(Angela is a guest blogger from Eat Spin Run Repeat.)
Not everyone claims to be a morning person, and for many, the thought of working out shortly after waking up might sound like pure torture. However, there are plenty of benefits that I personally think outweigh the costs.
For example, by squeezing in time for fitness early in the morning, other commitments and last-minute requests are less likely to get in the way. And of course, there’s no denying the endorphin high that we get from exercise, and why wouldn’t you want to start your day off feeling fantastic?
As a long-time early morning exerciser, I can truly say that my morning sweat session is my favourite part of the day. However, I know there are many who struggle to make this a long-term habit. If you’re one of those people, here are 5 tips to help get you there.
1. Set yourself up for success the night before
If you want to make getting up to exercise as easy as possible, start your preparation in the evening. I always set my workout clothes out in the bathroom so that they’re ready to change into as soon as I get up, and pack my gym bag before going to bed so that I don’t find myself half way to the gym and without headphones for my iPod.
2. Adjust your sleep schedule (gradually)
Let’s be honest, if you currently go to bed at 11pm and wake up at 7am, chances are that getting up at 5 or 6am is going to be a big shock to your system. In order to fit in a morning workout you may need to wake up earlier than you currently do, but I don’t recommend doing this by cutting your sleep time by an hour right off the bat. After all, sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition when it comes to reaching your health goals, whether that’s weight loss or training for a marathon. Instead, aim to get to bed a little earlier each night, and wake up a little earlier this morning. Adjust your sleep schedule by, say, 15 minute increments each week, and by the end of the month, getting up an hour earlier won’t feel so painful.
3. Plan activities that you genuinely enjoy doing
Nothing is going to make you dread crawling out from under your cozy covers more than the thought of running for miles on the treadmill if you really don’t enjoy doing that. Everyone is different, so while I personally love getting up and starting my day with a run, you might get a lot more excited about doing an at-home workout DVD or heading to a yoga class. Find activities you enjoy and it’ll be much easier to get yourself out of bed.
4. Don’t play the ‘make a game time decision card’
The fewer decisions you have to make when you wake up, the better. If you decide that you’re going to roll out of bed and do whatever you feel like at that time, there’s a good chance choosing a few extra zzz’s will win. Instead, schedule your workouts ahead of time and be as specific as possible. I like to do this at the beginning of the week, but you can set your intention the evening before each workout if you prefer. This way, there’s less thinking required in the morning – you can just get up and go.
5. Befriend another morning exerciser
If you feel like having the support of another person will help you stick to your fitness habit (and based on personal experience, it often does), find a friend who shares the same goal. Whether you work out together or simply chat about your sweat sessions afterward, you can keep each other accountable and celebrate one another’s achievements, no matter how small.