I am not by nature a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. That being said, I have become a huge fan of crushing my workouts first thing in the morning so I can check it off my list and get on with my day. I have fallen so in love with taking care of myself both physically and mentally that waking up a few extra minutes earlier in the morning is a small price to pay to ensure my workouts get done and dusted before the inevitable chaos of the day starts.
Fairly early on in my health and wellness journey, I realized working out first thing in the morning was what I wanted and needed to do, but like I mentioned above not being someone who naturally jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn meant that I would need a solid plan to ensure I would be able to get my butt out of bed each day with enough time to get my sweat on. So, I began doing a few things to set myself up for success that fast forward almost 4 years later have become a routine I go through each and every day (aside from rest days) that I now wholeheartedly attribute to the success I have found in achieving and maintaining my health and fitness goals.
As I was working my way through my morning routine this fine morning, I thought maybe it would be helpful to share with you all a few tips I have picked up along the way that enable me to be successful in this part of my journey even though I still don’t consider myself to be a true morning person:
Tip #1: Prepare the Night Before
The preparations I make the night before are just as if not more important than the things I do each morning to ensure I successfully get up and get moving. These are really easy, commonsense things I do but they truly make all the difference in the world. To start with, I purchased myself a great little automatic coffee maker that I programmed to start brewing at 5:30 am each morning. Not only does this save me time in getting up having to make the coffee then standing there waiting for it to be ready, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the AM is almost enough to get me out of bed in and of itself! I load up my Mr. Coffee maker each night, set the timer to start brewing the next morning, and as soon as I get out of bed I head to the kitchen and get my hot cup of coffee and caffeine/pre-workout fuel I need to get my blood flowing.
Another major thing I do the night before is to ensure I know exactly what workout I will be doing the following day so there is no delay in just jumping in and getting it done. This particular step is made so much easier thanks to the home workouts I have been doing for 3+ years now. They take all the guess workout out of what workouts I should be doing and in what order I should be doing them which is a huge help because let’s face it, my brain is never totally awake that early in the morning even if my body is up and moving! I literally just head straight from the kitchen to my living room, press play, and off I go getting a great workout in usually all in about 30 minutes or so.
Finally, each and every night I make sure I lay out my workout clothes for the next day in advance so again it is one less thing I have to think about when I wake up in the morning. I quickly found that without things like what I am going to wear planned out ahead of time I was wasting precious minutes in the morning trying to get it all together.
This would then make me feel rushed and like I had to wake up even earlier the next day creating a vicious cycle that could have very easily derailed me. Having all these things ready to go, speeds up the process and lets me focus on getting the best quality workout I can without having to watch the clock because I am worried about time while I am doing it.
Tip #2 – Set an Alarm and Don’t Hit Snooze!
I learned the importance of this one the hard way after setting multiple alarms, continually hitting snooze, and far too many times falling back asleep just long enough that I wasn’t able to get my workout in because I snoozed right through the entire allotted time.
After a few too many failures in this department, I decided to not only quit giving myself the option of hitting snooze at all but to move my alarm clock across the room so I would have to get out of bed to turn it off. Let’s face it, the hardest part of getting going in the morning for me anyway is the actual getting out of bed part. So, forcing myself to have to get up to turn my alarm clock off solved that problem for me!
Another happy side effect I have found after making this switch is I am less likely to be on my phone before bedtime and then again first thing in the morning. By placing my phone, aka my alarm clock, across my room before bed I have decreased my screen time which was getting embarrassingly out of hand, and I think I have even improved my quality of sleep as well. Not only do I now avoid that harmful blue light that radiates from our electronics and wreaks havoc on our sleep patterns, but I also have pledged to use that time to read more instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. I feel so much better about the way I use my time, not to mention I am better rested in the process making it easier to get up and going in the morning!
Tip #3 – Hold Yourself Accountable
I do this in a couple of ways starting with logging my workouts using fun little stickers….yep I love an old fashioned planner that you can write in, draw in, use stickers in, whatever to not only track your workouts but also give yourself a little congrats in the form of a pretty little star each day that you achieve your workout goals.
I have been doing this since Day 1 along with taking progress pics to keep track of my achievements and remind myself how far I have come and that all the hard work does and is paying off.
I also hold myself accountable by having workout buddies. I have a group of friends who also workout in the mornings and we all text each other to make sure we have gotten up and are crushing our AM goals. This extra layer of accountability outside of myself goes such a long way in the morning when my motivation isn’t super high and the warm comfy bed is harder to get out of. I know I have people out there not only counting on me but rooting for me to succeed so if I don’t always feel like doing it for myself I do it so I don’t let them down. Surrounding yourself with motivated, goal-oriented people chasing after the same things you are in life is a fantastic way to keep going when you may not always feel like it, especially at the crack of dawn!!
Tip #4 – Find Workouts that you Enjoy!
Let’s face it, working out is not always easy. In fact, a lot of the time it is downright tough. If it wasn’t hard though, could we really expect it to change us for the better?
Probably not. That being said, while we can’t always escape the hard, we don’t have to be miserable the entire time we are doing it either! Find workouts that are enjoyable, maybe even fun but at least engaging enough that you are not obsessively looking at the clock as the minute’s tick by until you can stop. This has been absolutely key for me in my own journey. I spent almost a year floundering around the gym, not really knowing what I was doing, not seeing much progress, and being pretty darn close to throwing in the towel on the whole thing….once again. When I stumbled upon the workout programs I am doing now everything changed for me. I found myself not only looking forward to working out each day, but a lot of the time smiling while I was doing it!
I know I know…. sounds crazy right? But I swear to you, I really do enjoy the workouts on this platform and there are so many of them to choose from that I never get bored. I also don’t have to put any thought at all into which workout I should do next or if I am doing the moves correctly because it is all explained and demoed each and every time I press play. Find something that works similarly for you. If you really enjoy running, first of all, that is so impressive because it is like torture for me, but if that’s what floats your boat, go for a run each morning. If you enjoy biking, do that, if you enjoy lifting weights do that. Just find something that you look forward to doing each morning and it will make it that much easier to get your butt in motion.
While working out no matter what time of the day it is, is a great thing, for me working out in the morning has been the ticket to not only achieving but also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Kick-starting my day with a solid, effective, and efficient workout gives me the energy and focus I need to tackle everything else that is going to be thrown at me and also the satisfaction of knowing I have already completed one major to-do list item. I am also able to focus solely on the workout at hand without my email dinging, my phone ringing, or a meeting popping up that I just have to attend, all of which have the potential to derail even my best efforts. So, if you are struggling to find time to fit in a sweat session or you find yourself starting one but not able to finish it because of all the other things that demand our attention throughout the day, try getting up just a bit earlier and getting it done and over with first thing. After all, the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the improved health and wellness which I think is something we can all agree is a pretty worthwhile prize!!