Since we’ve moved, and the gym is now less than a minute walk from our front door, I’ve felt the urge to attempt morning workouts again. I used to work out in the morning, when I didn’t have to get up too early to get to work. But with an earlier starting job, I started sleeping in as long as physically possible before having to get up and go to work. And then I would work out in the evening when I got home.
But here’s the thing. By the time I battled my way through traffic, arrived at our apartment, climbed the three flights of stairs to our front door, collapsed on the couch for 20 minutes, got changed, went to the gym, came back, showered, made dinner, ate dinner, and cleaned up, it was like 8:30 or even 9:00. And at that point all productivity had left me for the day, exhaustion had set in, and all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and catch up with our DVR. I would waste a LOT of time doing nothing because I just couldn’t kick myself back in to gear at 9:00 to do anything productive. And seeing as I’m trying to go after my dreams, build a blog, and write as much as possible, I can’t really afford to be unproductive. So I decided to make a change. I started waking up earlier in the mornings. Early enough to get in a workout, some quiet time with the Lord, and still make it to work on time.
The first day was brutal. The second – not much better. But by the end of the first week of early mornings, I felt my body begin to adjust. Just this morning I woke up thinking, maybe I’ll just skip today and sleep in a little bit longer, but when I tried to fall back asleep, I couldn’t! so I just got up and carried out my new morning routine anyways. And now, I’m glad that I did, because I feel so much more awake and focused at work, and I also know that I will have lots of time when I get home to work on the blog, write, cook and eat a healthy dinner, and hang out with James. Pretty much a win-win situation there.
And while I haven’t officially developed a habit [I really do think it takes 21 days to create a habit] I am definitely on my way to doing so. But there are some things that have helped me be more prepared for that early morning wake-up call, and I thought I would share some of those tips with you now. So, if you’ve ever wanted to start working out or getting up earlier in the morning, here are 9 tips to make that goal a reality:
1. Sleep in your workout clothes. Or if that grosses you out, put them right next to your bed, or on the bathroom counter. Sometimes just the thought of having to get up and fumble through a few drawers worth of clothes to find shorts and two matching socks is enough to keep you in bed. Trust me. I know.
2. When the alarm goes off, don’t push snooze. Let it continue to buzz it’s annoying buzzing noise until you are up, or at least have turned on your bedside lamp. If you push the snooze, you’ve already gone past the point of no return. [Unless of course you’ve allotted time for the snoozing to go on before you actually have to get up…not like I’ve done that before or anything]
3. Pick a really good book to read. Or if you’re more of a T.V. watcher, pick a great show to follow. I like to always have a good book to read on my Kindle, so when I’m trying to convince myself to get out of bed, I think about how I get to read that great book while I’m running or elipticaling, and sometimes that thought is enough to get me up. Seriously though, this one might just be me. Because only crazy book people would be excited to get up early and go the gym just so they can read more of their book J
4. Download some new tunes the night before, so they are ready to go to the gym with you in the morning. Just like a great book can inspire you to get out of bed, a new playlist of tunes can work the same way. Plus, it’s always good to switch things up a little bit – variety helps create some excitement in your everyday workout routine.
5. Speaking of variety, don’t always do the same workouts. If you always do the same thing, you’ll get bored easily, and you won’t want to get up to go and do the same old boring workout that you always do. At 6:00am, it definitely won’t sound fun. So switch things up. Do some running one day, and strength training or biking another. If your gym offers fitness classes, those can be fun ways to switch up the daily routine and try something new in a group setting. The social aspect of the classes can also provide motivation to get out of bed.
6. Set yourself up for success. Go to bed at a decent hour [I know this can be a tricky one] so that you’re not going to be exhausted when you get up. Drink plenty of water the night before, and then again when you wake up so that you’re properly hydrated. Be mindful of your diet and try to develop healthy eating habits throughout the day. If you’re going for weight loss, muscle gain or increased athletic performance getting the right nutrition is especially important. There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in the time and effort to get up for an early workout, only to not see any results. Set yourself up to succeed by consciously focusing on your fitness goal.
7. Find an accountability partner. If there’s someone waiting for you at the gym in the morning, you’re going to be more likely to show up. Or, if you can get your husband to go along with you, that’s always helpful as well J Either way, having a gym buddy to endure those early morning hours on the treadmill with helps make an early morning workout seem much more enjoyable.
8. Don’t think about it too much. When the alarm goes off, just get up and get going. Don’t think about how tired you are, or how you’d rather just stay in bed. Later, after you’ve made it through the workout and you’ve gotten on with the rest of your day, you’ll be happy you got up early to do it. But initially, don’t think too much – you might convince yourself to stay in bed longer.
9. Give yourself some grace now and again. No matter how strict or dedicated you may be, there are going to be mornings when you just don’t want to get up. Maybe you’re sore, or you didn’t get enough sleep, or you’ve just been really busy and could use some extra zzz’s. Don’t sweat it. Take the day off every now and then. Just get back in the routine when you’re feeling better, and ready to conquer your morning workout. We all need a break once in a while!
What are some tips you have for getting up early in the morning? What works for you?