When do you like to hit the gym? Are you a morning workout person, or do you prefer to move later in the day? Most people have different methods for when they like to work out. Some people have no problem waking up for an early morning workout – others don’t like to move an inch until after lunch! Regardless of people’s opinions on the best time to work out, it’s hard to argue with the fact that morning workouts are incredibly convenient. Fitting a workout in before your day starts ensures that you’re making time for it. It also protects you from making excuses later in the day, feeling too tired to exercise, or getting too busy!
Don’t think you’re a morning person? To that we answer, try this workout! We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the experience of working out first thing in the morning, and making the change will only get easier after a few weeks. To sweeten the deal, check out the below information on the benefits of working out in the AM.
- Improved mood: Studies have shown that physical activity releases endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in the body and relieving stress for hours following exercise. After a morning workout, you’ll be in high spirits all day!
- Increased energy and brain capability: Here’s some awesome information for you: It’s been shown in studies that exercising increases oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles, organs, and tissues allowing you to be more alert and energetic post-workout, which means working out in the morning can benefit your body AND mind! Tell your workday to bring it on!
- Fewer excuses: You don’t need a medical study to tell you that by getting your workout in in the morning, you’re less likely to make excuses to skip exercise after work. You’ll have more time to engage in other activities you enjoy, and you’ll know that you got a great workout in, too.
- Burning fat: Researchers at the University of Copenhagen who studied mice found factual evidence that morning workouts were more effective at burning sugar and fat. If that aligns with your health goals, you’re going to love this morning workout!
One piece of information that most of us can agree on is that we want our workouts to be like the meals we cook—fast, fun, convenient, and good for us. Especially when they’re in the morning and we’re losing extra time in bed! Luckily, workouts are similar to recipes. We can add, subtract, or adjust them to fit our needs. For example, with this circuit training workout, you can perform as many rounds as you have time for. You can also adjust the moves for your own fitness level. Whether you have a busy schedule or you are just a morning person, this workout will start your day off right!
This 30-minute workout is aimed at familiarizing you with some of your many options at the gym. While all workouts are great workouts, we chose a circuit training workout because circuit training is a great way to work your whole body in a short period of time. You should never have to make the choice between sleep and a workout, so we want to help you max out on sleep, and at the gym. This 30-minute workout is guaranteed to get your entire body moving, burn calories, and make sure you’re wide awake to take on your day. With a mix of weight training, cardio and minimal rest, it’s guaranteed to burn calories and make you sweat. Give it a try and let us know what you think – after a few weeks, we’re sure you’ll be a morning person, and more in shape!
Top-to-Bottom Circuit Workout Instructions
For this workout, you’ll just need a set of dumbbells, a bench and a medicine ball. We recommend gathering your dumbbells, finding a bench and setting up a small floor station for yourself in the gym. If you’re new to circuit workouts, start with lighter weights for the first circuit and see how you feel. If you’re doing this with home equipment instead of in the gym, you can use something with a similar shape to a bench, like a chair or table that’s low to the ground.
After you warm up, you’ll perform all of the moves in the circuit in order, then repeat two more times. Rather than reps, you’ll perform each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 before moving on to the next exercise. You can think of each exercise as a station, and think of yourself as moving from one station to the next. Take a short break of 30-60 seconds between each round, then jump back in. If you have less time for your gym session but want to make sure you complete three rounds of the circuit, you can just take the 15-second break in between circuits.
You’ll do three minutes of light cardio to get your body warmed up. This can be your choice of either fast walking or light jogging on the treadmill. Most of the moves in this full body workout are geared towards weight training and resistance exercises, so enjoy the cardio while it lasts!
Full Body Workout
Shoulders – Shoulder Press
- You can perform this move with a machine or with dumbbells.
- To start, hold the weights or machine handles above your shoulders, with your palms facing up towards the ceiling and your elbows out to your sides.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor, and push the weight up toward the ceiling and over your head until your arms are completely extended.
- Then, bring the weights back down toward your chest. This is a great strength training move for your upper body!
Perform as many reps as you can in 45 seconds. One thing to keep in mind is to press your shoulder blades towards your spine for proper form.
Biceps – Preacher Curls
Preacher curls are similar to bicep curls, except they don’t allow for any swinging at the bottom of the movement, so they really make that muscle group work! If you’re doing this workout at home and don’t have the proper equipment, standing bicep curls are a solid replacement.
- Stand on the floor with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a dumbbell or other free weight in each hand.
- Fully extend your elbow at the bottom of the movement, then fully bend your elbow when you bring the weight in towards your torso.
- Focus on your biceps – while this is technically an upper body movement, its goal is to strengthen just your biceps, rather than different muscle groups.
Triceps – Triceps Dips
You’ll just need a bench and a spot on the floor for this awesome strength training move! Along with push-ups, tricep dips are one of the most effective ways to get a workout using just your bodyweight. If you’re at home, you can do this move with a chair or low table, like a coffee table or ottoman.
- To start, sit on the bench with your feet on the floor.
- Place your palms on the bench behind you and extend your feet out in front of you, until your hips come off the bench.
- Keep your legs straight, and use your arms to lower your hips toward the floor.
- You should aim to have your elbows at 90-degree angles at the bottom of the movement.
- Then, use your arms to push your hips up towards the ceiling and away from the ground. Perform as many reps as you can in 45 seconds. These can be challenging, so give your arms a rest between reps if you need to.
Core – Abdominal Crunch Bench
Looking for a way to level up your traditional crunches? Try a crunch on a bench! If your gym doesn’t have this equipment or you’re working out at home, you can do regular crunches with a mat on the floor. We recommend holding a weight above your head for extra resistance. No need to get crazy – under five lbs will do the trick, and provide plenty of extra challenge for your abs while protecting your head and neck.
Core – Jack Knife
If you’ve ever worked with a personal trainer who had you use an exercise ball, you know they can add lots of intensity and resistance to a workout! The same goes for this jackknife core movement. It will challenge your balance and work the major muscle groups in your core, torso and lower body. It’s an awesome full-body move that’s sure to bring the burn in this 30-minute workout!
- To perform this move, begin in the high plank position, with your hands on the floor and your calves resting on top of an exercise ball (anywhere between your knees and your ankles is fine).
- Using your core strength, lift your hips and pull the exercise ball in towards your chest.
- Your knees should be tucked as far as possible under your chest, but your arms and chest should still be in the high plank position.
- Then, push the ball back out, keeping your right knee and left knee even with each other.
That completes one rep. Keep your spine even as you perform these – don’t let your torso roll from side to side. This is an awesome lower body exercise, upper body exercise, core exercise – okay, it’s just a great exercise all around!
Glutes – Dumbbell Squats
Dumbbell squats are exactly what they sound like.
- Grab two dumbbells or free weights like kettlebells and hold them at your sides.
- Keeping your arms straight down at your sides, drop into a squat, and lift back up.
- Try to keep your spine straight and your shoulder blades pressed together, so that you aren’t bending over or to the side with the weights.
- Make sure your right knee never goes in front of the toes on your right foot, and the same goes for your left knee and toes.
- You can level up the intensity of this movement by increasing the weight or using a resistance band around your thighs, but never add so much intensity that it compromises good form!
Quads- Lunge Jumps
Ready to burn major calories while building muscle in your legs? We have a move for you, and you don’t even need to use weights! While lunge jumps use the same motion as regular jumps, they involve more cardio, and you stay in one spot on the ground.
- You’ll start in a lunge position with your right leg in front of you and your left leg back.
- Push off your right foot, jump in the air, and switch legs beneath you, so that you land with your right leg behind you and your left leg in front.
- Make sure you’re balanced on your right foot and front knee, then jump up to switch legs again.
This move will seriously challenge your endurance and test your cardiovascular fitness, so it’s okay if you need to pause for a few deep breaths or switch to regular lunges for a few reps. After a few weeks of practice, you’ll be lunge jumping like nobody’s business!
Calves – Dumbbell Calf Raises
Calf raises are one of those exercises that makes you sweat with just a few inches of movement!
- Start in a seated position with your feet hip-width apart on the ground.
- Hold two dumbbells in your hands, and position them on your knees so that the head of the dumbbell rests on top of your knee.
- Play close attention to the dumbbells to make sure they stay put!
- With your spine straight and chest back, push up against the weight and lift up your heels off the ground.
- Lower them back to the ground and repeat for as many reps as you can. It’ll just be a few inches, but you’ll definitely start to feel the burn of this exercise! Think of the reps as mini push-ups, but for your calves!
Our advice? Never skip a warm-up or a cool down. Rest for a bit and save a few minutes at the end of your workout to stretch, let your body and mind calm down, and take a few deep breaths. You crushed it!