According to strength coach and bodybuilder Tom Venuto, exercising first thing in the morning helps you burn more fat. After sleeping, your body is in a semi-fasted state, and its carbohydrate stores are depleted. Carbs are your body’s usual source of energy, so when they’re not available, your body burns fat tissue to fuel your workout instead. Provided you keep your running at a low-to-moderate intensity, your body will burn primarily fat for fuel.
Many runners often cite one benefit of running as stress relief — a long run on your own with no distractions can be a beneficial way to take your mind off the pressures of work and family life, and help you relax. Personal trainer Christian Finn advises that getting your cardio out of the way first thing in the morning gives you the feeling of being one step closer to your goals, and it helps you stay in a positive mood for the rest of the day.
Even the most dedicated exercisers often say they don’t have time to work out, and that work, family and social commitments can take precedence over training. If you often find yourself having to stay late at work or attend various social events in the evening, then training in the morning is a way to include exercise in your schedule.
Running can help you lose fat and improve your body composition, but exercise programs should also include resistance training to help build lean muscle and burn fat. Charles Poliquin, owner of the Poliquin Performance Center for elite athletes, says strength training is best done either three or 11 hours after you wake up, as this is when your strength levels are at their highest and your joints are most mobile. You can run early in the morning and do weight training later in the day.