Work Out in the Mornings? Here’s Why You Should Reevaluate

Happy Monday! I have to address the fact that I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging because I was working on a few behind-the-scenes things (like working with a friend on my *fancy* new logo and adding a few things to my site!!) – still a total work in progress but hey, we’re getting somewhere.

So I want to talk about a topic that I’ve thought a lot about over the past year or so: to work out in the mornings or in the evenings? Some of you probably think “as long as I’m working out, who cares!” but I’ve actually found that there can definitely be a difference between the two…

morning-run

Ah, the sound of your 5 a.m. alarm awakening you on a Tuesday morning to go sweat for an hour before the sun comes up. You rise from your bed, Sleeping Beauty style, stretch your arms and say to yourself “It’s going to be a lovely day!”. You put on your favorite lulu’s, your “Will Run for Wine” tank and your sneakers and you’re out the door by 5:45. Happy Tuesday to you!

Hold the phone.

If this is a realistic situation for you, we’ve got things to chat about. Who actually enjoys waking up early to make it to the gym or a workout class in time to sweat, shower, get ready and be at work on time in the middle of the week? Not me. And probably not you either, despite your latest Insta of the sunrise over your barre studio with the caption “Rise & Grind!”

Now, let me backtrack by saying that I 100% understand the Morning Workout Thing. As a matter of fact, I used to do the Morning Workout Thing. I would set my alarm for 5 a.m., make a cup of coffee, watch the news for a little bit (lol), get ready and be out the door by 5:45. It was, believe it or not, a pleasant little morning routine that I had for quite some time which left my evenings open for all the crazy weekday shenanigans I get into!! (Real Housewives and laundry, anyone?)

And then I realized something.

While I really do understand and believe in the benefits of getting your workout in first thing, I found that personally, I was half-assing my workouts. I was still so tired halfway through my workout and didn’t have the energy to push through 10 more minutes on the treadmill or one more set of squats. So I would leave my gym, go home to get ready and carry on with my day – often feeling kind of unaccomplished and blah about the work I just put in.

Granted, this was before I started going to workout classes as my main source of exercise and was just working out at my apartment gym, but even then, I’ve found that I just can’t give it my all that early in the morning. Sure, some may say it’s better than nothing, but if I’m going to take the time out of my day to work out, I want to get everything I can out of it.

Another aspect of the morning vs. evening workout conundrum is your mood. Que the “But you control your mood!” and “It’s your choice to be happy every morning!” comments, which I’m all for, but like – it’s HARD to “create your own happiness” when you wake up before the sun does. REAL TALK.

yoga-balls1

If you’ve seen me at a 6 a.m. spin class, you may or may not think I’m kinda bitchy – which I’m not, I’m just effing tired! Undereye bags and all, I probably don’t look like the most approachable human being at that ungodly hour of the morning. I also do not want to talk to Sheila about her love life or what she’s doing today after class is over. Sorry Sheila, it’s not you. I am just still kind of half asleep…

So I reevaluated my current workout sitch and started scheduling my workout classes after work and, so far, it’s working for me. There are plenty of days where I’m exhausted after a long work day, but I find that 5 minutes into class, I’ve usually found my energy to get through that hour. If I’ve got plans after work, I’ll definitely schedule my workout for the morning. Don’t start skipping your workouts after reading this post and say “Well Leighanne told me I was half-assing my morning workouts!” You still should make an effort to sweat at least three times a week to stay healthy. It’s all about what works best for you.

Again, this is not to say that you shouldn’t workout in the mornings – it’s to encourage you to take a minute to evaluate and make sure you’re getting all that you can out of your workout schedule! Because seriously, who has any time to waste these days?!

I want to hear from you! Do you work out in the mornings or evenings and why?

5 Must-Try Fitness Studios You’ll Love

As a big ClassPass enthusiast, I’ve tried my fair share of workout classes in the Atlanta area since my membership purchase back in March. If I haven’t talked your ear off about ClassPass yet, you can learn more about it here. For $79 a month (price changes by location), I have access to tons of boutique fitness studios that typically will run you at least $100 for a month of unlimited classes – and that limits you to ONE type of workout. I don’t know about you guys, but I need some serious variety in my exercise routine (and a sweaty, pump-me-up Spotify playlist) or I get soooo bored which leads to total lack of motivation. And flab. No one wants to be flabby. So whether you’re a part of this fast-growing fitness fad or just curious as to where you should try your next workout, I wanted to share a few of my absolute favorites.

BLAST

This hour long HIIT workout is definitely one of the hardest I’ve tried since joining ClassPass. I usually take the Wednesday class with Bri at 7:15 and it is definitely no joke. The class is designed with cardio (think treadmill sprints and lots of inclines) and resistance training portions. You work in “blocks”, switching off from the treadmill to the floor for each block and finish it all off with a much-needed stretching session.

Torq CTorqycle

While I don’t get there during the week very often, I love spending my Saturday mornings at Alex’s 60-minute ride. If you’re newer to spin, I’d recommend starting with the 45 minute classes and eventually trying out an hour. I was hesitant at first, but you’ll find that pushing yourself that last 15 minutes is much easier than you think – and you burn a decent amount of extra calories! Alex and his wife Katie, owners of the Westside boutique cycling studio are both so accommodating and encouraging and truly care about the experience their clients receive.

FORME Studios

I first took one of Donna’s classes when they were offered for free at Atlanta Activewear and immediately took to her energy, spirit and enthusiasm as an instructor. She recently opened her own studio in the Buckhead area and I was so excited to see FORME on the ClassPass roster. I love Barre Fusion but without a doubt, Cardio FORME is my favorite – probably out of all classes I’ve tried in Atlanta. It’s a dance-based, high intensity cardio and toning class that literally makes you feel like you’re in a Spice Girls video. Disclaimer: I have no rhythm. Like at all. But the moves are simple enough that even I can do them. By the end of class, you’re pretty much gasping for breath because you’ve worked so hard and I’d consider that a workout win in my book.

Pink Barre

While I do appreciate a good barre class, I usually find myself getting bored and wishing I was breaking a sweat. For me, working out “smarter” is a big thing I’m trying to focus on – spending my workout time in the most efficient way possible. That’s why I love Pink Barre. They offer Barre Cardio and Barre & (Kettle)Bells classes that work your entire body in an hour so that I feel accomplished (and very sweaty) when class is over.

Exhale (Avalon)

This studio, located in the posh Avalon development, is a great place to get a killer workout in. My favorite classes are Core Fusion Extreme with Kristin and Core Fusion Bootcamp with Malaika. Both are sooo good at what they do and are super sweet and encouraging – make no mistakes, they kick your butt though. Whenever I feel like giving up in class (which is fairly often – mountain climbers with the TRX whaaaat?!), they really come through with the motivation to push yourself a little further.

I hope that talking about my experience with these studios can help motivate you to try a new class this week. Let me know if there’s any other classes you’d like my opinion on – chances are, I’ve tried it. If there’s any you’ve been wanting to try but don’t want to go alone, let me know – would love to go with you!