Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | August 10, 2011

Early Morning Workouts Are Not the Devil

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Do you ever have just a great morning workout that puts you in a wonderful mood and makes your whole day better? I definitely did this morning (which is great because it’s been a bit of a frustrating day otherwise) thanks to a kick-butt spin class. My 5:30 a.m. spin class.

Maybe you’re rolling your eyes right now with the mention of  “morning workout” and “wonderful mood” being placed in the same sentence. You may be scoffing and thinking, “Ohhhh, you’re one of those people.”

Yes, I do set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. on most weekdays to go to the gym, but I will be the first person to tell you, it ain’t easy. It’s not all lollipops and sunshine, but it does start your day off in the right direction.

I go through periods of time, sometimes that last weeks, where I can NOT get out of bed before 7 a.m.  and the thought of going and sweating it out with a bunch of strangers (no doubt judging me) just sounds like a joke. Usually it’s because I’m not sleeping well, not eating well, or am having trouble getting to bed at a decent hour (like before 11 o’clock).

Usually I can force myself to drag my behind out of bed to do a video workout or even just a little floor work a few times a week, even when I am totally exhausted or unmotivated. This perseverance helps, even when you completely fall off the wagon.

There is no secret to success for morning workouts though, because they are more a matter of making them habit. Not many people do morning workouts because they love getting up at the bum-crack of dawn (or earlier in my case). They do them, because they have to, for whatever reason.

And despite how many times you’ve tried and failed, you CAN do it too!

I have tried almost everything to make working out in the morning easier. So I’m sharing the wisdom I’ve picked up through a series of trial-and-failure scenarios with you.

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How To: Make Morning Workouts Part of Your Routine

  • Schedule It – Even if you think that anything before 8am doesn’t need to be put on your calendar, just the act of writing it down in a place you regularly look adds a certain amount of accountability and pushes you to follow through on this important “appointment.”
  • Plan Your Workout – In addition to getting your workout on the calendar, you also should plan out what you’re going to do ahead of time. Whether you create a whole month or week, just know what you’re doing by at least the day before. Rolling out of bed at 5 a.m. and asking yourself what you feel like doing will result in you falling back into bed and resetting your alarm.
  • Prepare the Night Before – Take all the prep work you do for your day in the morning and move it to the night before. This includes: laying out your workout clothes and gear,  making your lunch and breakfast, ironing your clothes and placing the pet’s food out on the counter for easy access. This gives you more time in the morning and eases your mind so that you know you can workout and won’t have to rush to get things in order.
  • Get to Bed “On Time” – Everyone is different in their needs for sleep. For some people, anything less than eight hours is a recipe for disaster, for others six hours is perfect. Figure out your optimal sleep needs, set your alarm for the wake-up time needed in order to squeeze in a workout, and than count backwards 10, 8 or 6 hours. Got that? Now go back another 30 minutes (buffer window). That is your “on time” bedtime. For me, it’s 9:30 p.m. and I usually don’t actually fall asleep until 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. still, but I wake up well rested at 4:45 a.m.!
  • Shut Off the TV/Computer – Despite how much you may enjoy falling asleep to your favorite TV show or like working on your laptop before bed – SHUT ‘EM OFF. Studies have long proven that these devices impact the quality of sleep you get. Quality over quantity applies for sleep too!
  • Don’t Hit the Snooze Button – I know it’s tempting to snooze your alarm, just for ten minutes… then another ten minutes… then – Oh crap! It’s 7 a.m.! Avoid hitting the snooze button and simply turn on your light and get out of bed when your alarm goes off.
  • Listen to Energizing Music – Music has the power to affect your mood and outlook. Create playlists with energy pumping tunes that will serve as an inspiring workout soundtrack.
  • Suck It Up for 21 Days  – Just 21 days. That’s the accepted average number of days that it takes to make something a habit. Really push yourself to get to the gym in the mornings for three to four weeks. Once you get to the end, it may not be highly enjoyable, but it should be easier.

Even with all these tips, you’ll hit a hypothetical “wall” at times when you just can’t do this. It’s OKAY. Just get back into the morning routine as soon as you can. At some point you’ll stop mid-morning workout and realize, “Holy crap, I’m one of those people. ”

What tips do you have to get up and do morning workouts?

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