Core and Coffee With Coach James …at 7 a.m.

Did you know that Poly has early morning workouts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that focus on strength and conditioning? Sports Performance Director Richard James leads a group of students in strength and conditioning in the early morning hours, between 7:15 and 8:30. These programs are designed for all students, both from the Upper and Middle School. James makes a point to get to know each student and their goals, so that he can help design a workout specifically for them. James feels strongly that these early morning workouts can assist students in producing stronger academic performance, using the body’s natural cycles. James said, “we value academic and athletic achievement through stimulating the dopaminergic system according to the circadian rhythm.”

Circadian rhythms are the 24-hour natural processes that affect most living things. One of the more well-known circadian rhythms regulates the sleep-wake cycle and prepares the body for expected changes like sleeping, eating, and exercising. As a result, circadian rhythms are a key factor in mental and physical health, and exercise is one of the key factors that keeps your circadian rhythms in balance. This is especially true when training in the morning.

According to the Mayo Clinic, working out in the morning increases your energy levels for the day. Exercising in the morning improves your cardiovascular system, and it also helps build stamina. Additionally, the exercises increase oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, which gives you an energy boost. James said that his athletes “are always improving, and [improving] gives us a great dopamine boost throughout the day.”

The attention to detail and expectation to grow with no fear of making mistakes is a critical first step to becoming mentally tough
as an athlete, and these workouts aid in that tremendously. James notes that these workouts help to build intangible qualities that are supremely valuable in student-athletes. “The mere fact that students show up at 7:00 at workout is the first proof that the participants are mentally tough,” said James.

But while these early morning workouts can seem daunting to some, James and his workouts. are open to any participants who wish to try and get some exercise in before their first-period class. After all, James phrased it best when he said, “there’s nothing better than showing up first thing in the morning and feeling the supercharged glowing warmth of the sun on your skin.”