Working out in the morning is a perfect way to start the day. You’ll feel fantastic when done and you’ll be full of energy to tackle the coming day. On top of that, according to research, people who work out in the morning are more likely to stick to their routine. So there are quite a few advantages to exercising in the morning. However, when you’re barely awake and cozied up under covers, it’s difficult to choose working out over hitting the snooze button for another hour. But if you have decided to become an early bird, here are a few tips on how to start working out in the morning that will make waking up in those early a.m. hours a bit easier and less painful.
13 Tips for Waking Up Early to Workout
1. Go to Bed Earlier
You won’t be able to start waking up early if you’re not getting enough sleep. So try to aim for the expert-recommended 7-8 hours. If you’re planning to wake up 6 am for the workout, try to be in bed by 11 pm. Go to bed any later and you’ll struggle waking up for the workout.
It’s also essential to have solid, consistent sleep over the night and this means keeping good sleep hygiene. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, don’t eat anything heavy or drink alcohol too close to bedtime. Also, keep the bedroom at an optimal temperature and make sure to turn off all your electronic devices before you get into bed.
2. Place the Alarm Out of Reach
If your alarm is within reach by the bed, it’s all too easy to just hit the snooze button repeatedly. To prevent this, keep your alarm or the phone across the room. This will force you to get up and turn it off. By then, you’re already up and so there’s no more point in hitting the snooze.
The alarm tone should be enough to wake you up but not so alarming that it gives your mind a sense of emergency. The latter will just stress you out and will leave you feeling sluggish the rest of the day.
3. Set Your Gym Clothes the Night Before
You want your morning routine to be as easy as possible. This means the fewer decisions you have to make in the morning, the better. So prepare your gym bag the night before. Pack all the essentials. Include a fresh set of clothes, a bag for the sweaty post-workout items, etc.
Lay out your gym clothes by the bed. Some people even like to sleep in their workout clothes. Think of anything else you need to bring – car keys, phone, headphones. If you’re going straight to work after the gym, also pack everything you need for work.
This routine of having everything ready will eliminate any excuse to skip the workout will help you stay more organized and will give you a few extra minutes of sleep.
4. Prep Your Meals for Before and After Workout
For an effective workout, you want to be well-fueled. This means eating a nutritious breakfast that is full of protein and healthy fats. You can prepare overnight oats or make a smoothie to keep in the fridge. Whatever you choose for breakfast, make sure that it’s ready the night before. This will help you to cut time on getting ready for the gym.
However, some people might not have the appetite right after waking up. In this case, prepare a post-workout meal to keep your body fueled.
5. Create a Workout Playlist
Music is a proven motivator. A British study has found that music helps you both before and during the workout. So create a playlist of your favorite songs that are guaranteed to get you pumped. They will make your exercise more fun and will help you to power through your workouts.
6. Listen to Music While You Get Ready
Don’t wait till you get to the gym, get your headphones and turn on your playlist right after you wake up. As you get ready, the music will help you wake up and will get you into the right state of mind of a great workout.
7. Start Small and Buildup
One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to start exercising early is being too ambitious. Don’t start with a marathon session or an intense workout right off the bat. This will only lead to burnout and you hating the exercise altogether. Instead, start slow and steady. Create a reasonable routine by incorporating 2-3 workouts a week. Later, you can increase it as you build your strength and stamina.
8. Workout Near Your Home or Office
If your gym is too far out of the way, you’ll have plenty of excuses to skip the workout. So choose one that is the easiest to get to. Or if you workout in the outdoors, also try to stick close to home or office. This will make it easier to squeeze in time for the gym and you’ll have no excuses not to go.
9. Have a Workout Buddy
Having a friend on board will make it a lot more difficult to skip your morning exercise. There’ll be a person waiting for you to show up and that will motivate you to get out of bed. You’ll feel guilty if you bail. On top of that, it’s a lot more fun working out together.
Alternatively, you can join a workout group. This will allow you to meet new friends that will keep you accountable and with who you can encourage each other.
10. Find the Exercise That You Enjoy
Exercising doesn’t have to be miserable. It should be challenging, of course, but it shouldn’t stress you out.
There’re plenty of workout options to suit every need and preference. You might be into super intense weightlifting, circuit training, a sweaty group class, yoga or a run through the park. See what is available near you and test those options out. Find what works for you and what you enjoy.
11. Have a Contingency Plan
There’s always the chance of unforeseen obstacles. For example, the weather is bad or you just don’t have enough motivation to go to the gym. So have a backup plan for those situations. It’s cold or raining outside but you were planning to go for a run, do 30 minutes of yoga instead. Tired of the elliptical, find another exercise you’ll enjoy. Having a backup plan, you’ll still be moving even if your plan A falls through.
12. Reward Yourself
For your morning workout routine to become a habit, it needs to be associated with a positive reward. For example, if you haven’t skipped a single day at the gym this week, treat yourself to a day at the spa or that pair of shoes that you’ve been eyeing for a while. This will encourage you to keep on going and reach your fitness goals.
13. Use an Accountability App
You can use online to communities to connect with people that have similar fitness goals. Surrounding yourself with people with the same goals will motivate you to keep on going. Alternatively, there are different applications that you can use where you have to log your progress. This will help you to keep track of how far you have reached on the way to your goals.