Pros and Cons of Morning Cardio

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 • Mt Annan, AU

It goes without saying that performing cardiovascular workouts is extremely important for your overall health and well being. When it comes to burning fat and improving health, these exercises need to be well timed. Whether you’re working out in the morning, late evening or some other time, consistency is the key to a healthy body and mind. Regardless of your choices like jogging, walking, elliptical or running, if you’re able to sustain the speed and time, your body will burn fat, and your metabolic rate will be improved.


Pros of Morning Cardio


According to most experts, if you want to receive the maximum benefits from cardio, you should perform these exercises in the morning on an empty stomach since cardio timed in this manner can help you burn up to 20% more fat. A major advantage is that your body fat will be burnt and used to produce energy. Since your body must have already burnt the calories you consumed the previous night, it will look for fat deposits to produce energy. 

Another key advantage is that before you eat anything, your muscle and liver glycogen levels and stored carbohydrates are low. Thus, it is the best time for your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. This not only helps you burn more fat, but also improves your overall health. 

In case you perform cardio after consuming a meal or snack in late evening, you must have eaten 3-4 meals by then. In most cases these meals consist of high concentrations of protein and carbohydrates. Thus, while performing exercises, your body will be burning carbohydrates instead of fat deposits. 

The body always burns a combination of carbohydrate and fat to product more energy. However, depending on the time you exercise, you can effectively burn more fat. Morning cardio is perfect for this purpose, and even helps you lower levels of bad cholesterol in your body. 

If you’re performing cardio in the morning, it will be better to try some low impact exercises, like elliptical, treadmill, cycling and so on. Your cardio sessions should not exceed 30 minutes. If you perform cardio for too long in the morning you will start burning more muscle mass than fat. This can be a major drawback. You need to keep your heart rate in so-called second zone i.e. approximately between 116-120 bpm. If you need more information about zone training click here.

The most important benefit of morning cardio is that you will not only burn fat during the cardio session, but your body will keep burning fat throughout the day. This increases your resting metabolic rate. 


Cons of Morning Cardio


Although morning cardio offers numerous benefits, there may also be some drawbacks. Certain lifestyle factors and habits may be unsuitable to match a morning cardio session. Here are some cons to a morning cardio session. 


Logistical Hurdles - Not every person has a schedule allowing morning workouts. If your personal trainer or gym buddy does not want to get up early in the morning, you may have to choose an evening workout. There may also be some other logistical hurdles, like getting your kids to school, house chores and more. 

Protect Your Spine - There are some exercise which can put you at risk for spinal injury short after waking up. Since the spinal discs absorb water when you’re asleep, some cardiovascular exercises can put extra pressure on the discs. It is important to give your back a few hours before performing cardiovascular exercises. 

Biological Rhythms - In case you’re a morning person, the best time for you to work out will be at the crack of dawn. A morning person’s brain is well stimulated in the morning. This allows the person to produce more force throughout the workout. However, if you’re a night person, you will be the strongest as the day passes by. Thus, evening workouts will be a better choice for you. 


Like almost everything else in life, morning cardio also offers both benefits and drawbacks. Also, there is an abundance of different studies giving contrary findings on the subject. That is why it is important to understand your lifestyle factors, diet and preferences before you choose between morning and evening workouts. Take all the variables into account, listen to what your body is trying to tell you and choose wisely.