As a certified trainer, I’m a huge proponent of early-morning exercise. (Yes, even if you hate waking up with the sun.)
Why? First of all, working out in the morning ensures that you get it done first thing, before the demands of life (work meetings, commutes, grocery shopping, etc.) get in the way. For many people, the longer their day goes, the less likely they’re able to work out due to time, scheduling, and a lack of mental energy or motivation. And that doesn’t exactly gel with meeting your fitness goals, especially if you want to get lean.
Plus, there are lots of health and fitness benefits to exercising before breakfast. Training in a fasted state (aka before you eat) can help elevate your metabolism and may potentially burn more fat. You might also get better results from your workout, as some research suggests that people’s aerobic endurance is greater in the morning. Again, all great things if you’re looking to get fit and lean.
That said, mornings often feel like the busiest time of day–you have breakfast to make, lunches to pack, keys to find, coffee to drink, and a whole lot more before you’re out the door or logging onto your work computer. Where in that busy time frame does anyone have time to work out?
I get it. That’s why I made two fast, easy morning workouts for beginners that will help you burn fat, build muscle, and get leaner—in just eight minutes flat. Surely you have less than 10 minutes to spare in the morning for a bit of exercise?
The first workout is focused on bodyweight movements and doesn’t require any equipment. The second routine requires two dumbbells. Don’t go overboard on how much you lift if you do the dumbbell exercises. With early-morning workouts, you want to keep your loads a little lighter. Your spine is more fluid and less stable in the morning and thus can be a bit more prone to injury. (And no one wants to start their day with lower back pain.).
Want to try it yourself? Set a timer for eight minutes, and perform each exercise back to back with no rest. If your goal is to get leaner with time-efficient workouts, then give these exercises a try as soon as you get up. And for more great workout routines, don’t miss: These Are the 5 Best Exercises for Toning Your Abs, Says Trainer.
Keeping your torso upright and core tight, sit back onto your heels and hips until they are parallel to the ground. Then come back up, flexing your glutes and quads at the top. That’s one rep; complete 15 reps before moving onto the next move. FYI: This Is What Doing Squats Does to Your Body, According to Science.
Stand in a plank position, with your body in a complete straight line. Start the movement with your feet together and shoulders in line with your wrists. Keeping your core tight and glutes squeezed, lower yourself (with control) until your chest touches the floor before pushing yourself back up. Do 10 pushups before moving onto the next move. If you’re a pushup novice, don’t forget to read: Ugly Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make When Doing Pushups, Says Top Trainer.
Keeping your chest tall and core tight, take one foot and step it back. Firmly plant your back foot, then lower yourself under control until the back knee touches the floor gently. Once the knee touches the floor, drive through the heel of the front heel to raise yourself back to starting position. Perform all reps on one leg before switching to the other.
Lie down with your lower back flat on the ground. Keeping your core tight, raise your feet back towards your body, flexing your abs hard. Lower your legs slowly, maintaining tension in your core before performing another rep. After 10 reps, you’re finished!
Looking to up the ante a bit? Keep scrolling for the dumbbell-focused easy morning workout. (Don’t worry, it’s also only eight minutes long.) And in case you missed it, check out The Killer Exercise Move for Building Strength and Stability.
Start by standing tall and holding a dumbbell close to your chest. Keeping your core tight, push your hips back and squat down until your hips are parallel to the ground. Drive through the heels and hips to stand back up, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Complete 12 reps before moving onto the next set.
In a standing position, hold two dumbbells up next to your shoulders. Your palms should be facing you. Keeping your core tight and glutes squeezed, rotate the dumbbells out and press the dumbbells up at the same time, flexing your shoulders and triceps at the top. Lower the weight under control before performing another rep. Complete 10 reps before moving onto the next set.
Start the exercise by holding a pair of dumbbells and stepping forward with one leg. Firmly plant your foot, then lower yourself under control until the back knee touches the floor gently. Once the knee touches the floor, step through with the other leg and repeat. Repeat, ensuring you complete 10 reps on each legs. For more workout ideas, check out: These Walking Workouts Will Help You Get Lean.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and get into a pushup position with a wide foot stance. Keeping your core tight and glutes squeezed, pull one dumbbell towards your hip, squeezing your lat at the end. Lower the weight with steady control, then row the other side. Repeat for 6 reps on each arm. All done! For more lean-body workout tips, be sure to read Exercise Tricks That Will Help You Slim Down Faster, Says Trainer.