I’m naturally a morning person, but becoming a morning exerciser was no easy task! The first few mornings of waking up early were really hard, but the more I forced myself to do it, the easier it became. Even now it’s not always that pleasant—especially when it’s cold and dark outside in the winter—but it’s a great way to start the day and now it’s part of my morning routine. Here’s what helps me break a sweat before sunrise.
Mentally prepare. When I am getting ready for bed the night before, I tell myself that skipping the gym is not an option. I remind myself that hitting snooze on my alarm clock cuts into valuable exercise time, which pushes me to get out of bed the instant it goes off. Refuse to snooze!!
Start on Monday. For me, weekends are all about sleeping in, so I start Monday morning with a bright and early workout. A quality sweat session starts my week off on the right foot and gives me momentum for the rest of my morning workouts.
Buy a lamp. My bedside lamp is my go-to tool for getting out of bed. As soon as I shut off my alarm clock, I immediately turn on my bedside lamp, which is a short distance from my pillow. Even just a little light gets me moving.
Bribe yourself out of bed. On the mornings that I really struggle to get out of bed, I bribe myself with thoughts of my favorite things. For instance, a pre-workout snack, a cup of coffee, reading emails, watching TV, or doing a few minutes of gentle yoga get me ready for a workout.
Focus on how it feels. When I am lying in bed debating whether to get up or not, I remind myself how accomplished I feel after a workout. I also remind myself how it feels when I skip a workout. I’m not sure which thought ultimately gets me out of bed, but I never regret a workout!
Prepare everything. I lay out everything I will need for the next morning, including clothing, sneakers, iPod, Garmin, magazines, pre-workout snack, car keys, gym membership ID, etc. Having everything ready to go requires a lot less thought in the morning, so it’s easy for me to just do it!
Map it out. The night before a workout, I take a few minutes to map out my workout. I try to be as specific as possible. For instance: 20-minute run on treadmill, 15 minutes on elliptical, 20 minutes strength training (free weights, upper body).
Just get out of bed. Some mornings, I really just don’t have the motivation to exercise. On these mornings, I force myself out of bed and wake myself up with some light activity, like checking my email, watching the news, stretching, or eating a snack. Even just 15 minutes of milling around my apartment will get me ready for a workout.
Do something you like! Exercise that is not enjoyable will not get you out of bed. The gym isn’t for everyone, so if you like hiking or biking or swimming (you get the idea), make it part of your morning plan.
Allow for mistakes. When I miss a workout, I don’t get down on myself. The next day, I just make sure that I don’t skip my workout.