T Nation

Morning Workouts

Just wanted to run this by some of you to see what you have to say.

For the past year I have been getting up at 5am to workout, but recently I feel that it is the problem that injures me (i.e. back problems). After I workout I sometimes will do some cardio. The mornings are the best time for me to workout due to scheduling.

So the questions is: what do you think of doing cardio at 5am then eat breakfast then lift an hour later.Will this help to lessin the injury factor?

I wouldn’t do cardio before lifting, even if there’s one hour and breakfast in between.

Why don’t you do cardio on the days you don’t lift? As for lifting, why don’t you get up at 5am, have breakfast, hang around on T-Nation for 1 hour, and then go lift?

Kal-el,
I’m pretty sure one of the authors here recommended NOT working out first thing in the morning.

Something about yourspine stretching or relaxing during the night while you sleep.

Hope it helps.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:
Just wanted to run this by some of you to see what you have to say.

For the past year I have been getting up at 5am to workout, but recently I feel that it is the problem that injures me (i.e. back problems). After I workout I sometimes will do some cardio. The mornings are the best time for me to workout due to scheduling.
So the questions is… what do you think of doing cardio at 5am then eat breakfast then lift an hour later.Will this help to lessin the injury factor?[/quote]

Kal-El,

It’s tough to answer your question one way or another as it is unclear as to how you are incurring your injury.

One thing to note is if you are training immediately after waking, you need to take extra care in warming up your lower back. While the majority of your body requires very little exertion to warm up, your spinal column is an exception. It requires additional active stretching and stimulation to adequately prepare itself for major compound activities like squats and deadlifts.

What I would recommend is to shift those workouts that contain those compound lifts that are susceptible to lower-back injury to evening workouts while keeping other’s as is. That, or take a look at Magnificant Mobility for movements to help prepare the body for those movements. Just ensure that you take the time to prepare yourself.

Hope that helps.

Sasha

I wake-up at 4:30 and am at the gym by 5am.On squat and dl days I’ll start with some back extensions and good mornings before I do anything else

I wake up at 3:30 and start the workout at 5:00. (The gym is 35 miles away.) That’s time to eat, stretch, get dressed and pack the car, drive the 35 miles. By that time I’m pretty warmed up and ready to work out.

It’s not the 5:00 a.m. workout; it’s how long you’ve been up before that.

I have a question/comment. Due to my schedule. I have to lift in the mornings on one week (around 7:30 am) and in the evenings (around 5:30) the next. I’ve noticed I’m much stronger in the afternoon than I am in the morning. Anyone know why that is?

[quote]shamethedebil wrote:
I’ve noticed I’m much stronger in the afternoon than I am in the morning. Anyone know why that is?[/quote]

More warmed up and “caloried up” in the evening, perhaps?
Maybe too tired in the morning to give it your all?
Could also be the atmosphere in the gym: maybe there are more lifters around in the evening who create a good environment.

I’m up at 4:30 and in the gym (my basement) by 5. I do a lot of stretching, especially my back, prior to starting with the weights. I do a few sets with very light weights on squats and deadlifts prior to really starting my workout on those respective days.

As another poster says, a few sets of good mornings are great. I figure there must be some reason they call them good mornings.

This isn’t directly related to the OP, but you guys have inspired me. I have been trying and often times failing to get up at 6am to lift.

I now realize that my excuses of working full time and being a full-time student aren’t valid. Waking up at 3:30 or 4? Working out at 5? That’s impressive. What times to you guys actually go to bed. I think that’s where my problem lies. I get up at 6am and sometimes not feel like working out. But I usually don’t get to bed till 1 am.

I go to bed about 9:30 PM, get up at 4:30 AM. Sleep more on the weekends.

To revamp my original post. The reason I am wanting to do cardio in the A.M. is due to the fact that I am attempting to lose fat. I figure that by doing some light cardio (i.e. walking on treadmill @ 3.5mph for 35-45 min.) before breakfast would help with fat lose. And then wait a little after eating breakfast to go lift.

This should be enough time for my body to recharge enough energy to lift. At the moment I am only doing upper body movements due to the lower back issue.

In his book “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” Dr. Stuart McGill (‘the man’ when it comes to back pain imo) says that the spine is super-hydrated upon rising from bed and subject to much higher stresses during bending at this time. He recommends avoiding any bending exercises for the first hour after waking, which should allow the viscosity to dissipate from the spine.

As a fellow back pain sufferer I highly, highly recommend this book. It’s not the quickest read but it will take the guesswork out of training around low back injuries and could very well get you training low body exercises pain free. Fat loss is very tough when you can’t work half the muscles in your body due to injury.

[quote]TShaw wrote:
I wake up at 3:30 and start the workout at 5:00. (The gym is 35 miles away.) That’s time to eat, stretch, get dressed and pack the car, drive the 35 miles. By that time I’m pretty warmed up and ready to work out.

It’s not the 5:00 a.m. workout; it’s how long you’ve been up before that.[/quote]

I live in a major U.S. city and everything is very close. No long distance driving. Waking up at 3:30 am. and driving 35 miles to the gym to workout, is truly inspirational. Sir, I tip my cap to you. I really doubt many would do that.

[quote]kmanley wrote:
In his book “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” Dr. Stuart McGill (‘the man’ when it comes to back pain imo) says that the spine is super-hydrated upon rising from bed and subject to much higher stresses during bending at this time. He recommends avoiding any bending exercises for the first hour after waking, which should allow the viscosity to dissipate from the spine.

As a fellow back pain sufferer I highly, highly recommend this book. It’s not the quickest read but it will take the guesswork out of training around low back injuries and could very well get you training low body exercises pain free. Fat loss is very tough when you can’t work half the muscles in your body due to injury.

[/quote]

Thanks for the tip. I will pick that up today.

[quote]grappler wrote:
This isn’t directly related to the OP, but you guys have inspired me. I have been trying and often times failing to get up at 6am to lift.

I now realize that my excuses of working full time and being a full-time student aren’t valid. Waking up at 3:30 or 4? Working out at 5? That’s impressive. What times to you guys actually go to bed. I think that’s where my problem lies. I get up at 6am and sometimes not feel like working out. But I usually don’t get to bed till 1 am.[/quote]

No offense dude but if you know you have to get up at 6am,why the hell would you wait till 1am to go to sleep?

Now,to anwser your question about when we go to sleep,I go to sleep around 10-10:30.But I go lie down in my bed at 9pm and watch tv till I get sleepy.

And like the other guy said,you sleep late on weekends…

I set the alarms for 4:00AM and usually roll out of bed at 4:30AM. I eat breakfast and am usually at the gym by 5:15AM. I go through about a 15min. functional warmup which consists of light running (usually a couple lengths of the BB court) lunges, carioca, walking quad stretches, toy soldiers and other things. I then do a few very light warm up sets w/ squats or deadlifts before I get into the heavy stuff.

I know there was an article here by a Dr. that said you shouldn’t workout early morning b/c the potential for injury to the spine, but some of us have jobs that last all day and some of us have no choice but to workout early morning. My suggestion to you is get up in time to move around the house to loosen the back and then when you get to the gym make sure you are warming up properly before you begin working out. As for the cardio, do it after you finish your weight routine or do it later in the day. Maybe at lunch or after work.

There’s an article on here somewhere about this. Basically, you want to just kinda move around and settle into the day after you wake up for about an hour before you lift.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:
To revamp my original post. The reason I am wanting to do cardio in the A.M. is due to the fact that I am attempting to lose fat. I figure that by doing some light cardio (i.e. walking on treadmill @ 3.5mph for 35-45 min.) before breakfast would help with fat lose. And then wait a little after eating breakfast to go lift.

This should be enough time for my body to recharge enough energy to lift. At the moment I am only doing upper body movements due to the lower back issue.
[/quote]

Well first off, why are you doing fasted cardio? If you havent figured out by now that this is pretty pointless, then keep reading articles around here.

Secondly, adding an extra session on 30min of cardio, say, 5 days a week is going to help you burn about 1500 extra calories a week. That is less than half a pound. Would you rather drop an extra 200-300 calories from your diet or spend an extra 30mins on the treadmill?

Thirdly, if you have to workout in the morning because of scheduling, then do it. Yes, there is some truth that the spine as well as the CNS isnt prepared that close after waking to do your best lifting, but its by no means impossible. I lifted at 6am for months due to my schedule and found that I made my best results ever that way.

Dont sweat the details, just get in the the gym when you are able to bust your ass. Oh, and throw fasted cardio out the window.

Josh

[quote]EnTransit wrote:

Well first off, why are you doing fasted cardio? If you havent figured out by now that this is pretty pointless, then keep reading articles around here.

Secondly, adding an extra session on 30min of cardio, say, 5 days a week is going to help you burn about 1500 extra calories a week. That is less than half a pound. Would you rather drop an extra 200-300 calories from your diet or spend an extra 30mins on the treadmill?

Thirdly, if you have to workout in the morning because of scheduling, then do it. Yes, there is some truth that the spine as well as the CNS isnt prepared that close after waking to do your best lifting, but its by no means impossible. I lifted at 6am for months due to my schedule and found that I made my best results ever that way.

Dont sweat the details, just get in the the gym when you are able to bust your ass. Oh, and throw fasted cardio out the window.

Well how about just using the treadmill work to help loosen up my muscles?