Don't start your day hating life. Launch yourself out the door and get your blood flowing with these morning workouts!
Mornings are, to put it bluntly, hell for some of us. The sound of the alarm clock violently ringing in our ears rips us out of rest and puts us instantly in a bad mood. Worst of all, we're completely aware of being in a bad mood, but believe we're powerless to stop it. We have to wait until the mood burns off and hope we don't do anything we'll regret later.
It probably shouldn't be this way. After all, the way you wake up in the morning affects the rest of your day—diet and training included. If you start out on the wrong side of the bed, you're more likely to hit up the fridge and dominate that cheesecake you've been saving up for your re-feed, or post ill-advised rants on Facebook, maybe half-ass your grooming, and end up having to cut your gym time because you're running late. A bad morning becomes a bad day.
Although it might feel like a curse, you're not doomed to be either a "morning person" or a morning troll. There is a way you can wake up better, improve your mood, boost your metabolism, prime your body to build muscle and shred fat, and walk out the door feeling energized. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes. And yes, I do accept cash, thank you very much.
On second thought, I'll teach you how to do for free, in the hopes that the world will be a happier and more awesome place. Or at least to decrease the chances that I might have to bear the brunt of your morning misery in the future.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to neural morning primers.
Neural What-ing What-ers?
The concept of a neural morning primer (NMP) is simple. It's a small 5-10 minute circuit-style bodyweight workout that's programmed strategically to wake up your nervous system, get the blood flowing, kick your hormones into overdrive, and introduce a massive amount of oxygen to your body, thereby shooting your brain into productivity mode.
I've been prescribing these for clients for the last five years or so, but I don't claim to have invented them. The concept has many other names and has been used since the dawn of bodybuilding. If you've read Arnold's recent book Total Recall you'll find a couple of pages inside describing his morning routines, along with the other Olympians. John Romaniello has advocated something similar, calling them "neural wakeup calls," and others trainers have used different names. And if you check with the yoga folks, you'll find many who utilize sun salutation routines right after leaving bed.
No matter the name, the benefits are real. Since the NMP is to be performed the second you pull your ass out of bed, you're working out under a fasted state. This, in turn, will spur your human growth hormone secretion and improve your insulin sensitivity.
Also, due to NMP's brevity, intensity, and flexibility demands, they loosen the body and provoke endorphin production (the feel-good chemical in your brain). In other words, you'll walk out the door feeling awesomely awesome, like you're the sexiest piece of meat on the planet.
So how can you build a successful NMP routine? Having tested them on many clients over the years, I've crafted these of guidelines to help you build your perfect routine.
It Has to be Performed Immediately Upon Waking Up
This one has to do more with habit than anything. You create the expectation that your body has to perform the second it wakes up. It may resist at first, but with practice it'll fall in line.
I hear you whining. "But seriously: right when I wake up?" Of course you can go pee and drink a glass of water, but that's it. You'll save yourself some spilled coffee and burnt eggs if you start off your day with a quick workout rather than, say, watching cartoons.