1. Get some magnesium
Magnesium helps to convert the food that we eat into energy, making it an important mineral to include before a workout.1 A magnesium deficiency could reduce your overall energy levels and contribute to fatigue.2
Magnesium offers further benefits to anyone participating in exercise, though, as it has a relaxing effect on the muscles. This could help to avoid aches and pains, as well as any cramps or spasms that occur after vigorous activity.
Magnesium is abundant in pumpkin seeds, bananas, spinach and an array of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and fish. To raise your intake further, a natural supplement can also be of benefit.
Here I would recommend Balance Mineral Drink because it contains a healthy amount of magnesium alongside zinc, calcium, potassium and vitamin D. This makes it an excellent pre- or post-workout drink because, not only does this combination help to reduce tiredness and fatigue, it also supports the muscles and joints. Therefore, if your arms and legs are feeling a little tender after a morning session at the gym or pool, this just might help.
2. Change your alarm clock
Changing your alarm clock from a shocking and sudden screech to something that will wake you up slowly over a period of time is also a good way to improve your energy levels.
A sudden screech at 7am can wake you from a state of deep sleep. It is during this phase of sleep that dreams occur and the body does most of its repair work and, if we are roused from it, it can take longer to feel alert.
On the other hand, if the body is given a little more time to come round, this can make you feel more alert when you do decide to get out of bed.
3. Drink a big glass of water
Dehydration can contribute to tiredness and low energy levels so it is super important to drink a big glass of water before doing any exercise in the morning. We also lose a lot of water during sport, through sweat, so it can be helpful to have a bottle of water on hand during your workout to avoid a rapid drop in energy levels as you go about your activity.
Remember, stick to plain, still water rather than anything fizzy or flavoured as these might taste nice, but they will not rehydrate you in the way that regular water does. If you like a little bit of sweetness in your drink then try adding a slice of orange or lemon, or even a bit of mint.
4. Grab a banana
Sugary cereals and energy bars will cause your blood sugars to rise rapidly and then drop. This will result in a rapid crash in energy levels which is not ideal if you want to maintain a productive workout.
I’d recommend opting for bananas and oats in the morning as these release energy slowly so they should sustain you through the course of an early morning workout. Alternatively, mix the banana into a smoothie by following one of our recipes and pair it with some wholemeal toast – remember, though, sugary jams and marmalades can also contribute to a sudden fall in energy levels.
5. Take your workout outdoors
Sunlight signals to the body that it is time to get up so you may feel more energised by doing any morning exercise outdoors. This will also expose your body to vitamin D which has benefits for the immune system, circulation and for the bones. Not only that, outdoor workouts tend to be a little more challenging than going to the gym or an exercise class as they involve using different terrains and altitudes.
Remember, though, you don’t have to do anything too strenuous outdoors – follow our video guide for some simple stretches and movements you can do in the garden. Alternatively, take a fast paced 15 minute walk round your local area – research shows that people who do small stints of exercise are more likely to achieve their goals and, therefore, reap the health benefits.3
6. Avoid blackout blinds
The body will wake up naturally when sunlight starts to seep through your curtains or blinds. Using blackout blinds will not allow for this natural process to occur, however, and so when your alarm eventually goes off, you are more likely to feel sluggish and low in energy.
7. Make a motivational playlist
A music playlist with lots of upbeat songs from your favourite artists may not influence your energy levels directly, but it is a good way to make exercise more enjoyable. This means you should feel more motivated to exercise and the improvements to your mood, energy, and overall health, will soon follow.
8. Avoid coffee
Many of us automatically reach for a coffee to start the day but, if you are planning on doing any exercise, this isn’t the best drink to choose. That’s because the boost in energy that coffee provides will be quickly followed by an inevitable crash. This will probably have you reaching for another coffee at the end of your workout which not only creates a negative cycle, but may also contribute to dehydration. This causes further problems as we know dehydration is a common cause of low energy levels.
If you feel you need the comfort of a warm brew to wake you up in the morning why not switch to a refreshing herbal tea? Yogi Tea has a range of natural teas that aim to improve energy levels including their Positive Energy Cranberry and Hibiscus.
9. Wash your face with cold water
Now, I don’t think there’s a lot of science behind this one but splashing your face with cold water (or, even better, taking a very short cold shower) can help you to feel more awake. If you are feeling more awake you may then feel ready to face exercising.
10. Get more sleep
Finally, getting to bed a little earlier will ensure that you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This should leave you feeling refreshed, energised and ready to face exercising come morning.
To help you fall asleep quicker, avoid using your phone in bed, have a warm bath or shower beforehand and don’t eat late into the evening.
If you feel you are getting plenty of sleep, though still feel tired and sleepy in the morning, I’d recommend reading our sleep advisor Marianna’s blog on the topic for further information and advice.