I know a big part of what I share with you all are my healthy recipes along with tips, hacks, and meal plans. But, for today’s post, I really wanted to highlight another big important part of my weight loss journey- exercise! If you are at the start of your journey and want to start incorporating exercise into your day, here are 7 tips to help you start a morning exercise routine.
It’s no surprise that “lack of time” is the number one hurdle when trying to start and staying consistent with an exercise routine. At least, according to the numerous Organize Yourself Skinny readers I talk to. We all live very busy lives and sometimes, it seems impossible to find even an extra 30 minutes to schedule a workout.
The solution that works best for me is an early morning workout. I know, with work schedules and other commitments, this might be difficult for some. However, if the only thing holding you back is a warm bed and sweet dreams, then creating a morning exercise routine is within reach – you just need to form the habit!
Reasons Creating A Morning Exercise Routine Is Super Helpful
I prefer to get in an early morning workout for a few reasons.
It gets exercise out of the way before the day begins, a million excuses start to form, and, quite frankly, before I shower.
I can’t even tell you the number of times I would plan to exercise after work. Then 5:00 pm would hit and I would be too tired to even think about getting in a workout. Not to mention, I needed to get home and feed my family. By the time all the nightly activities were done, it was time to pass out.
Therefore, if I don’t exercise in the morning, it won’t happen at all. The only excuse that keeps me from getting on my treadmill is waking up late. In my opinion, this is a much easier fix than trying to find an hour or two in the middle of the day or at night.
It starts my day on a positive note.
I use that time to think about life, solve problems, and just be in solitude. That one hour of exercise helps me stay focused and energized throughout the entire day. Feeling productive and accomplished is a priority for me. I need that. When I start my day with exercise, I feel productive, accomplished, and ready to take on the world – all by 7:00 am!
It starts my day by crushing a goal first thing in the morning.
I’m a big believer in how you start your morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. So, if I start my day with a sweaty morning workout then I’m more likely to accomplish other healthy goals throughout the day.
Favorite Exercise Gear for an Early Morning Workout
- Wireless Earbuds – Currently I have AirPods (I got them for free with my new computer) which I love! However, before I got AirPods I had this set I purchased for under $40 and they worked great. Regardless, wireless earbuds are an essential part of my exercise routine. I need them to listen to my shows, music, and podcasts.
- Sneakers – I own these Nike React Infinity Run Flynit Running Shoe. They are great for the running/power-walking routine I do on my treadmill. I’ve also owned this Asics running shoe that worked great too. I do prefer Nike but that’s just my opinion. Regardless, having a good pair of sneakers is super important. They provide a cushion to your knees and legs that will help prevent injury.
- Yoga Pants or Leggings – These leggings on Amazon or under $20 and are awesome! They are of great quality. The leggings stay in place when I run and are breathable. These leggings are also NOT see-through so you can feel comfortable doing those squats at the gym!
- Exercise Tops – I love loose-fitting racerback exercise tops. I have this one from Amazon in a few different colors. It’s under $17 and has great reviews.
- Sports Bra – A good sports bra, especially for my fellow large chested readers, is essential. I’ve tried many sports bras and my favorite brand is Nike. It’s a little on the pricier side being over $40 but it offers great control. And, if you’re a runner like I am then you’ll need a good fitting sports bra that offers control.
- Headbands – I like a thicker headband like this one by Nike.
- Water Bottle – When I’m exercising I like a squeezable exercise bottle that fits in the cupholder of my treadmill like this one by Under Armour
- Treadmill – I have a home gym set up in my basement. Nothing glamorous but it gets the job done. I own a Nordictrack similar to this model. It’s $600 which is a great middle-of-the-road price.
- Hand Weights – I own this Amazon Basics hand weights set and love it. It’s a great price for just under $30.
- Weight Bench – My husband bought me this Amazon Basics weight bench last year to help me with basic toning exercises. It’s just over $50. Again, nothing glamorous but it works perfectly for what I need.
What to Eat Before Early Morning Workout
When I exercise in the early morning, around 5;30am – 6:00 am, all I have is a cup of coffee with a couple of tablespoons of cream. Basically, I just need something to get me up and moving. I don’t eat until after my morning workout which is usually a healthy smoothie recipe or steel-cut oats.
However, if I work out a little later in the morning, or if I’m really hungry, I’ll have something like a banana or a couple of energy balls to settle my stomach but not make me too full. If I eat too much I run the risk of feeling bloated and getting cramps.
My advice is if you need to eat prior to exercise then keep it light. Have a small snack and then plan to eat a larger breakfast after you’ve completed your workout.
How to Start A Morning Exercise Routine
So, is morning exercise for you? If you think exercising in the morning could benefit you, then here are 7 tips that can help you start a morning exercise routine to start incorporating this week.
Pick a realistic time
It is often tempting to set my alarm clock for 4:30 am so I can have my workout and shower done by 6:00 am. However, that is not realistic or sustainable for me.
Trust me, I have tried many times.
A time I can stick with is 5:30 am. This allows me to get the proper amount of sleep and still enough time for a solid morning workout. If you pick a time that you can never stick with, then you will find it very difficult to create a routine and habit around that.
Once you pick a early morning time to exercise, then protect that time. It is easy to get off track doing other things. However, if you decide 6:30 am – 7:30 am is exercise time, then make sure nothing else takes priority. A great way to do this is with time-blocking.
Time-blocking is when you schedule certain blocks of time to specifically work or focus on something you want to keep a priority. For example, I have “exercise” scheduled into my calendar 5 times a week for 5:30am. I have reminders and alarms that go off so I don’t forget to exercise. I also have reminders set to make sure all of my exercise gear is ready the night before.
Get a good night’s sleep
This goes along with the first tip!
If you go to bed at midnight, not only will it be difficult to wake up at 5:30 am, it will be even harder to find the energy for a quality workout.
We need at least 7-9 hours of sleep to function at our best.
I know we all think we are superhuman and can survive on much less. However, we are looking to thrive, not just survive. So, we need our sleep.
My goal bedtime is 9:30 pm. Any later and I will struggle waking up in the morning.
Put out clothes, sneakers, and earbuds the night before.
This is huge! Trust me- the last thing you want to do after waking up is search around for all your workout gear. The number of times I went back to bed because I could not find my earbuds is embarrassing. Having your workout gear ready the night before will put you 10 steps ahead come the morning.
Also, plan to get into your workout clothes and put your sneakers on as soon as you wake up. This lets your mind know you are getting ready for a solid sweaty workout!
Plan out your exercise routine ahead of time.
Wake up each morning with an exercise plan.
- What exercises are you going to do?
- How long?
- Are you going to switch up exercises on certain days?
Having an exercise plan helps you get started and stay focused on your workout. However, don’t feel like you need to do an iron man workout every day. Even a little exercise is better than no exercise so do what can.
The point is to know what those exercises are going to be. Not having a plan will just waste the precious time you have in the morning.
I put together 4-weeks of exercise plans in my Organize Yourself Skinny eBook and 30-day Workout Bundle. These exercise plans are designed for everyday people, like me and you, to do in the comfort of our own home. You can learn more about the Organize Yourself Skinny Bundle here.
Having your exercise routine in place beforehand will make all the difference by keeping you focused and following through!
Give yourself a few minutes to wake up.
In the past, I would wake up and immediately drag myself down to my basement to exercise. I was barely coherent and many times this caused my workouts to be mediocre at best. When I gave myself 10 minutes to wake up, I became more alert and ready to exercise.
During those 10 minutes, I will drink water, have a cup of coffee, stretch, and start listening to my music. I know this seems very basic but it is these simple tips that have shown some of the biggest results for me.
Put together a motivating playlist.
The right music is essential to staying motivated during a workout – at least it is for me.
When I have high energy motivating music playing, I can run 30 minutes without thinking twice about it. I highly recommend taking the time to put together a playlist, specifically to listen to when exercising. Here’s a playlist I put together with my favorite songs to push me through the hardest part of my morning workout.
Whenever you are forming a new exercise habit the key is to do it often (at least 4-5 days) and for a long period of time (3-4 weeks). If you exercise sporadically, it will always feel like you are starting from the beginning.
Challenge yourself to stick with it!
When you begin waking up early to exercise it will be hard – very hard. You won’t want to do it and will probably have to push yourself a bit. However, after a few days, it will get easier. Then, after a week or so, you will wake up before the alarm goes off and look forward to exercising. After a few weeks, it will become second nature – exercising in the morning will become a habit.
Once you form the habit, you don’t need to be as strict. However, in my experience, keeping your morning exercise routine consistent will help sustain your exercise habit.
I say this all the time…IT NEVER GETS EASIER, YOU ONLY GET BETTER! Keep that in mind when things feel impossible or out of reach. You can do this!
If you like to exercise in the morning, what are your tips for starting and sustaining a routine? I would love to hear from people who go to the gym in the morning because that is an area I personally struggled with. Share a picture and tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you decide to try any of these tips for your morning exercise routine.