I am not a morning person. I never was and likely never will be. But, alas, the early bird gets the fitness worm.
I used to be jealous of my friends who got their exercise sessions out of the way before work. I exercised after my long day in the office. This meant if I worked late or had an especially stressful day, I skipped my workout.
After missing a few too many runs during training for my first marathon, I knew it was time I tried to get into a morning exercise routine. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And years later, I’m still getting up at dawn to sweat.
Here’s how I traded an extra hour under the covers for time with my running shoes:
- Program the coffee pot. One of the reasons my previous morning exercise attempts failed may have been because I was working out before having a cup of Joe. I need caffeine to function, so it only makes sense that drinking coffee pre-workout would make my exercise session more enjoyable. My stomach can only handle a few sips of coffee before a run, but it sure makes a difference. I also program the coffee maker the night before. It’s one less thing to do in the morning and the alluring aroma helps get me out of bed.
- Reward yourself. A simple incentive program may be all that’s needed to get into a new habit. If I wake up early to work out Monday through Thursday, I let myself sleep in on Friday. I look forward to that extra shut-eye every week!
- Make a date. Ask a friend to meet you at the gym so you can work out together. It will be a lot more difficult to hit snooze if you have someone counting on you.
- Prepare the night before. Set out your exercise clothes and work outfit, pack up your lunch, make your breakfast, and do anything else you can to prep the night before. This will save you valuable time in the morning and allow you to “sleep in” until the last possible minute.
- Give yourself a pep talk. When the alarm goes off, all you’ll want to do is stay in your cozy, warm bed. Remind yourself that you’ll never regret a workout, but you may feel disappointed the rest of the day if you sleep in.
- Change your perspective. Sure, getting up earlier may mean you’ll lose out on sleep (though you can counteract this by going to bed earlier). But a morning exercise routine can literally add minutes to your day. If you workout before work instead of after, you’ll only need to shower once.