I use to workout in the evenings after work when I was single and living in the city. Then with a new job I had to make a change, because it would have been easier to exercise in the morning and get to work by 8:30am than it would have been to leave work consistently at 5:00 or 5:30pm everyday to get to the gym.
That was nine years ago. Now I’m a runner, have two kids, a husband, and a work-from-home job. And now I have to think about and consider when my husband might want to work out, because we can no longer exercise together. I chose the mornings, because 1) I was already used to it; 2) I have afternoon school runs, activities, and homework to focus on, and 3) I prefer it. I love having my exercise done by the time most people are waking up.
I could go on and on about the benefits of working out in the morning, but nope today I’m just going to give you tips on how to get it done. If you really are a night owl and would rather die than wake up before 6am, why put yourself through the torture…no powers of persuasion will get you moving at the crack of dawn;)
Change Your Bedtime
Unfortunately, this is the hardest part, but there’s no way you can change your wake-up time without changing your bedtime. Eventually, your body will run out. I do love spending quiet evenings with my husband, watching TV, and catching up on our days; but I also know I need to exercise. So what helped me? I set-up a routine. Here’s my schedule:
- 7:00pm – Make dinner while the Mr. puts Gwyneth to bed.
- 7:30pm – Eat dinner together and watch one episode of a series. Right now we’re watching Fargo.
- 8:45pm – Help clean up and check run schedule for the next morning.
- 9:00pm – Get my running clothes together and get ready for bed.
- 9:15pm – Read in bed.
- 9:30/:45pm – Lights out.
Still need help? Here are some tips on how to wake up early.
~ what a morning exerciser’s alarm might look like ~
Plan, Plan, Plan
Pull together your clothes the night before, put the alarm clock across the room, and create a schedule. It’ll be very difficult to just wing it each morning, stumbling around a dark bedroom looking for clothes at 5am in the morning. Make and follow through with a plan. On Sundays I plan my running schedule for the week. If I’m out Tuesday night, then I’ll plan to run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, skipping Wednesday when I would not have had a full night’s sleep.
And putting my clothes in the bathroom the night before helps me get ready faster in the morning, but it’s also my guilt trip if I don’t run that morning. Waking up and seeing the clean clothes on the floor is brutal!
Create a Plan B
Okay, so you wake up and it’s raining=( Or your friend can’t make the gym and you don’t want to go by yourself. Always have a plan B in your head. If it’s raining, go to the gym instead. If you’re friend cancels, do a workout at home. Whatever plan you put in place should be your plan B…always. Don’t try to come up with a plan that morning. Just say, okay X happened, so now I move onto Y. Done and done!
Get Some Accountability
Having a workout partner is one of the best ways to create accountability, but sometimes it’s tough to find an early morning riser such as yourself. Try joining a class. Usually you’ll see the same people all the time, especially in the morning, and you could make friends (i.e. accountability) that way. Schedule a race. For me, this is the #1 reason you’ll see me hitting the pavement 5 mornings a week. I’m preparing for race day! Right now, I’m training for the Barbados half marathon in December.
Make It Exciting
Find something that will get you excited about your workout. I listen to highly rated mystery/suspense books while I run, so I’m always looking forward to the next chapter.
Boost Yourself Up
You’ve got to give yourself mad praise all the time for being a morning exerciser. As soon as I’m done a workout, I almost always think some sort of praise to myself:
- “That was kickass!”
- “You rock!”
- “I am one bad ass chick!”
To name a few. These affirmations are not only great for motivating myself to wake up the next morning, but great for just thinking more positively about what I’ve been able to accomplish.
I love seeing runners on the road, it’s like we’re part of a special club and I’m excited to see them partaking. But then I also think, if it’s after I’m finished my run, “YES! I’m already done.” Seeing other people workout after me, always makes me feel great because I know I’ve already completed mine. It’s the little things that keep me motivated;)
And if all this fails, just know that there is someone else out there who got up earlier than you. I’ve gotten up as early as 2:30am to start a long run, so remember it can always be worse!!!
How do you stay motivated in the mornings? Are you a morning exerciser?