Would you rather have your teeth pulled than work out at 6am? You’re not alone. In fact, a year ago, I would have definitely chosen oral surgery. These days though, I prefer to workout before the sun rises! People who work out first thing in the morning tend to be more committed to their routine. It’s a time of day you can devote entirely to yourself, before the calls, emails and other distractions start to fill your time. I find I’m much less likely to come up with excuses if I get my sweat in before most other people are even up. It will take some shifting in your schedule, but the benefits are worth it.
Go to bed early.
This may sound obvious, but it’s essential. If you’re used to going to be late, don’t suddenly turn in at 9pm. You’ll only be frustrated that you’re not able to go to sleep and end up doing more tossing and turning. Instead, back your bedtime up by 15 minutes per night until your body adjusts. I tend to go to bed between 9 and 10 and get up at 5. It’s the perfect 7-8 hours. The way my life goes, if I stay up later, I tend to just waste time watching TV or scrolling through social media. If I shift the time I sleep and spend those extra hours awake in the morning, I am much more productive during that time.
Set one alarm, and get up when it goes off.
Snoozing is your worst enemy here; it only delays the inevitable. Decide what time you need to get up, and set your alarm for that time. Don’t play the game of “I’ll set my alarm for 5:30 and if I feel like working out I’ll get up, but I have a back up alarm for 6.” This gives you an out, and if you have an out, you’re very likely to take it. Commit to getting up when that one alarm goes off. The hardest part is pulling your head off the pillow, but once you do, you’ll be just as awake as you would be 30 minutes later.
PRO TIP: Set out your outfit the night before, including socks, accessories, and any products you need to get ready at the gym plus a change of clothes. Pack your bag before bed and it’s one less thing you have to leave time for in the morning.
Figure out your food.
Don’t like to eat before a workout? Then don’t. I know you’ve always heard that you should eat right when you wake up, but if it’s not going to sit well when you start to move your body, you’re definitely better off skipping it. I prefer to just have coffee in the morning, and have breakfast after my am class. If you wake up starving, give your body some fuel to get you through! Sometimes it depends on what you eat the night before, and how late you eat it. Listen to your body here. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works for you.
Ok, this one is crucial. You may feel tired in the afternoon, especially if you’re adjusting to a new schedule. Do your best not to sleep during the day. Doing so will only make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, and then it’s harder to get up the next day and you only end up being more tired. Cue vicious cycle. When the afternoon slump hits, get outside, go for a walk and have a healthy (read: NOT sugar-filled) snack. All of these things can give you a boost to get through the end of your day. You’ll be grateful when you get into bed early and can go right to sleep. Bonus: after a week or two, your morning workout will actually give you MORE energy throughout your day.
Once you’ve adjusted to your new schedule, the hardest part can be when social events come up in the evenings. Staying up later than you’re used to makes for a challenging morning. Maybe you skip your workout the next day, or maybe you choose to battle through it and suffer during your day feeling exhausted. Either way, don’t beat yourself up about it. Life is all about balance and sometimes that means the occasional weeknight cocktail outing. Try to go to bed at your normal bedtime the next night and get right back to it! One fun night is no reason to give up on a routine you’ve worked hard to commit to. I used to be a total night owl and thought I could NEVER be a morning person. Turns out these things aren’t hard-wired; it just takes a shift in routine!