Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Morning Workout

Let's talk about morning workouts for a minute, shall we?  There has been much talk stemming about this topic lately, and I wanted to chime in with my sense and opinion on the ever so unpopular "crack of dawn" workout. 

Now, most of you know I am a fan.  Actually, I'm kind of abnormal when it comes to exercising in the morning, because most people would consider my time to be more like "late night" rather than "early morning."  Every day, at 4:15am, my alarm goes off and I'm out the door.  I'm always done by 5:30am and ready to tackle the day. 

So I see that most people would think that 4am is ridiculously early to be working out, but to me, it's the perfect time.  My body functions really well at this time for some reason. I've tired running after work or in the evenings, and I have a significantly more difficult time.  I really love the time by myself each day and I've actually come to the point where I need this "me time."  I don't get to see Toly that much as it is, so I wouldn't want to spend hours working out after work and the extra hour when he is sleeping each morning allows me to have the best of both worlds.  Obviously, I didn't just wake up yesterday and start this routine.  I've been practicing this schedule for years and I've conditioned myself to the point where my body just expects it.  I really don't have trouble waking up or moving at this time. 

So here are my tips for mastering the morning workout. 
  1. Get plenty of sleep!!! I am in bed by 8:30-9:00.  Yes, I know it's a bit geriatric to go to bed when the sun is still up, but if you plan to be up early, make sure you are not cutting out sleep. 
  2. If you are not able to eat something first thing in the morning, make sure you are fueling before you go to bed.  I can not bring myself to eat anything so early, so I've learned that if I eat something right before bed, it gives me the right amount of fuel I need to get through my workout. It's usually a good balance of carbs and protein, like cereal, fruit and yogurt, or an apple with PB. 
  3. Lay out your workout clothes the night before.  Make sure everything is ready to go so you are not wasting time.  I have my clothes, my garmin, and my shoes laid out in my bathroom and it takes me about 3 min to get dressed and out the door. 
  4. Start slow.  Don't expect to wake up and have the best workout of your life if you are not a morning person.  It takes time for your body to adjust to perform at its optimum capacity and when we change our environment, our bodies need time to recognize the change and readjust. 
  5. Lastly, ALWAYS refuel with a good balance of protein, carbs and healthy fat afterwards. Example….

1/4 Cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Applesauce, Carmel Oikos, Apple, Almond Butter, Flax, Granola Sprinkle 

I also ate this gigantic grapefruit.  I intended to only eat 1/2 and save the other for tomorrow, but when I cut into it, it just looked so good and I couldn't bring myself not to eat it all. 

I had to run home for lunch to grab some things to take back to the office.  I didn't have a chance to go to the store this week, so our groceries are limited.  Luckily, I had one of my favorite standbys in the freezer. 

Amy's Spinach Pocket.  I really don't like frozen meals but this one I love.  

I also decided to crack open some of my latest TJ's buys. 

All together….

So the pita puffs were just okay.  I'm really not a cracker/chip kind of girl, so I wasn't too impressed.  They didn't really have much of a taste to be honest.  Stacey's pita chips are much better!  Oh well, Sammy ended up getting most of them. 

The hummus, however, was delicious.  I was especially fond of the Tomato Basil Hummus Dip.  

When I got home from work, I did a quick 20 min ET interval sesh followed by 20 min of pilates/yoga abs. 

Dinner featured one of my favorite forms of vegan protein…Tempeh! 

I was trying to explain tempeh to some of my coworkers today.  I guess when you explain what it really is, it doesn't sound all that appealing.  Tempeh is basically fermented soy beans through a natural culturing process. If you've never had it before, the taste is way different than tofu so don't be fooled.  It's nutty and dense and has a distinct flavor unlike plain tofu. I actually like it raw, but many people prefer to cooked to eliminate some of the complex bitterness.  The nutritional value of this grain is also pretty impression.  High in digestible protein and beneficial bacterials such as B12. 

More highlight ingredients of tonight's dinner…

The very first product of this year's garden!!!  Yes, she may be small, but I'm darn proud!! 

And Kale that was ready to be harvested.  Nothing makes me more ecstatic than growing my own veggies! 

I made a recipe from The Eat Drink and Be Vegan cookbook that I have made many times. 

Sweet and Sour Chipotle Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes

There are so many good recipes in this cookbook but yet I've only ever made this one.  I just love it so much that I can't bring myself to stray. 

Another TJ product.

Okay, quick side note.  Does anyone know how to pronounce Quinoa or could you help me????  I seriously have NO IDEA how this is pronounced or even sounds.  

The Quinoa was paired with some steamed Kale and served with the sweet and sour tempeh. 


So there you have it, I workout in the morning so that I have more time to devote to the important things like dinner. Truly, I think it's all about what works best for you and your body and your schedule.  So long as you make exercise a vital part of your life, you will ALWAYS find time to fit it in!  



  1. I agree. Why do you work out twice a day? Is everything okay Lauren?

  2. Everything is fine. I will address this more in tomorrow's post.

  3. Um-ignore anonymous. Anonymous- if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. If you have an opinion, don't comment anon

    Anyways...moving on! I love morning workouts as well. I love having the afternoons free to really cook up a nice dinner. So many great TJs products in this post. I so wish we lived near one. Their hummus is AWESOME!

    Enjoy the rest of your week

  4. You are a champ for doing such long runs in the morning. I think I maybe roll over at 4:15am! To each their own and I'm glad you've found a routine that works for you.

    Quinoa is pronounced KEEN-WAH. Hope that you're doing well!

  5. Quinoa is pronounced "keen-wah." A few different brands will label the pronunciation on their products. I work at a gluten-free market, and most customers have NO idea how to say it right. We hear all sorts of interesting variations. :)

  6. Thanks guys!!! So happy I know how to say it now! :)

  7. I need to get to TJ's, I want those pita puffs that I've been seeing everywhere!


  8. Great tips!! I've gotten into the groove of working out early, and it's so important to get SLEEP the night makes it ten times harder if you're sleep deprived!! Hope you're having a wonderful night!

  9. I thought I was getting up early at 5:00, but you're finished your workout by the time I get out the door at 5:30! :)

    Great tips!

  10. Aww you didn't like the pita puffs? I couldn't stop popping them in my mouth yesterday. I love that they're like popcorn but taste like pita...?

    I got really good at morning workouts and then school ended and now I wake up and delay and delay and delay to no end.

  11. I am a huge morning workout person - or at least I used to be. I remember people thinking I was crazy for getting up at 4:30 but I LOVE the feeling that I've gotten a jump on the day while everyone else is still sleeping! It's invigorating!

  12. that dinner looks great! And thanks for your tips on the AM workouts. I do like running MUCH better in the morning, but it's tough for us since we can only go outside so the weather makes a big difference.

  13. Thanks for the tips! I just started working out in the morning this week, since it was too hot to run during lunch or after work. I agree, it's really nice to have that time to myself in the morning. Plus, it's so nice to come home from work and be able to relax instead of having to go work out. I'm also faster in the cooler mornings! I still like my lunch time workouts sometimes, though. They break up the day well.

  14. I too am a morning workout person. I like to get it done and get on with my day!

    Your tempeh dinner looks delicious!

  15. This is my first time commenting, but I read your blog every day and love it! I have been trying for so long to get my workouts done in the morning but it is so hard for me. I just disabled the snooze button on my alarm today, so tomorrow will the the test :) Thanks for the tips though, very helpful!

  16. Your tips are awesome!!! That's so sweet that you think of spending more time with Toly :D I'm the same way with my family, friends, and my little Matilda.

    I love your garden harvest! My parents are growing some delicious things as well, and it's so satisfying know that you grew that yourself. Plus it's better for the environment and anything that can make a person more self-sufficient is cool!

    Your dinner looks sooo fabulous! I wish you could come down here and enjoy the yummy things me and my family have been eating. I know you would love it :D And we'd love your cooking as well--oh my gosh. Heck, I've even forwarded some of your recipes to my parents hehehe.


    p.s. it's pronounced "keen-wah"

  17. ugh. i want your energy in the morning. PLEASE?!

  18. oh and i used to call it kwi-no-ah! but now i know better.. and still say it wrong in my head!

  19. Those are great advices, but my idea of an AM workout is more like 9am...hee hee. 4am....ah, I think my body will go in shock for waking up before the sun rises!

  20. I love those tips! And they are so so true! Plus you have to be determined. You can't get up early if you don't go to bed early. You have to get that butt in bed! :D

    I don't understand when people freak over two workouts. Most people I know are two a day people including myself!

    I can't say keen-WAH it sounds so wrong and doesn't flow well for me. I say Quinn-OH-AH and just expect people to accept it. Ha!

  21. When I was training for my first half, I was going to bed around 9 every night so I could get up in the morning- at 4:30- and run. Ari was on tour during that time so I didn't have to worry about waking him up (or being jealous he was still sleeping), and it was great to get it out of the way. Now... it's 6 PM and I'm just getting ready to go.