Mornings have always been my favorite time to exercise. Why?
Because early AM workouts:
Give me incredible energy for the rest of the day. (Remember, movement creates energy!)
Switch on a goal-crushing mindset. Feeling accomplished that I already checked something off my to-do list!
Set me up to make good choices for myself, food and otherwise.
Make me tired (the good kind) at the end of the day, and reaching for my pillow around 930pm. An early bedtime means that I get more Zzzzzz's, which in turn gives me more energy throughout the day.
There truly is no better feeling than walking back to my apartment at 7am, looking forward to a shower & a hearty breakfast, and ready to take on the day.
I know that this isn't for everyone though.
We've said this a million times but... every single person is different. Not everyone is going to be a morning exerciser, and that's totally OK. Some people like taking a sweaty break at lunch, or they feel much more motivated to crush it at the gym after work. Do some reflecting and Just ask yourself the ultimate question: When is the BEST time for ME to workout based on my preferences and my everyday schedule? Whatever the answer is to that, shape your workout time accordingly so that it fits PERFECTLY into your unique life and you GET IT DONE.
With all of that being said, If you'd like to become a morning person, here are my top 10 tips to making the switch:
1. FIND A WORKOUT BUDDY.
This is my number one tip, hands down. How many times of you heard of this SIMPLE suggestion!? IT REALLY WORKS, I PROMISE.
This summer, I joined a boxing gym with my sister and best friends and the only time we could all go together was at the a$s crack of dawn - either the 5am classes or the 6am classes. Sure, that was bright & early, but if everyone else could get their butts out of bed and be there, then so could I. And when my alarm went off at 530am, I knew that I wasn't the only one dying to hit snooze.
I realized quickly that in order to stick to my new gym schedule, accountability was everything. Purely out of fear of missing out or letting my friends down, I dragged myself out of bed. After doing this for a few weeks in a row, meeting them for class became easier and easier, and I can now say that it is something I truly look forward to.
2. SIGN UP FOR CLASSES.
When you sign up for a class, you are simply more likely to go. Why?
you've already paid
you are given a set time to show up
you are taken through a workout that you didn't have to prepare for yourself.
And let's face it, no body likes cancellation fees or wasting $30 class credits.
To take it one step further: take a look at your upcoming schedule for the week (on Sunday or Monday), and pencil in your classes in advance.
3. LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES OUT THE NIGHT BEFORE.
This one is a must for me. Pick out your clothes the night before (literally everything, down to your undies and socks) and leave it in the bathroom. This way, everything will be waiting for you, and in the morning you don't have to do so much as THINK. Put on your tights, throw your hair in a bun, and go be a boss.
4. SET YOUR ALARMS... IN THE OTHER ROOM.
This is what works for me: I set 2 alarms. One is 2 minutes after the other... just incase I hit snooze by accident. The key here is to leave your phone (or alarm clock) in the other room so you are FORCED to get out of that warm, cozy, soft bed. Harsh I know, but such an effective tactic.
TIP: Title your alarms something motivational. For example, my 2 alarms say (and please don't laugh): "YOU ARE A SAVAGE" and "THIS IS SO WORTH IT". So when I stumble to turn them off, these phrases remind me of what my goals are and the determination it takes to achieve them.
5. SPLASH WATER ON YOUR FACE.
TRUE STORY: . When we were young, my mother (as a single mom) struggled to get all three of us out of bed for school in the morning. No matter how much she begged, we wouldn't budge from under the covers. Her solution? She would come into our bedrooms with a wet wash cloth and wipe it all over our faces. We would scream in protest and cry, but it worked EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Let that water wake you up!
6. TRY THE 5 SECOND RULE.
In her best-selling book "The 5 Second Rule", world renowned motivational speaker Mel Robbins explains the rationale behind her strategy of the 5 Second Rule. Whenever there is a task you are not jazzed about doing (like get out of bed for example), all you have to do is count backwards from 5... and by the time you hit 1, you must GO. TAKE ACTION.
5-4-3-2-1- and blast-off. Like a rocket ship into space.
The counting is distracting and doesn't allow your mind to make up excuses, give into worries, analyze the situation, or procrastinate.
Read more about the 5 Second Rule here.
7. SLOW RISER? GIVE YOURSELF A BUFFER.
If you're not the type to hop right out of bed and get out the door, then you might need to give yourself some extra time in the morning to wake up. My sister Carly is exactly like this. She sets her alarm 30-60mins earlier than the time she has to leave, makes tea, and lounges on the couch with a comfy blanket and a good magazine. This allows her body & mind some time to wake up fully and get prepared to take on what's next!
8. PICK A WORKOUT YOU ENJOY.
Exercise shouldn't feel like a chore, a bore, or torture. If it is, you are doing it all wrong.
Exercise should be something that you truly enjoy doing and actually looking forward to! There are so many ways to move: running, walking, lifting, boxing, yoga, barre, pilates, intramural sports of all kinds, hiking, swimming, etc. The list can go on and on, so there is no excuse - pick one!
If you're doing something that you enjoy, you are that much more likely to get out of bed.
9. REMEMBER HOW GOOD YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL LATER.
On occasion when I skip class in the morning, I always end up regretting how I feel when I wake up, and as well as later in the day. Most times I feel a sense of guilt, as well as stress about fitting in my exercise during some other part of my busy day. I'll tell ya, that feeling is NEVER worth the "SLEEP-IN". Does this happen to you, too?
Try to remember how good you will feel once your workout is over. There's nothing like that sense accomplishment. Hang onto that feeling and let it fuel you to get out of bed!
[Disclaimer: Obviously if I'm feeling sick, exhausted, or anything similar, I will not force myself to go to the gym.... and I certainly will not feel bad about it.]
10. STAY CONSISTENT AND LET YOUR BODY ADJUST.
Our bodies operate on a cyclical clock called a circadian rhythm. Our hormones are a crucial part of this clock - melatonin and cortisol being the main players here (FYI- melatonin & cortisol are like a seesaw...when one is up, the other is down and vise versa). These hormones love being in a consistent rhythm. Cortisol spiking at the same time every morning to wake you, and melatonin released at night to make you sleepy and get a good night's rest.
When you start a new routine of going to early workout classes, you are essentially making changes to your body clock. So, acknowledge that your body might need an adjustment period. I personally find that it usually takes about 2 weeks for a new morning/bedtime routine to feel normal.
It might be tough, but just stick with it and your body will follow suit. The more consistent you are with your new workout schedule, the easier it will become! Before you know it, you'll be waking up before your alarm :)
What are some of your tips to becoming an early morning exerciser?