I am not a morning person. Which is why what I'm about to say should count for something: If you're going to work out, work out in the morning.
My mother taught me that every day is a gift, but when I first wake up, it feels more like a prison sentence. My initial conscious thought is typically, "Are you kidding me?!"—as in, "I have to wait 17 hours until I can go back to sleep...are you kidding me?!"
I'm cold. I'm tired. And I don't want any part of anything that takes place on the north side of my comforter. Especially exercise.
Yet for the last two years, five days a week, that's exactly what I've done: work out at home, so within minutes of my final REM cycle, my blood is pumping, my hip flexors are flexing, and my sweat is staining the hardwood floor.
Building this habit has been a painful process, full of 9 p.m. pass-outs and devil-on-the-shoulder tauntings about why it's OK to skip today. But ultimately it's been a positive one.
Truthfully, any exercise at any time is great, so if you've got a schedule that works, more power to you. But if you're struggling to get started—or struggling to stick with it—below are reasons why your first course of action should be working out first thing in the morning.