It’s time to say “sayonara” to the snooze button.
Even though experts claim that the best time to exercise depends on your schedule and your body, the odds are still in favor of morning workouts. I mean, really, who wants to say no to happy hour?!
Here are five ways I finally motivated myself to kick off the covers and make the shift from night owl to early bird when it comes to working out:
1. Adjust your attitude.
For years the excuse that I “just wasn’t a morning person” kept me from fully committing to morning workouts. But then I realized that even the earliest of birds aren’t necessarily always keen to wake up and hit the gym first thing.
It may sound corny, but it works: fake it ’til ya make it! Don’t expect it to be easy, but do expect more consistency, progress and success with your training when you prioritize it — and, ultimately, yourself — as the first accomplishment of the day.
2. Shift your schedule.
Previously, my MO was to sleep in as late as possible. Workouts would (or wouldn’t) get slotted in on the way home from work, then by the time dinner was made, eaten and digested, it was late and I’d push the alarm back to catch a few extra z’s.
What finally made a difference for us was deciding, as a family, to eat earlier (usually around 6 or 7 p.m., as opposed to 8 or 9 p.m.). This had a reverse domino effect on our day; evenings were longer, we got to bed at a decent time, and getting up an hour earlier became doable.
3. Remove any roadblocks.
Getting up from the warm cocoon of my bed when it’s dark and cold out is nearly impossible. Solution? I throw open the shade and adjust our thermostat to come on about a half hour before we wake up so it’s a more inviting atmosphere.
I also make sure to work through any other potential sticking points — whether it’s picking an outfit, getting my gear together or deciding which route I’ll take, etc. — ahead of time. Tee up the essentials, and the question isn’t whether or not you’ll work out, but when.
4. Use positive reinforcement.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am not above bribery when it comes to getting myself to morning workouts. And my currency of choice? Coffee (along with the occasional pastry or biscuit — just #keepingitreal; you’ve gotta find what works for you).
If it’s a long run, sure, I’ll have a cup beforehand to get things moving. But if it’s a shorter jog or I’m cross training or strength training, never underestimate the power of that caffeine-fueled carrot: a lovely cup o’ joe.
5. Reap the benefits.
Lest you think making the switch to morning workouts is a chore (case in point: all those “change this” or “don’t do that” ideas above), it’s important to recognize that there’s a pretty awesome payoff: Being able to reclaim my evenings was nothing short of life-changing.
Because, let’s face it, when you’ve got to choose between a workout vs. a last-minute girls’ night, networking event, work dinner or even date night, we all know the odds aren’t in favor of going to the gym. Get it out of the way first thing and feel empowered that you ran your day (literally) instead of it running you.