Transforming into a Mostly-Morning Person

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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”.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

51 Comments on Transforming into a Mostly-Morning Person

  1. Lori (Finding Radiance)
    March 10, 2011 at 8:38 am (10 years ago)

    I used to be an evening exerciser, but over the years it has changed to mornings. At first because I was running and it was cooler in the summer to run in the morning.

    Then I realized how great it was to get the exercise in and only need one shower for the day!

  2. Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    March 10, 2011 at 8:41 am (10 years ago)

    I am a morning person IF I’m on a schedule. If not? I’m a nothing person haha. Ideally I’d sleep in until 7-8 a.m., eat a nice big breakfast, read the interwebz, then go work out around 10-11. GAH I would love that!

  3. Lindsey
    March 10, 2011 at 8:43 am (10 years ago)

    I love this, I too am transitioning to mostly morning workouts and I find that the hardest part is just rolling out of bed.

    I often sleep in my workout clothes the night before so I just have to put my shoes on before I head out the door.

    Thanks for the extra motivation to get up early!

  4. megan
    March 10, 2011 at 8:51 am (10 years ago)

    I would love to transition to a morning exerciser, but I already get up at 5:45 – I would have to get up at at leave 4:30 if I wanted to work out! Also, do you grab some breakfast before you work out? What kind of bfast? Do you eat again when you’re done with your workout?

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 9:30 am (10 years ago)

      Hi Megan! I don’t normally eat before I workout because I literally roll out of bed and go. If I’m doing a long run (always on the weekends) then I will get up and have breakfast beforehand, but I’m I’m doing 5 miles or less, I don’t worry about it. I do eat right afterwards. I’ll usually have a glass of milk right when I get back to my apartment, then shower and get ready and then have real breakfast.

  5. Amanda
    March 10, 2011 at 9:04 am (10 years ago)

    If I could workout at any time I think it would be between 9-10 as well. I don’t like to have a lot of food in my stomach if I’m going to do a hard workout. I usually workout on my lunch hour so anytime between 11:15-1:00. That works too but sometimes getting a workout in on your lunch hour takes so much effort. And I look like a hot mess when I get back to work.

  6. Lauren @ Chasing26
    March 10, 2011 at 9:08 am (10 years ago)

    I’m definitely a morning workout kinda girl. MWF is up at 4:30 to be at CrossFit by 5. Our 5am class has almost sold our CF owners to adding a TR class, and we’ll all be there for that too.

    If I put it off to the evening, too many other things get in the way. Dinner, kids activities, class, etc. It becomes too easy to skip the workout. There are fewer distractions in the wee hours of the morning.

    If I didn’t have to work, I’d workout a little later — 8 or 9 probably.

  7. Katie Photiadis
    March 10, 2011 at 9:08 am (10 years ago)

    I really like this post! I am more of a morning person than a night person, and I think I would prefer exercising earlier rather than after work. However, my work starts so early that I would have to wake up before six to workout. Not sure if that’s happening =)

  8. Liz
    March 10, 2011 at 9:18 am (10 years ago)

    Now that I can workout at lunch, I have completely gotten out of the habit of working out in the morning. I really want to get back into it though! It will be much easier when its warmer, because that plays a factor in my decision (since I don’t have treadmill access in the morning) and it will be light out!

  9. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    March 10, 2011 at 9:28 am (10 years ago)

    I alternate between morning and evening workouts. I basically just do whatever is going to fit in with my schedule…if I know I have no plans the next night, I will set me alarm for later and sleep in a little. In my ideal world, I would be able to sleep until 8am everyday and then get up and workout.

  10. Holly
    March 10, 2011 at 9:29 am (10 years ago)

    I am a midday exerciser — right after I get done with work, and then afterward I have dinner. I so want to exercise in the morning but I just cannot get my butt out of bed early enough. But this post gives me hope 🙂

    I would love to have my evenings free — how wonderful!

  11. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    March 10, 2011 at 9:32 am (10 years ago)

    I love working out in the morning. But lately I haven’t been able to pull myself out of bed. 🙁 But it is definitely my favorite time to work out. More energy throughout the day, all my time is free after work, and just feel better in general.

  12. Kylie @ A Hungry Spoon
    March 10, 2011 at 9:33 am (10 years ago)

    YAY for turning yourself into a morning person! I’m hands-down a morning exerciser myself–that alarm goes off at 5:58am every weekday morning, and I’m usually doing squat jumps with Jillian or Jackie Warner in the living room by 6:05am! I always set up whatever DVD I’m going to do the night before, so all I have to do is hit play when I roll out of bed. It’s worked so well for me for the past few years because I can’t avoid the workout or put it off the rest of the day.

    Congrats again on joining the morning side 🙂

  13. Emily
    March 10, 2011 at 9:43 am (10 years ago)


    I’m all about the morning sweat. It makes me feel so good for the rest of the day and I’m never very motivated to workout after work when I’m hungry and it’s dark outside. Here’s to sticking with it!

  14. Marci
    March 10, 2011 at 9:49 am (10 years ago)

    I became a morning exerciser about one year ago exactly, and agree with all your points! For me, it was mostly about the weather in Houston. So much cooler in the morning in the spring than at night. And I loved having nights free, not rushing around, and feeling accomplished in the morning. I also like how you’re “mostly a morning person” because you get days when it just doesn’t work.

  15. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    March 10, 2011 at 9:50 am (10 years ago)

    I’m trying so hard to become a morning exercise person. The times I do it, I’m so excited to be able to go home and just relax. Last summer when it was super hot in August I ran in the morning because there was less exhaust in the air and it was easier to breathe.
    I’m hoping bootcamp will get me back into that routine.

  16. amanda june
    March 10, 2011 at 9:52 am (10 years ago)

    This is a toughie for me. I love the idea of working out in the morning and getting it done right away, but my body HATES morning workouts. The getting up part isn’t the worst — it’s the actual workout. I just drag the whole time.

    Physically, my prime workout time is between about 7-9pm. But mentally I’d much rather get it done earlier in the day!

  17. Erin
    March 10, 2011 at 10:09 am (10 years ago)

    This is so what I needed to read! I’m been trying so hard to be a morning exerciser, but all my intentions go out the window when the alarm goes off. But, I realize I just have to MAKE myself get up, and at least, based on your post, it gets easier??? I guess I’ll find out. Thanks for the motivation 🙂

  18. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean
    March 10, 2011 at 10:17 am (10 years ago)

    congrats on making yourself a morning person…i’ve tried before with no success, but really, my heart wasn’t in it! i may just have to try again 🙂

  19. Theodora
    March 10, 2011 at 10:17 am (10 years ago)

    So here’s a question. In this whole getting-used-to-working-out-in-the-morning thing, have you been cranky at night because you got up earlier?

    Asking for, uh, a friend 😉

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 10:21 am (10 years ago)

      Ha. Tell your friend not really, and it actually makes it way easier to fall asleep at night! =)

  20. Amanda
    March 10, 2011 at 11:03 am (10 years ago)

    I wish I could be a morning exerciser. I already get up at 430 everyday to work, my commute is an hour and a half each way. I definitely wouldnt rush to leave work to get to the gym and enjoy my evenings a lil more!

  21. DefineDiana
    March 10, 2011 at 11:30 am (10 years ago)

    I love working out in the morning before work. I love coming into work and feeling like I’ve accomplished so much already when others look like they would still be snoozing. I definitely think it makes me more productive during the day.

  22. Rachael
    March 10, 2011 at 11:50 am (10 years ago)

    I am so not a morning person, there is nothing worse than waking up to an alarm clock. I am a night owl. In school I studied into the wee hours. At work I would volunteer for the late shift (3pm-11pm). But since October 2010 I have been getting up early, like 5 am to exercise. I like having my workout done. I like having the evenings to relax or meet up with friends. I sleep better when I exercise in the morning. I am becoming a morning person.

  23. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    March 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m an official morning convert, too! Not every wake up is fantastic, but I usually feel twice as good as I normally would by the time I’m done with the workout…

  24. Jacqueline Lewis-Lyons
    March 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m a morning person. I love getting up around 6:30 to exercise. It get s my blood flowing, puts my brain in gear, and just makes me feel good knowing that my day has started well. It also helps that I try to catch up with a friend at the gym a few times each week. I usually do a second workout after work – yoga or strength training a couple times a week.

  25. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    March 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm (10 years ago)

    I’m usually a morning exerciser, except one day a week when I work out with a swim team at night. Love. It. The gym is so much less crowded. A key for me is to have EVERYTHING for work packed the night before and pre-workout fuel prepped in the fridge. That way, by the time I have a chance to reconsider, I’m already halfway to the gym/pool.

  26. Sam
    March 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm (10 years ago)

    I used to love working out in the morning before I started my job as a teacher. I have to giggle at the time your alarm clocks were set. My school starts at 7, so I normally get here at 6. So the idea of pre-work workouts just is not happening anymore 🙁 Of course school is released at 2, but rarely do I get to go home then. I know I could probably workout later in the day, but after breaking my foot during my first (and last marathon) last year, running has been only a dream. But congrats on the early morning runs! It is awesome at that time in the morning! 😀

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm (10 years ago)

      Hi Sam! I know I’m lucky I have a super short commute to work and don’t have to be in until 9/9:30. I also am very speedy at getting ready in the morning – it only takes me 20 minutes to shower, get dressed, and get out the door!

  27. Lisa
    March 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm (10 years ago)

    So jealous. I’ve never been a morning person. I’ve tried several times to switch to working out or running before work and it just never stuck. It was such a struggle.

    For about a year I was running at lunchtime. That was GREAT. I loved having my evenings free. I spent more time with friends and Michael and I did more fun things after work. I miss that.

  28. Megan
    March 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm (10 years ago)

    hahaha i like that you made a bet with yourself! i’m thinking of babysitting during the week after work a few nights a wk (ironically so the mom can go to the gym) and i thought well if i do that, i’ll kind of HAVE to work out in the mornings sometimes if my tues/thurs or mon/wed are booked with sitting. i’m going to re-read this post when i really decide to do morning workouts. i LOVE love love the free time at night. “well i ALREADY worked out, so i have the whole night ahead of me!!” it’s thrilling. & it’s the little things 🙂 great post beth!

  29. Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
    March 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm (10 years ago)

    Beth, your tips are wonderful- mighty practical actually. most people indeed set themselves up for failure by going to bed late or sleeping through their alarm..or even like you said too, hitting the snooze button because the alarm is an arms reach from their beds… no wonder they can’t get up and workout. my favorite tip you gave is treating yourself to a nice prepared healthy breakfast and some coffee (especially coffee) to pump you up.

    ps. you REALLY are beautiful after a 5 mile morning workout!! <3

  30. Sarah S.
    March 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm (10 years ago)

    I also recently started working out in the mornings. I came to the realization that if I didn’t do it then, it was not going to happen. I’m a stay-at-home Mom so I get it done before both my boys wake up and then have some coffee, it’s some nice “me” time to start the day.

    Just wanted to say too, I just started reading your blog. I do WW as well and it’s been nice to get some “real food” tips from your blog. I love the new plan and your weight loss is a total inspiration!

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm (10 years ago)

      Hi Sarah – Thanks for your comment and I’m so glad you found my blog! That’s a great point about it being “me” time. With so much going on in our lives, I love having my workouts to be totally for myself – one of the few times during the day where I have that option!

  31. Amanda @ Martinis At Six
    March 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm (10 years ago)

    I tend to be a “whenever I have the time” exerciser. I wish I had time in the mornings though, but with an hour long commute and an 8am start time, its just not working for me right now. On another note, I just found your blog and I really like it!

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm (10 years ago)

      Hi Amanda! I am lucky that I don’t have to wake up super early to get a workout in. I mean 6:40 FEELS early, but in reality there are so many people who have it much, much worse. So glad you found me! =)

  32. Ang
    March 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm (10 years ago)

    The timing of this post is amazing! I usually get up at 8 to be at work at 8:30. Then I’m a zombie til at least noon. Well I had to get up way earlier than usual this a.m. to run some errands for my dad and I noticed that I got tons more work done and I haven’t been dragging as bad! So I mentioned it to my friend and she’s convinced me to do a 6 a.m. spinning class tomorrow! Now fingers crossed I’ll be getting up early tomorrow!

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm (10 years ago)

      You’ll be so awake and alert when you get to work tomorrow! Let me know how it goes!

  33. Groff's Girl
    March 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm (10 years ago)

    I am for sure a morning person!! I always feel sluggish and just worn out if I try to get my exercise in after work! So in order to be a morning person when it comes to exercise, I am out the door for my run between 4:33 and 4:43am. If I am working out at home with the Shred or Yoga, I start at 4:45am. It always feels like I am cheating at the end of the day because I feel like I should be exercising in the evening…which helps on my double days, but it is still easier to do it in the morning so I have the evening for my family!!

  34. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    March 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm (10 years ago)

    I am def. a morning exerciser. It can be a struggle to make that initial leap out of bed, but once I am done – it gives me thebest feeling for the rest of the day!

  35. Beth
    March 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm (10 years ago)

    Nice! Morning workouts always feel so fantastic and definitely like you’ve accomplished something for the day. I like to alternate mornings and evenings, though, so I can treat myself into sleeping “late” until 7:00 some mornings.

  36. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    March 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm (10 years ago)

    I am, 110%, a MORNING exerciser! I love getting my workout done first thing and it sets such a good tone for the rest of my day!

    I don’t get up EARLY 5 days a week to workout though, more like 3-4 (I have to get up at 5:15 in order to squeeze my workout in before work!)

    • Beth
      March 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm (10 years ago)

      5:15! Ouch! I only work out 3ish times during the work week, so that’s what I’m talking about too – not 5!

  37. happywhennothungry
    March 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm (10 years ago)

    I get up at 6am now for my new job so I can’t workout in the morning, but I get out so much earlier so working out after work is not too bad. I’m with you though! My ideal workout time would be 9-10ish in the morning!

  38. Monica
    March 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm (10 years ago)

    I am a huge fan of morning workouts and feel fortunate that I have been for awhile.

    I learned that the early sweat session, regardless of the activity, put me in a positive, more calm mindset for the rest of the day. Something about burning off stress and steam in the morning made everything much more manageable.

    In my dream schedule, I think I would still be a 5:30/6:00 a.m. workout person. I just like getting it in early before the rest of the world is up and moving. Plus it makes me feel so accomplished. 🙂

    Great job evolving your workout habits!

  39. Paige
    March 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm (10 years ago)

    Seriously, morning workouts FTW. Totally sets the tone for the day, and you start it off feeling so accomplished and good!

  40. sarah (sarah learns)
    March 12, 2011 at 11:22 am (10 years ago)

    these are such great tips! i would love to get back into the habit of working out in the mornings. i did it for a while, but i got out of the habit and haven’t gotten back into it since then. now i’ll try again! 🙂

    i love getting my workout done first thing so that the rest of my day is so free!


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