I’ve been hesitant to publish this post because I don’t want to jinx it, but here goes nothing.
I think I’ve officially transformed myself into a mostly-morning exerciser. (!!!)
This is a huge deal for me because I have never been a morning person. When I was little, my mom used to have to coax me to life in the mornings with a warm washcloth over my face before I would even imagine facing the day. It’s funny because “facing the day” back then meant getting up, eating the breakfast my mom made for me, and then going to school, usually with a ride from her because I was always running late. I had it good.
Fast forward to present day, “facing the day” means taking on quite a bit more. Going to work, paying bills and rent, cleaning the house, working out, cooking, grocery shopping, running errands, getting my oil changed… I could go on. The idea of adding anything else to my plate before work started used to make me cringe, but lately I’ve realized that I just don’t like getting up, whatever time it is. Sleeping for an extra hour does not make me feel any better about having to get out of bed, so why not just suck it up and get up earlier?
Before recently, I would only ever sporadically wake up to get my workout done in the morning, mostly when I had obligations at night. But for the past several weeks, I’ve been consistently getting up before work to get my workouts done. This change started off with a super busy week where I had stuff going on every single night after work, so I had to get my workouts done in the mornings if I wanted to get them done at all. Because I’m on a pretty strict training schedule, not getting in my runs was not really an option, so I sucked it up and made my cranky self get out of bed for one week straight.
After that week where evening workouts were not really an option, I woke up to my pre-set alarm on the following Monday to do The Shred without even thinking. I went on with my day and soon realized I had no plans and nothing to do that night except relax, make dinner, or whatever else I felt like. It was wonderful. I made a little bet with myself to see if I could get up the next day to get a run in before work. I won.
Ever since then, I’ve been fairly consistent with waking up for morning workouts for the last several weeks. I love working out in the morning because:
- I feel like I’ve already gotten something big accomplished almost as soon as I get out of bed
- I normally am a little groggy at the beginning, and then by the time I realize what’s going on, the workout is already almost over!
- It’s so great to have my evenings free to do whatever I want or need to do. It used to be a big production if I had to go grocery shopping during the week because I’d have to go home, workout, shower, eat, go grocery shopping, and then wouldn’t get home until around 9pm or later and I hadn’t even had a moment to relax yet.
- It keeps me on track by starting my day off on the right foot.
- I head to work feeling ready to face the day, rather than groggy. I’m also in less of a rush to leave work right at 5, so it makes me more productive.
- It puts me in a good mood.
I know I look awesome after running 5 miles first thing in the morning.
Back in November, I wrote a post with some tips for working out in the morning, but I wanted to refresh it and add a few things to the list of what has worked for me.
- Set TWO alarms just a few minutes apart in case you sleep through the first one. I started setting one at 6:37 and 6:41 (don’t ask) and it has worked like a charm.
- Place your alarm away from your bed or across the room. It’s too easy to ignore it if you can turn it off from under the covers.
- Make it as easy as possible for yourself. Set all your clothes out (including socks, sneakers, sports bra, Polar gear, water bottle, ipod, etc). I usually put everything in the counter in the bathroom so I can just go in there and get geared up easily.
- Don’t give yourself the option. I think the big change in making morning workouts a habit rather than a luxury was telling myself I HAD to do it. Instead of “Let’s see if I can wake up,” I told myself “I am waking up in the morning to work out”.
- Have a specific plan and mentally get yourself ready for it! If I just want to “work out” and don’t have an actual plan like doing The Shred, running X miles, or doing yoga, I find it a lot harder to get motivated to get out of bed than when I have a specific plan in place. This is especially easy now since I’m training for a half marathon and my workouts are pretty mapped out.
- Go to bed early enough that waking up is reasonable. This is pretty self explanatory, but don’t set yourself up to fail by staying up way too late the night before.
- Make sure you don’t work out later the evening before. Two workouts in 12 hours can be rough on the body and you might not be refreshed enough to get a good workout in.
- Reward yourself! I always try to have a delicious breakfast or coffee already brewed as soon as I get back from my workout, so that it gives me motivation to not only get up, but keeps me thinking about it the whole time I’m working out and helps the time fly.
Are you a morning, midday or evening exerciser? If you could do it at any time you wanted (not worrying about work, other people, picking kids up from school, etc) what time would you work out? In my ideal world, I would work out around 9 or 10am so I could have the best of both worlds – sleep in a bit, have some coffee, then get my sweat on.