Raise your hand if you love to sleep. Okay, now raise your hand if you love waking up for early morning workouts. We’re going to take a guess that we lost a few people on that second one. Leaving the confines of your cozy bed and tackling a bleary-eyed morning workout is a task that can feel, to put it politely, arduous. Some of the most successful guys in the world swear by it, though.
We know not everyone is a morning person. And even fewer of us are eager to wake up and hit the gym. But getting up and moving can actually be an amazing way to start your day — for most of us, it’s just a matter of how. Yes, you can turn yourself into an early riser. But not overnight. And just in case you think this isn’t for you, we’ll let you in on a secret: Some of these pros aren’t morning people either. If they can do it, so can you.
This is not just personal preference either. There are many reasons why getting up and moving your body first thing in the morning is a must. An early morning workout offers numerous benefits, both to your health and to your daily schedule, that exercising at other times of the day just can’t provide. Yes, you will have be disciplined to wake up early. And yes, you have to be focused on achieving an effective workout, not just go through the paces in a zombie-like state.
It just takes a little time and practice before morning exercise becomes your habit.
Check the weather
Not only will you know whether to grab your toughest rain gear or not, but glancing at the weather can begin getting you in the mindset for a workout—even if it’s not outside. That’s because you’ll be “setting your brain” on anticipation mode. That makes it easier to get going in the morning.
Plan the entire day tonight
If you want to have a great early morning workout, then you can’t concern yourself with all of the tasks you have to get done throughout your day. You have a bunch of responsibilities at work, your kids have practices and games, the yard needs to be mowed, etc.
If you have a checklist of things to do tomorrow, commit a few minutes tonight to plan out when you’re going to take care of those tasks. Schedule them down to the hour.
This practice of addressing those issues now will serve as a form of validation that they will be done. And that can go a long way in helping you take care of the first task on your agenda, training.
Put your alarm far away
If you can reach your alarm (or phone) while lying in bed then it’s too close! If you have a hard time waking up in the morning, set a loud alarm and place it all the way on the other side of the room. A gentle buzz from a cell phone beside your bed won’t cut it. Force yourself to get up.
Pick a realistic time
It is often tempting to set my alarm clock for 4:30am so I can have my workout and shower done by 6:00am. However, that is not realistic or sustainable for me. Trust me I have tried many times. A time I can stick with is 5:30am. This allows me to get the proper amount of sleep and still enough time for a solid workout. If you pick a time that you can never stick with then you will find it very difficult to create a routine and habit around that.
Once you pick an early morning time to exercise then protect that time. It is easy to get off track doing other things. However, if you decide 6:30 am – 7:30 am is exercise time then make sure nothing else takes priority.
Choose your outfit
Part of your workout gear pile should be what you’ll wear, including socks and underwear. Having absolutely everything ready doesn’t just shave off a few minutes in the morning, it’s a signal to your brain that you’re doing this. You eliminate excuses that might come up otherwise
Have a light ready
Bright lights first thing in the morning will shut off your brain’s melatonin release, signaling it’s time to wake up. Either have a light near the bed, or be ready to grab your phone and look at it on a bright setting. Not only will that help you wake up faster, but she says that it will also make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
Go to bed on time
Once you have everything set out and ready, it may be tempting to think you can stay up later since you’ll be saving time in the morning. Resist. Going to bed at the same time every night helps you set up a habit that makes you feel more rested in the morning. That boosts performance for your workout.
If you’re not a morning exerciser and you think you might be missing out, then I have a challenge for you…
Grab your calendar and schedule what time and what type of exercise you’re going to do in the mornings for the next week. If you can make it through one week of morning exercise then you can do it again (and do it – put it in the calendar!). Then do it again for the following week…and again…