I love the idea of getting up bright and early, doing a series of sun salutations, then heading out on a five mile walk! I also love the idea of hitting the gym at 5:30am for the first class of the day and going about my day out feeling enthused and energized! Alas, I am not a person who loves exercise, or mornings!
It’s not that I object to early mornings, but I’d rather ease into the day gently with a large cup of tea and a book! And it’s not that I don’t like exercise, always looking forward to my daily walks and workouts and the difference it makes in my health. Yet, making a habit of early morning exercise isn’t an easy one!
If you are a lover of early mornings, then daybreak workouts might a cinch, but for many, it takes a large measure of grit to make the habit stick! Here are some tips to help you create a habit of early morning exercise from a person who would rather stay in bed!
Adjust Your Mindset
Early morning motivation can quickly flag when the alarm goes off at 5:00am and it’s still dark outside and everyone else is snuggled up in bed. Remind yourself of your fitness goals and the physical and mental rewards you’re bound to reap. I like to bask in the early morning peace and quiet, and the beauty of a sunrise. For an extra dose of incentive, get yourself a workout buddy or two!
When you make the commitment to make early morning workouts a habit, you need an action plan to make it a reality, especially when you're not a natural morning person! Review your gym’s class schedule the evening before and determine exactly what time you need get up and leave the house to make it in time. Always set an alarm and be resolved to not hit the snooze button! Remember, a good morning starts the night before!
Select Your Workout Clothes
Laying out your workout clothes the night before is a simple yet effective habit that can save you frustration in the morning when you’re still half asleep! Getting this out of the way in the evening affords you a few extra minutes of precious sleep, but also puts you in the right mindset for getting you up and moving the next day. To make life even simpler, make a habit of picking out your work clothes at the same time!
Other than your clothes, ensure that everything you need for your workout is placed by the front door for an easy grab and go the next morning. Think of the items you need, making a mental check list: pedometer, water bottle, yoga mat, towel, headphones, training gloves, gym membership… check, check, check!
Look for make-ahead breakfast options, such as batch-cooking a week’s worth of sausage patties, paleo waffles or pre-measured smoothie ingredients that you can quickly throw in a blender and go. Coffee drinkers, make sure you’ve programmed your coffee pot the night before. Ready to go breakfasts can save you a lot of time in the morning and take the stress out of getting yourself out of the door.
Go To Bed
If you’re getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the trails or gym, the last thing you need to do is to sacrifice sleep. Figure that your body functions optimally on about 8 hours of sleep, so make the adjustment of going to bed earlier the evening before to compensate for the early rise. A prolonged lack of sleep can place a lot of stress on your body and contributes to some serious health problems in the long term.
If you can push through the first week of early morning workouts, each subsequent week will get a little easier! In time, it’ll become a habit and something that you will look forward to each day, putting you in a happier mood and mindset as you go about your the rest of your day!