Getting to the gym or out for a jog can be tough during any time of day – but it becomes a bit easier once you’ve established a routine. The same goes for hitting the gym early in the morning before work or weekend obligations – if you follow a routine, you’ll probably stop dreading getting up with the birds and embrace the benefits of a morning workout.
Lifting weights or doing cardio early can help set the tone for the rest of the day, while boosting your mental and physical energy to help carry you through your work duties. Here are seven tips to help ease you into early morning exercise…
1. Have a Workout Buddy
In an article from PopSugar.com aptly titled “How I Learned to Love Morning Workouts,” it suggests having someone to join your morning workout routine for motivation. The basic premise is that if someone else is also getting up early to meet you (at the gym or for a jog or walk) then you’ll be much less likely to skip out on it and leave them hanging.
Of course, you’ll probably also have the added benefit of having someone to cheer you on, motivate you, and even be a spotter at the gym so you don’t injure yourself lifting weights. You might also enjoy the extra feeling of security of jogging alongside a friend before the lights come on in the morning.
2. Wear Workout Clothes to Bed
If you literally want to hop out of bed and start exercising, rather than wasting valuable time and energy on getting changed, then you might want to consider sleeping in your workout outfit, suggests Women’s Health magazine.
That also means you can add 20-minutes or so to your sleep cycle, which could help give you the push you need to get through your workout. Don’t worry about sweating in your workout clothes overnight or even showering first, because you’re theoretically going to be working up a sweat anyway. Another trick is to lay out your workout clothes the night before so you can slip right into them.
3. Picture Your Workout
MeaningfulHQ.com says you should “picture yourself doing tomorrow’s workout today,” to help you envision your success whether it’s lifting heavier weights or exceeding your previous jogging distance.
The source notes you could also keep track of your workouts to gauge your progress (using an app called Evernote as a checklist in this example), and to help you go over the next day’s exercise routine so you go to sleep with visions of endorphin rushes in your head.
4. Lose the Snooze
The snooze button on your alarm clock is one of your biggest enemies when it comes to becoming a morning exerciser. It’s so easy to tap your alarm clock or phone when it goes off, that it’s almost second nature for many people.
However, instead of hitting the snooze button, you could open your phone and view workout photos and videos (the source geared to women suggests searching the #TIUteam hashtag) for an instant boost of inspiration, suggests ChalkBoardMag.com. Or, you could put your alarm clock across the room to force you to get out of bed and turn it off.
5. Use Mints
Apparently this is a popular trick to get people out of bed and into workout mode. Sources explain that stashing mints in your nightstand in a clever way to give you a little boost when you alarm goes off – pop a mint as soon as you hear it.
“The sugar in the mint will excite your brain and the mint itself will liven up your tongue’s taste buds and nerve endings,” explains the Regional Fitness Center. It adds this technique is also a quick and easy way to freshen up your morning breath.
6. Have Fuel Ready
Just like you can save time by having your workout clothes on (or at least ready), you can do the same thing for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be a full-breakfast; you can prepare a healthy smoothie the night before and have it chilling in the fridge for you at 5 a.m.
Greatist.com notes you can also have a smoothie delivered to your home – this way you have an extra reason to get up to receive the order. Also, it points out that being to first one to the door will help prevent the other early risers in the household from enjoying your morning pick-me-up.
7. Give Yourself a Reward
Getting up early and exercising can be rewarding in itself for the boost in fitness and mood, but you can also help form a habit of doing this if you give yourself a little reward afterwards, notes Pop Sugar Fitness.
We’re not talking about a 5-course meal or anything lavish, but a small iced latte could be reward enough. “I’ve found that if I promise myself a slightly sweet, strong, and milky cup of deliciousness on the way to work if I hit the gym first, it’s easier for me to face the day knowing that a treat is coming my way,” notes the author of the article.