At one point in my life, getting up before 6am to voluntarily exercise seemed like self-sabotage. However, when my day filled up with a more demanding job and evening side hustles, I had to get creative to stay in shape. I decided to bump up my alarm, exercising before I started my normal day. Little did I know this would unveil benefits beyond just optimal time management. I saw significant increases in my energy and concentration levels, allowing me to reduce my morning coffee fix and make healthier decisions throughout my day. Follow some of the tips below and I think you too will find joy in your morning workouts. Some of these tips may not apply to everyone, but if you can find one helpful note that improves your day, then this is well worth a quick read.
Tips on working out in the morning
Know Your Why
This is the most important step. If you don’t have a good reason that you truly believe makes you and your life better, you will not stick to your morning workout routine, opting to snooze your alarm past your workout and eventually give up. Some good reasons are to have more energy throughout your day and to have a sense of accomplishment before starting the rest of your day.
Stay on Task
One key to accomplishing the hardest part of your day before most people’s day starts is to be efficient with your time, especially at first when you’re still not entirely sold this is for you. This mainly means no phones. That is no social media or emails. If you need to map out your workout in advance, do so the night before, so you don’t find yourself surfing for fifteen minutes to find that perfect shoulder workout. The same applies to workout playlists or podcast episodes. This will allow you to get that last minute of sleep your mind tells you that you need while still getting to the gym on time. An added benefit is you will get your pre-workout morning routine down to a science so you know exactly how long it will take you every morning.
Plan Your Wake-Up Time Deliberately
Ensure there’s no wiggle room from the time the alarm goes off to the time that it will take to prep and get to the gym. Now we’re not recommending you plan everything so tight you don’t have room for an unexpected wardrobe malfunction or bathroom emergency before you take off to the gym. The point is to force efficiency by planning.
We do recommend after your workout you give at least an extra 10 minute cushion to give yourself the freedom of flexibility and to enjoy the accomplishments you’ve already achieved that morning. It’s important this added down-time is planned after your workout to 1) give you the option to increase your workout time if wanted and 2) so you can’t push back your wake-up time. If the time you get to the gym is negotiable, you will almost certainly choose to snooze for a few extra minutes of shut eye.
Set One Alarm and One Alarm Only
Once you choose to snooze and use your backup alarm, you’ve already compromised your decision to start your day sweaty. According to the Cleveland Clinic, snoozing your alarm can increase blood pressure and indicate a larger sleeping disorder. Waking up and actually getting out of bed isn’t easy for anyone. The key for me is to count to three and just get up. If you’re not that disciplined, start with opening your eyes, then stretching your entire body in bed to get your blood flowing to your muscles and brain.
Work Out Near Your Home
The easier you make the logistics surrounding your morning workout, the less excuses you’ll have to back out. Check out the gyms close by or exercise at home. Before I bit the bullet on a gym pass, I would jog to a nearby park with exercise machines, giving me a great 30 minute cardio and muscle-strengthening workout. If there are no good options, find a gym on your way to work where you can shower afterward.
More Helpful Tips
- Sign up for a group class for your morning sweat. This would apply to a personal trainer session as well. Making it an official appointment will help you to commit to a time. Some classes charge a fee for not showing up to a class you reserved a spot for and didn’t cancel with several hours’ notice. This can seriously be the difference maker for some people in getting up early in the morning.
- Have a workout buddy to hold you accountable.
- Do exercises you enjoy and that you know you can accomplish, while also challenging yourself. This will make it easier to get out of bed. If you’re not in shape, don’t feel ashamed to start small, with a short sub-15 minute body workout or just with morning crunches, slowly building up.
- Have your workout clothes set out in advance to eliminate decision making in the early morning hours.
- Have your pre-workout snack already prepared to minimize prep time.
- Start later in the morning and slowly move up the time before committing to a routine. If you’re used to waking up at 7, then it’s not very realistic you will wake up at 5am.
- Go to bed early. Nothing good happens after 10pm – swapping that last hour of your day for an extra first hour will allow you to accomplish more high-value tasks.