Before getting married and starting a family, I (Kalie) was a diehard night owl who always exercised after work. Fast forward to some major lifestyle changes—a husband, two small kids and a house filled with loads of laundry—and nights aren’t exactly my time to shine. By the end of the day I’m lucky if I don’t have baby poo in my hair. I’m utterly exhausted and the last thing I feel like doing is exercising.
Can you relate?
Why mornings are the best time of day to exercise
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t always been an early riser. But because days are now jam-packed, filled with endless things to do and my attention is torn in a multitude of directions, mornings are just about the only time I can get in an effective workout.
Even though it’s not always ideal (yes, there are days when I hit the snooze button, sometimes more than once), I’ve found that mornings work best for a few reasons.
- There’s no time for excuses – you simply “rip off the band-aid” and get it over with.
- You’re able to exercise, distraction free, before your family’s feet hit the floor.
- You check off an important task from your to-do list and it’s immediately off your mind.
- It gives you a big boost in energy, right off the bat.
- It helps jumpstart your metabolism.
- You head into the day with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
So that it doesn’t feel like an unrealistic task, here are a few practical ways you can fit exercise into your morning routine.
One of the most difficult aspects of exercise is that it takes energy and motivation. While you may find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media on occasion, you’ll probably never find yourself mindlessly wanting to do a mountain climber. Without a plan and getting into a routine, it just doesn’t happen.
First things first, set an alarm, plus a second alarm 5 minutes later.
Set a specific, motivating title to each of your alarms. “Alarm” isn’t something that you’re going to look at when you’re sleepy and get excited about. Use a slogan like “Sexy sweat sesh time!” Then, keep your alarm (or phone) away from your bed so you have to actually get up to reach it. Why two alarms? Because multiple alarms ensure that you won’t fall back into a deep sleep.
Pop into a plank.
This may sound a little silly but a great way to ease into things is to pop into a plank as soon as your feet hit the floor. Turn off your alarm and plank for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before you do anything else. You’ll already feel a sense of accomplishment, it’ll help to wake you up and leave you wanting more!
Turn the lights on, literally.
This is one of the best ways to wake up! If your spouse is still sleeping, set your things on your bathroom vanity so you don’t worry about disturbing them. If you’re really anti-a.m., you can also wash your face with cold water.
Get everything out and ready the night before.
- First thing in the morning nothing can get in your way but yourself. Because your mind is already tired, it’s easy to make excuses. When you get things ready the night before, you eliminate many of those excuses, plus you waste less of your already-limited time.
- If you’re heading to the gym: Have your clothes ready, gym bag packed (granola bar included) and your water bottle out on the counter, ready to go.
- If you workout at home: Pick out your outfit, have your water bottle filled in the fridge and your yoga mat already laid out in the living room (or wherever).
- If you’re going for a run: Set out your clothes, keys and headphones so you can stretch and quickly head out the door.
Get dressed ASAP!
Once you’re dressed, you’re 80% more likely to exercise. That means toss on your exercise attire first thing… no walking around in comfy sweats and socks while you turn on the coffee maker or eat a quick brekki.
Keep it positive.
Come up with a mantra that you can say to yourself every morning when your alarm goes off and while you’re getting dressed. Think of WHY you’re getting up to work out and the value in it. Some simple sayings:
- It’ll be worth it.
- Take action TODAY.
- You got this.
- I can watch things happen or I can make things happen.
- I’m going to take charge and create my own success.
- I’m going to make the right decisions today and be grateful for the healthy body I have.
- Trade in comfort for change.
- It’s about sweating with my soul and awakening my mind.
- I’m stronger than I think I am.
Think about your after.
When you’ve successfully said your mantra a few times, visualize how you’ll feel after you’re finished. “Each sweat sesh, whether 2 minutes or 20, is an amazing accomplishment that I’ll feel good about.”
Prep a small brekki.
If you’re planning on a more strenuous workout, have something light and simple waiting for you to eat to provide energy. Some favorites:
Plan your workout the night before (and make it convenient).
When you’re looking at an early wakeup call, the last thing you want to do is crawl out of bed and plan a workout. Have the length and type of workout planned so you can get out of your house, or get started, within 15 minutes of waking up.
- Scheduling your weekly workout plan is a powerful way to create a morning habit. Are you working out at home? Going on a run? Heading to the gym? Which days will you exercise and for how long? Even if it’s just 10 minutes, schedule a SPECIFIC TIME and TYPE and then hold yourself to it like it’s an appointment.
- Monday: 10-minute run at 6:00 a.m.
- Wednesday: 30-minute home HIIT routine at 5:45 a.m
- Friday: 45-minute spin class at 5:30 a.m
- If you’re working out at home, map out your routine or have the video you’re going to follow already pulled up so all you have to do is hit play.
Pick a form of exercise you actually like or an area that you really want to target!
Spoiler alert: I haven’t always been a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed momma in the morning! To gain motivation, I started out by incorporating 30-minute workouts that focused on my core. Because I was focusing on an area of my body that I really wanted to improve, I didn’t struggle as much to find motivation to turn on my core-crushing video and get started.
Set a goal for 10 minutes.
Everyone can do 10 minutes. After the first 10, you’ll either feel absolutely amazing and want to keep going or you’ll finish up feeling good because you accomplished something. Win, win!
Try it for 2 weeks.
Small, SPECIFIC goals lead to less stress, less fear, and ultimately, more success! When you’re new to the morning workout world, the biggest hurdle is staying motivated for the first 2 weeks. Make a commitment to stick with your morning sweat seshes for 2 weeks, no more, no less.
It’s all about consistency.
It’s no secret that you’ll probably be tired the first few days. That’s why change is so difficult, it’s something different, unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable (at first!!).
Stay the course and give your body time to adjust. Once you settle into a morning routine, you’ll notice how much better you feel physically and mentally. You’ll feel less stressed, more grounded, more focused and more empowered. If you skip your morning routine, you’ll probably notice that you won’t have as much energy throughout your day.
Don’t overthink it.
Finding time to exercise can be challenging, no matter what phase of life you’re in. The most important thing is to squeeze in whatever length workout you can, whenever you can. But, if you want to ensure you get in a daily sweat sesh, a few minutes first thing is the best way to do it. The more time you give yourself, the more you’ll find reasons to talk yourself out of it and tell yourself “you’ll start tomorrow.” Rip it off like a band-aid.