Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012...2:21 pm

To My Early Birds

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by Rebecca Starr

I teach early. Especially now, with the oncoming of this beautiful Williamsburg Fall, my morning ride to the Rec Center is dark and increasingly cold. I love early, and I love the sharp morning air that screams go back to bed. I love my devoted few who, in my Monday 7:00AM boot camp class, push me to wake up and liven the day. I recommend trying it, this early morning thing. You may surprise yourself.

At Spinning training last year, the non-W&M folks scoffed at what I thought was “early” morning classes. One woman taught at 5:30AM and bragged of lines out the door at 4:00AM. Ok, this is honestly just a bit ridiculous. I’m not asking you to crawl out of the warmth of your down comforters (I have three) at such an early hour, but websites all over the fitness-sphere (fitsugar.com, Nytimes blog, boxing scene) are urging their devotees to wake up and get moving.

Unfortunately, college students’ schedules don’t really allow for this.  For many, homework is a nighttime activity. Once you have done that whole learning bit, then filled your evenings with friends and other things you love, the clock reads 10:00PM (or later) and you still have an unchecked list of the absolute most important things to do. Sad part is, my brain shuts off at about the time all the fun stuff in my day comes to an end. I can’t think. My brain can’t function. My handwriting withers to nothing. And my ability to retain anything that is not the shape of my pillow fades away completely. For me, working at night is as pointless as buying two right shoes (which I did, by the way).

Even though it may be tough at first, morning exercise could be the best thing for you.  Getting up and moving isn’t all about fitness. It’s about wellness, too. It affords an opportunity to think about your day before it happens, to plan it out (for those of you who are planners), to eat a good breakfast, to move a little, then move to a desk and get some stuff done. I promise you’ll be surprised by the benefits.

The hearty breakfast thing was no mistake. Fuel is super important. If you’re new to morning movement, you might need to make some adjustments to your morning ritual. Researchers can’t decide whether to eat before or after exercise. My advice is to find what works best for you. As always, provide your body with enough fuel to keep moving. If you’re up early for that long run, pack along a fruit leather, those Gu things, or energy jelly beans. Before Spinning, I grab a banana or some applesauce, and always, always water.

Sophomore year I would be up by 6 every morning to jog down D.O.G. Street. Now, in my old age, I still wake up early – Mondays is boot camp; Thursdays, Spinning. But in between, I walk. Sometimes I beat the trash guys, sometimes they beat me. Most mornings the sun is barely up and rises to warm my back as I head to campus.

Find a morning Group Fitness Class for you!

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