Somewhere over the course of the past 12 months, I’ve turned into one of those people. You know the one’s I’m talking about. The one’s who regularly get up at some ungodly hour to hit the gym. It didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen because I am one of those crazy people who actually enjoys rising before the sun. The real reason that I decided to start working out first thing in the morning is simply this– there’s no time to make an excuse to bail. If I want to make my workouts a priority, I’ve found the best way to get it done is before I start my day. Because once I put on my wife/daughter/friend/sister/attorney hat for the day, there’s no telling how many obstacles are going to come flying at me, trying to sabotage my good intentions of working out.
I’ve heard lots of people asking the question “how do I become a person who works out in the mornings?” There isn’t an easy answer to that question, and there isn’t going to be one end-all, be-all solution that works across the board for everyone. With that said, what I can tell you is that anyone, yes anyone, can become an early morning exerciser. Did you catch that? I said anyone.
Here are a few simple tips!
1) Set multiple alarms, and set one of them far enough away that you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off. Like I just said, getting out of bed is the key ingredient to a successful morning workout.
2) Try to get to bed at a decent hour. For me personally, if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep in a given night, I have a really hard time functioning the next day. What that means is that I am starting to think about bed time by 9:30 most nights. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but it works for me. I know not everyone has this luxury (especially those of you will small children) but just try to do the best you can.
3) Plan a workout that you actually enjoy. Don’t love running? Don’t plan to do it at 6:00 a.m. Try bootcamp, Zumba, spinning, yoga, swimming, or a Jillian Michaels DVD like the 30 Day Shred.
4) Lay all of your gear out the night before so you don’t have to think first thing in the morning. The less thinking you have to do at 6:00 a.m., the better.
5) Think of a mantra that you can say to yourself in your head to help motivate you to get out of bed. My favorites include “you never regret a workout but you’ll always regret skipping one” and “getting out of bed is the hardest part, but you’ll be so glad that you did.”
6) Find a friend who is a morning exerciser too and share accountability. This could come in many different forms. Maybe you have the ability to actually meet up with your friend for your morning workout, or maybe you just shoot each other a text message saying “I’m up, are you?” Knowing that someone knows your intentions may be enough to get you out of bed.
7) Reward yourself. Sometimes the best way to motivate me for a workout is with an incentive (for instance, this morning’s “must run for pizza” mantra). Maybe you’ll tell yourself that you’ll get your coffee from Starbucks on Friday if you workout three mornings next week. Maybe you’ll reward yourself with a massage if you don’t skip any morning workouts for a month. Set a reward for yourself that will actually motivate you and you may be surprised at the results you’ll see.