How to Exercise in the Morning (And Like It)
Every so often, it will be 4:30 am on a Friday morning and I will be sitting in my car in the driveway debating on whether or not my spin class will miss me if I don’t show up.
Actually, it is most Friday mornings.
Because I fit training and fitness instruction around a full time job, I am often given the times that no other sane human would decide to be up, in exercise clothing and sans coffee. Somehow, life has thrown a schedule to me where sleeping in is 5:45 am on a week day and 6:30 am on a weekend. [My mother likes to cheerfully remind me that I will adapt perfectly to having an infant someday.]
I haven’t always loved mornings. And some days I still don’t. But I have found some clever little tricks to fool my body into thinking it is thrilled to be up in morning darkness until I get a surge of endorphins to carry me through the rest of the day.
1. Try to get to bed at a decent hour.
2. When that inevitably fails, make sure everything is 100% ready to go for the next morning before you go to bed. I have been known to sleep in my sports bra and padded shorts so I can literally roll out of bed, grab my clip ons and drive to the gym. If I am running a trail or two, I have the shoes by my bed and my garmin laid out so I can hit the road 5 minutes after waking if I want.
3. Invest in a coffee maker with a timer so you can wake up to the smell of fresh coffee. Coffee is one of the best legal ways to dope in sports and I take full advantage.
4. Have someone or something that holds you accountable.What keeps me going when I just want to stay at home and conveniently “forget” that I was supposed to be teaching a 6 am class is something that happened this winter:
It was weather like this:
Roads and schools were closed. I had been in a car accident 2 weeks earlier and totalled my car. I inched to the gym, passing vehicles going 30 km an hour and arrived half way through the time my class should have started. I taught what I could and afterwards, a woman in the back came up to me and said, “I was awake listening to the storm last night and was wondering if I should come this morning or not. But then I remembered it was you teaching and I KNEW you would be there.”
So now I am plagued with the paranoia that they think a lot higher of me than they should considering I think about bailing on them almost every Friday.
But having a friend meet you (if you can find one as crazy as you are) or having a group waiting to be instructed is a safety net to make sure it HAPPENS.
5. Bribe yourself. Before you write me off, it is a sad reality that I can be convinced to get out of bed before a rooster just because there is Starbucks waiting for me at the end of my workout. Some call that a problem, I call it success.
But seriously. The real question is WHY should you exercise that early in the morning? Well, if you aren’t a morning person and have tons of time – don’t.
I am speaking to the many people who are here who I know are busy and if you are following a training plan for a marathon or have some goals you want to tackle head on, sometimes a morning workout is the best time of day as there is rarely a soul to bother you and it is amazingly quiet. (I sound quite introverted for an extrovert). But it is the one time of the day I claim as MINE. I don’t need to worry about answering my phone or email because everyone else is asleep.
Another benefit is you are up, moving, full of endorphins and then your workout is over for the day. Life can happen. You are more likely to be consistent with it if you have a routine going where no one can bother you.
A final word: Big breakfasts. Because you can.
If none of this has made any difference, watch this and feel epic about morning workouts.
Have a fabulous weekend. May it be full of endorphins.