I’m not going to lie, I love sleep more than working out. There, I said it! My pillow is just so soft and my new sheets are so comfy.
Getting out of bed before sunrise takes every ounce of my motivation. And some days, it doesn’t happen. But I know that if I don’t get my butt out of bed and workout in the morning, I will seriously regret it. As much as I hate getting up, becoming a morning workout person is one of the best life changes I ever made. It helps me get my day started on a productive note, and if I wait until later, it’s inevitable that my workout won’t actually happen. Life is busy, and if you let all the little things get in your way, working out will slowly slip down your priority list. But if you’re determined to stay healthy or get in shape, it’s time to stop hitting snooze and lace up those sneaks.
Believe me, I know this won’t be easy. I’m sure your pillow is just as soft as mine, so I know your struggle. But I can tell you that choosing to be a morning workout person gets easier with time. Once you make it a habit, that early wake up call will be slightly less painful every day. And until then, here are my top tips to help you become one of those super productive morning workout people.
1. Be Prepared
The last thing you want to do after painfully peeling yourself out of bed is run around like a maniac looking for your socks, digging sports bras out of the laundry, or trying to remember where you put your headphones. These little obstacles will waste your time and cause you way more stress than you need. Your morning workout will go a lot smoother if you take time the night before to get prepared. Pick out your outfit, find your shoes, and make sure your phone and/or Bluetooth headphones are charged (I’ve made that mistake WAY too times). So when your eyes are barely open and your motivation is low, all you have to do is grab your stuff and get going.
2. TRY and go to bed earlier
This one is a toughy, and I still struggle with it. No matter how tired I am during the day, it seems impossible to fall asleep earlier than my “usual” bed time. But you should at least try. Becoming a morning workout person is about adjusting your daily schedule. If you’re waking up earlier than you used to, it makes sense to go to bed earlier. I’ve even gone as far as setting an alarm on my phone for when I want to go to bed. When that alarm goes off, I know I need to stop doing whatever I’m doing and get ready for bed. It’s a tough transition, but that extra hour of sleep is worth it.
3. Devise a method for accountability
Accountability is so important when it comes to working out—especially for morning workout people. There are lots of different ways you can hold yourself accountable to your workout schedule. When I was training for a marathon, I used a super simple strategy involving a big red marker and a calendar. I wrote all my workouts on the calendar and put big red x’s on them when I was done. Seeing that beautiful page full of consistent red marks and showing them off to my husband was enough accountability for me. But that doesn’t always work. Another idea is to join a class or pay for a gym membership. You can also schedule your workouts with another person so you have to show up and not let them down. In my experience, dogs make the best workout buddies. They’re always ready to go!
4. Reward yourself, but don’t go crazy
Life is all about balance, my friend! Rewards are a great way to keep yourself motivated on your journey to becoming a morning workout person. But the key here is to not go crazy. You shouldn’t have cake for breakfast just because you worked out. Instead, choose a reward system involving small, healthy decisions. Think along the lines of a fresh smoothie. Your reward doesn’t even need to be food based. I look forward to my long runs because it’s the only time I allow myself to listen to my favorite audiobooks. I like to pause my books on a cliffhanger so that I really want to get to my next workout just so I can keep listening.
5. Set your alarm on the other side of the room
This is the oldest trick in the book, and it seriously works. It’s way too easy to hit snooze when all you have to do is grab your phone off your bedside table. Sometimes I turn off my alarm without even realizing I’m doing it—it’s my sleepy brain working against me. But if you’re forced to actually get out of bed to make the annoying sound stop, the hardest part of your day is already over with. All you have to do after that is not fall back into bed.
6. Take baby steps
You can’t go from waking up at 8 AM to consistently waking up 5 AM all in one go. Trust me, you’ll hate your life if you try to do that. A better strategy is to gradually work your way up to your ideal morning workout wake up time. Take baby steps and set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier every day, or every couple of days. If you take it slow, it won’t be such a shock to your system.
7. Get up early every morning, even if you’re not working out
Waking up early is a lot easier when it’s a regular habit. You might look forward to the days you don’t workout because you can get an extra two hours of sleep, but those extra z’s won’t do you any favors. It’ll just make it harder for you to get up early the next day. I highly recommend forcing yourself to get up at the same time every day, regardless of your plans. It retrains your brain into thinking 5 AM is completely normal and nothing to stress about.
8. Buy one of those cheesy “quote a day” calendars
You can take or leave this tip, but I LOVE daily calendars with motivational quotes. It might be because I’m a big sap, but I really take those quotes to heart, and they help me throughout the day. There are tons of fitness-themed quote calendars out there. Keep one next to your alarm clock and read the new quote every morning while you’re still sleepy. If it’s a good one, it might just be the motivation you need to get going.
9. Start with a workout you actually enjoy doing
I’m a runner, so I like getting up in the morning and going for a jog. But if you hate running, that’s definitely not going to work for you. Everyone needs to find an exercise that they actually enjoy doing. If you’re into Zumba, join a morning class. If you like to swim, find a pool near you with morning hours. You should probably combine those workouts with other types of activities, but waking up early will be a lot easier if you at least start with something you don’t dread.
10. Make plans to enjoy your evenings
One of the best things about being a morning workout person is that your evenings are completely free. You can do whatever you want, because you already got your exercise in for the day. If you want to make working out in the mornings a long-term habit, you need to prove to yourself that it’s worth it. Start paying attention to how you spend your evenings, and take advantage of those free hours. Spend more time with your kids, enjoy a hobby, or socialize with friends.
Like I said before, making the transition to being a morning workout person is not for the faint of heart. You need to be serious about your fitness goals and find a way to stay motivated. But I can tell you from experience that it’s worth it. The kids are asleep, there are no work obligations, and you can take time to focus on your health and happiness. You got this, mama!