Are you fed up with sluggish mornings and looking for a productive way to kickstart your day (and fat-burning process)? If so, we feel you. According to a 2020 RestoreZ survey of 2,000 Americans, 65% report rarely feeling well-rested or energized when waking up. That’s why Eat This, Not That! chatted with Rachel MacPherson, CPT, an ACE-certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who reveals the best morning exercises for all-fay fat burning, helping you supercharge your metabolism and torch calories.
Ever wondered how some people seamlessly maintain their fitness, manage their weight, and stay energized throughout the day? It all begins in the morning. A 2021 review points out that an effective morning routine that includes exercise can be your secret weapon for revving up your body’s calorie-burning engine. Even if you’re not an early riser, these exercises are quick, doable, and require minimal equipment.
“How you start your day can greatly impact your overall fat-burning,” says MacPherson. “When it comes to exercises to help you get a boost on burning fat all day, here are the best ones to choose.”
So, if you’re ready to flip the script and take control of your day, keep reading for detailed breakdowns of the best morning exercises for all-day fat burning. And next up, check out these 10 Quick HIIT Exercises To Fuel You With All-Day Energy.
There’s something therapeutic about an early morning walk that can significantly impact your day. “Walking, especially outdoors, can help relieve the stress which can contribute to fat gain, especially in the abdominal region,” explains MacPherson. “Walking is also a low-impact form of cardiovascular activity that you can do at your own pace and comfort level. Morning walks can set you up for better blood sugar regulation, lower heart rate, and a more mindful, calm mood, which can help you make better food choices, boost energy levels, and contribute to fat burning.”
To add a bit of intensity to your morning stroll, find a hill or a treadmill with an incline feature. The uphill climb engages different muscle groups and raises your heart rate, turning a simple walk into a more challenging workout.
“Incline walking burns more calories without needing to run. This makes it ideal for anyone who dislikes running or has joint issues. It also activates more muscles in your lower body, building muscles that increase metabolism and help burn more fat,” says MacPherson.
If you’re feeling a burst of morning energy, sprints are the way to go. This high-intensity exercise gets your heart racing and fires up your metabolism. Just a few sprints can leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.
“Sprints are excellent for fat burning because they use the anaerobic energy system, helping you burn a lot of energy in a shorter timeframe,” states MacPherson. “Sprinting uphill can activate more muscles and is more challenging, burning more calories during the workout and afterward as your body returns to homeostasis. Sprints can also help grow muscle since they encourage the release of growth hormones, which also burn fat.”
Whether you perform squats using free weights or your body weight, they work multiple muscle groups and can provide a fantastic morning energy boost.
“Strength training helps you maintain metabolically active muscle and keeps you burning calories during a diet. Lifting weights or performing resistance exercises like squats using just your body weight can help burn fat by sending special genetic signals to fat cells to burn more fat, belly fat included, as that is where a large portion of adipose tissue is stored. You can lose up to 1.4 percent of body fat from strength training alone,” explains MacPherson.
To perform this exercise using kettlebells, start by standing and holding a kettlebell at your chest height with both hands, either by the bell or handle. Ensure your elbows are bent and your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward. Next, hinge your hips back, and bend your knees, lowering yourself into a squat position with your thighs below parallel. Keep your back straight at the bottom of the squat. Press through your feet, and come back up to the starting position. Aim for four sets of 10 to 12 reps with one-minute rest between.
“Kettlebell swings are a full-body movement that increases power, strength, stability, and heart rate, helping increase muscle mass and metabolism to burn more fat,” says MacPherson.
Place a kettlebell on the ground between your legs. Hinge your hips back, and bend your knees to reach down and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Next, push through your feet, and engage your glutes to lift your body and the kettlebell off the ground. Use the momentum of your lower body, rather than your arms or shoulders, to naturally move the kettlebell up. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement, and swing the kettlebell back between your legs in a smooth motion by hinging and bending your knees. Finally, contract your glutes to raise your body back up and continue swinging the kettlebell for 60 to 120 seconds. Do three rounds of this with 90 seconds of rest between.
Jumping rope is a fun and efficient way to boost your metabolism. Recent research shows that it’s also excellent for coordination and balance, making it a fantastic exercise to energize your body.
“Performing jump rope workouts will help you burn fat by burning massive amounts of calories compared to lower-impact cardio workouts,” states MacPherson. “When you perform movements that require you to lift your entire body weight off the ground against gravity, it takes a large amount of effort, and effort equals calorie burn.”
A good morning stretch helps improve flexibility, release muscle tension, and get your blood flowing. These benefits prime your body for an active day.
“[Stretching] helps your central nervous system get out of an activated state (fight or flight) to a rested state (rest and digest),” explains MacPherson. “Stretching helps reduce stress hormones that can increase belly fat. Chronically elevated stress hormones can harm your health, recovery process, sleep, and mood. If you’re stressed about the upcoming day, stretching in the morning can help combat this.”
Lunges are great for targeting your legs and glutes. Doing them while walking adds a dynamic element to your morning routine and can boost your metabolism. MacPherson tells us, “Bodyweight unilateral exercises like walking lunges build muscle and strength, increase the heart rate, burn fat, and boost metabolism.”
To start, either hold dumbbells in each hand or use just your body weight. Take a large step forward with your right foot, and bend your right knee to lower your left knee to just above the floor. Then, push through your right foot to come back up. As you rise, lift your left foot, and step it in front to lunge on the left side. If you have trouble with balance, you can tap your foot down on the floor in the middle. Alternate legs as you lunge, moving forward. Aim for 10 to 15 lunges per leg for four sets. Rest one minute between sets.
Consider a morning circuit to combine all of these fat-burning exercises into one efficient routine. It’ll keep things fresh and exciting, ensuring you’re ready for the day ahead.
“A great way to burn fat and improve your overall fitness is by performing a 20-minute conditioning circuit. This circuit should include one upper-body, one lower-body, one core exercise, and a high-intensity cardio interval. Circuits like this are effective for burning calories and losing fat in the long term,” says MacPherson.
Here’s an example:
- Pushups for 30 seconds
- Walking lunges for 30 seconds
- Bicycle crunches for 60 seconds
- Jump squats or mountain climbers for 60 seconds
- Rest for 60 seconds
Repeat this circuit for a total of three to five rounds or a total of 20 minutes.