Earlier this year, OYS writer Melissa put together a post addressing the top 3-exercise hurdles OYS readers’ experience. We identified these hurdles simply by asking readers, who follow our Facebook Page, “What keeps you from exercising”? There were plenty of responses but it was no surprise that “lack of time” was the number one hurdle. We all live very busy lives and sometimes it seems impossible to find even an extra 30 minutes to schedule in a work out. I understand.
The solution that works best for me is exercising in the morning. 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.
I recommend exercising in the morning for two reasons. First, it gets exercise out of the way before a million excuses start to form and, quite frankly, before I shower. Once I shower and start my day I will not be working up a sweat. Regardless, I can’t even tell you the number of times I would plan to exercise after work. Then 5:00pm 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.
The second reason I like to exercise in the morning is 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 7:00am!
If you think exercising in the morning could benefit you then here are 7 tips that can help you start a morning exercise routine.
#1 Pick a realistic time
It is often tempting to set my alarm clock for 4:30am so I can have my workout and shower done by 6:00am. However, that is not realistic or sustainable for me. Trust me I have tried many times. A time I can stick with is 5:30am. This allows me to get the proper amount of sleep and still enough time for a solid 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 6:30am – 7:30am is exercise time then make sure nothing else takes priority.
#2 Get a good night 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 5:30am 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 10:30pm. Any later and I will struggle waking up in the morning.
#3 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 work out gear. The number of times I went back to bed because I could not find my ear buds 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!
#4 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 getting 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 know what those exercises are going to be.
Not having a plan will just waste the precious time you have in the morning. You can view my weekly exercise schedules here. As you can see all of my exercises are done in my home. Therefore, I don’t need to plan for travel time to a gym. I have a treadmill and use resistance bands and 5lb weights. It’s not heavy duty but just enough to keep me in shape. If time is an issue for you I highly recommend creating a home exercise routine in place of going to the gym.
Here are some awesome routines OYS writer, and fitness instructor, Melissa put together.
You can see all here exercise posts here.
The take away point here is to wake up with a plan. Having your exercise routine in place beforehand will make all the difference with keeping you focused and following through.
#5 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 that 10 minutes I will drink water, 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.
#6 Put together a motivating play list
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. I highly recommend taking the time to put together a playlist specifically to listen too when exercising.
#7 Exercise often
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 exercising 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.
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