I’m not a morning person – and never have been. It’s just too difficult to find motivation when your bed is so incredibly comfy. If you’re reading this and can relate, just know that there is hope.
When I first started, much like many of you, I literally Googled how to become a morning exerciser. While there are some good tips out there, I’ve modified a few to fit what works best for me. I hope you take my tips below and do the same.
1. Avoid caffeine. If you are an all-day caffeine drinker, try your best to avoid caffeine after noon. Caffeine has a half-life, which can really mess with your sleep system. If you begin to feel tired, drink a glass of water or take a brisk walk instead. Coffee pot or vending machine still calling your name? Just think of how energized you’ll feel tomorrow with a solid night’s sleep.
2. Prep for the AM. Every night, I set out my gym clothes and pack my lunch for the following day. I’ve built it into my kitchen clean-up routine by packing leftovers in a re-sealable container. This way, you don’t sacrifice any precious time in the morning that could distract you from meeting your fitness goals.
3. Get to bed on time. If you set your alarm to wake up on time every morning, why not do the same at night? Find a consistent bedtime that works for you and aim for 7+ hours of sound sleep. If you have an iPhone, check out the Bedtime feature on your Clock app. It's an awesome tool that can track your sleep each night and remind you when to go to bed.
4. Weight loss won’t get you out of bed. Weight loss is an accomplishment that happens over time. Focus instead on the immediate benefits of exercise: more energy, a healthier perspective, less stress and better sleep at the end of the day.
5. Start with a full charge. I recently read a book that challenged me to think of motivation and will power as having a battery life. If you find yourself faced with mundane, easily-avoidable tasks (i.e., exercise), why not face them head-on first thing in the morning?
6. Snooze – but don’t lose. I give myself three snoozes, five minutes apart – on the third one, I count down from ten. When I get to zero, I have to get up. It’s also a smart idea to keep you phone (and your goals) just out of reach. That way, it’s a challenge to shut off the alarm.
7. Don’t overthink it. When my alarm goes off, I don’t think of exercise, itself. I will myself to think about how my day will progress after I’ve exercised and how successful I’ll feel knowing I’ve started the day right.
8. Avoid unnecessary tasks. Splash some water on your face, change clothes, fill up the water bottle and get out of the house! I don’t truly begin to concentrate on my work out until I’m in the facility parking lot and know that I am fully committed.
9. Show up to the gym like you would for any other appointment. Do your best to plan a variety of workouts – this will help you work multiple muscles in your body and reduce the risk of feeling bored or tired of the routine. I personally enjoy fitness classes because there’s structure, variety and less for me to worry about!
10. Keep it in perspective. Worst case scenario – you sleep in. Even if it only amounts to 10-15 minutes of activity, don’t shortchange yourself just because you’ve overslept. A short workout is still better than nothing.
See? Mornings aren’t so bad! It took time to embrace the mindset of an early-riser, but over time, I’ve begun to feel a new sense of energy and a clear perspective that follows me after my workout and into the rest of my day.