Waking up early to work out is not easy. It’s not easy for me, and I’m sure it’s not easy for most of you either.
In fact I go through phases where I am really good at this (usually in the summer when the sun is shining and the weather is gorgeous) and other phases where I’m horrible and just opt to sleep in instead (usually around this time of year).
Lately though, things have been a little easier for me. Ever since I started doing P90X back in early December, I have been making a real effort to get my workouts in before work, and so far it’s been working really well. I still wouldn’t call myself an expert at waking up early to work out (in fact, it usually only happens about 4 out of 5 weekdays) but I have improved a lot in this area and I thought today I’d share a few tips that have been helping me get my butt out of bed and into my workout gear.
1. Go to bed early. On days when I know have to wake up early to work out, I try to be in bed by 9:30 pm. I don’t actually fall asleep until closer to 10:00 or 10:30, but just being in the mindset of getting ready for bed earlier helps me feel refreshed and well-rested in the morning.
I know it can be hard to get into bed that early, but remember- if you worked out in the morning that day, you will have more time in the evening. For example, when I workout in the evenings I come home from work, work out for about an hour, make dinner, and then relax and read or watch some TV. By the time all that is done, it’s usually close to 10:30 or 11:00, and any chance of going to bed early is out the window. However, if my workout is already completed by the time I get home from work, then I have the whole evening to make dinner and relax, which leaves me with more time to hop in bed earlier.
Of course this doesn’t work every night, like on nights when there is a TV show on that I want to watch or when I’m with friends, but in general going to bed early is a great rule of thumb and really helps me wake up earlier.
2. Wake Up Energized. This is different for everyone, but I recommend trying to find a way to wake up that works for you, and leaves you ready to hop out of bed. Whether that means hitting snooze 10 times or setting your favorite song as your alarm, think of something that will make you happy and energized when you wake up.
I know some people like to set their alarm to their favorite morning talk show, so that when it goes off they want to get up and listen to it. Other people like to set their alarm to a random song from their iTunes, so that every day they will be surprised by what song comes on.
For me, I like using the Sleep Cycle app because it will only go off when my body is nearing it’s natural waking cycle anyway, or when my time is up.
Think about what will work best for you, and try it out. It might take a while to get it right, but in the end I think you’ll find that having a pleasant way of waking up will make a big difference.
3. Remind yourself it’s worth it. No matter how early you get into bed or how peppy your alarm is, chances are you’re still going to be pretty miserable when you have to get up. I swear the first 5 minutes of being awake are probably the hardest part of my day because I have to convince myself not to crawl back under the warm covers and go back to sleep for an extra hour. The one thing I do to really get myself out of bed is to remind myself that it’s worth it.
I remind myself that waking up again in one hour is still going to suck. Usually I find that when I go back to sleep I feel just as miserable in an hour, only I’ll feel even worse because I skipped my workout. Then I know my workout will be hanging over my head for the whole day, and instead of coming home from work with no obligations, I’ll have to work out. Blehh. Getting home from work and changing right into PJs is so much more enjoyable than getting home from work and putting on workout gear.
This is the most important rule for me when trying to wake up earlier. It’s what works 9 times out of 10 and leaves me feeling so much happier all day.
4. Start Slow. On those days when you are battling with yourself (go back to bed or suck it up and work out??) I like to start slow. First, I’ll stretch my muscles in bed and try to wake my body up. Then I’ll get out of bed and turn on the light. Having the light on helps tell my eyes that it’s time to wake up. Then I’ll go to the bathroom, check social media, email, etc. to get my brain going. Sometimes I’ll text a friend who I know is also waking up early to work out, or see a facebook status from someone else who is up early and braving the cold weather for a run (loooove when this happens).
Either way, when I start slow and take it one step at a time, it seems a little easier and makes it less likely that I’ll fall back asleep.
5. Be Consistent. Once you have successfully woken up early and made it through an early morning workout, you’ll feel awesome. All day you’ll feel energized and so happy that your workout is behind you. The tough part though, is that you will have to face the battle all over again tomorrow.
Why? Because after just one day of “sleeping in” your body will forget how it felt to wake up earlier and think that it’s ok to sleep one hour later. Maybe this is just me, but if I skip just one weekday morning workout, my whole week gets messed up. Usually if I skip an early morning workout it’s on a Friday, since I know that won’t really affect the rest of my week.
Once you are consistently waking up early, you’ll forget what it even felt like to sleep in. Mostly 😉
Anyway, these are the tips that work for me! I hope they help!
Question of the day: Do you work out in the mornings or evenings?