steve: The club has a surprising amount of people coming in between 5 and 6am. To get up and out of the house this early on cold winter mornings shows dedication to health. It isn’t quite as busy as it is 12 hrs later, but there are a good amount of people here. Between yoga, spinning, bootcamp, pilates, and tennis classes, there are a lot of options if your brain isn’t ready to navigate you through your own workout. The club has a nice flow with a bit of quiet and focus as people are making the most of their pre-workday workout.
It’s a great idea to get it done early, and there is nothing better during the spring and summer than walking out to your car, breathing in deeply, and heading to the club for a kickoff to a productive day.