I didn’t think it would happen. Ever. I knew they existed: the gym-goers who arrive bright and early, work themselves into a sweaty mess, and then clean up and make their way to work. It seemed like torture to me! I just could not fathom that I would ever become a Morning Person, let alone a Morning Exerciser. I had always exercised after work, so that afterward I could shower up and deservedly collapse on the couch for the evening when I got home. That worked for a while, but eventually I got frustrated at having a smaller amount of time to myself in the evenings, and having to cook/clean/etc. when I was exhausted from a day of work AND a gym session. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to make a change, and try working out in the morning.
I started my morning workouts during a week when my evenings were totally occupied, because I knew I would be committed to fitting my workout in, and therefore less likely to hit the snooze button. It was an intense week, but I didn’t burn out like I thought I would. In fact, I had MORE energy to accomplish everything on my agenda beyond my regular workday. Here’s what I learned:
- After a morning workout, the improved quality of the rest of my day was enough motivation to get myself out of bed early again the next day- and that cycle just kept repeating itself.
- I never hit an afternoon slump that tempted me to over-snack or over-caffeinate. After a morning workout, the day passed by without even thinking about it.
- Changing your schedule, like any other big changes, requires planning. Now, when I sit down over the weekend to plan meals and groceries, I also plan my workouts. I write down which days I’ll do cardio, which days I’ll do strength training, and exactly what exercises to do. I keep this note in my smartphone, so that I know exactly what to do when I get there.
- Being specific helps. Telling myself “I’ll workout at 8am” worked much better at getting me there than simply thinking “I’ll stop at the gym on my way to work.”
- It’s best to set yourself up to grab-and-go. At night, when I pack my lunch for work the next day, I pack my gym back with work clothes, a water bottle, and anything else I need. I even put everything near the front door – so that no matter how tired I am in the morning, I can throw on my workout clothes, and drag everything out the door behind me while I’m still in a zombie-like state.
- When in doubt, just get dressed. Every time I thought about skipping the morning workout, I put my workout clothes on anyway, and it gave me the motivation I needed. Something about my bouncy workout sneakers perked me right up. Another benefit of this trick is that if it doesn’t work, it’s a good indication that maybe it really is the right day to take a break.
Are you a Morning Exerciser? How does it work for you?