Everyone has different times of the day in which their body functions the best. For a lot of athletes and fitness enthusiasts, that time is bright and early in the A.M. There is a reason for this; studies show that working out first thing in the morning leads to consistency, better sleep and weight loss. There are many other reasons people choose to workout first thing; mine are as follows:
- I workout about 2 hours a day; 1 hour cardio and 1 hour strength training. I choose to split it up and do half in the morning and half in the evening. I know that if I can get in at least half of my workout in before I go to work, when I get busy later, I don’t have to worry about it. Knowing I only have half my workout left to complete at the end of the day takes off a lot of stress!
- Working out in the morning is a great way to get your metabolism going. Do you ever notice how after you workout you are hungry? It is because you just burned a ton of calories! When you burn calories first thing and replenish them right away, you are sending your body the message that this is how it is going to be all day. Burn, replenish, burn, replenish, ect.
- You can get your energy out on a workout before you get it out somewhere else. Work days can be tough and it happens more often then not that work can exhaust you leaving you with no energy when you get home. When this happens, sometimes the last thing you want to do is workout. When you already have gotten your workout in first thing, you don’t have to worry about getting home exhausted only to have a half-effort workout or no workout at all.
- Working out first thing gives you more energy throughout the day. It might sound contradictory thinking you would be exhausted after a workout but in fact, you should feel more energized. Once you get those endorphins going, you should feel happy, full of life and full of energy. The perfect way to start a day!
- You make better decisions. When you get such a great calorie burn in first thing, the last thing you want to do is mess that up. Mentally, you should want to eat better throughout the day knowing you already put in too much time in at the gym that morning to screw it up over a fattening lunch.
So, for those that are not naturally morning people, it may take some work to get yourself trained to get up with the sun and get a good workout in. Here are some tips for you to try so you can start getting A.M. workouts in. I promise you will be glad you did – no one regrets going to the gym, they only regret NOT going.
1. Slowly start moving up your bedtime. If you normally go to bed at 1 am, don’t think you can all of a sudden go to bed at 10 pm and fall asleep right away. Try crawling into bed 30 minutes earlier each night for a week. Once you are finally backed up to your desired bed time, stay consistent with going to bed at that time every night so your body clock gets used to crashing as soon as the lights turn off.
4. Eat some breakfast. If you aren’t used to waking up early, you may find that you do not have much of an appetite first thing in the morning. If you are going to go workout though, you do need to give yourself a little fuel so try eating something small like a piece of fruit. You will find that just giving yourself a bit of carbs, your metabolism will get working and your body will wake up and be ready to go.
5. Pick a realistic workout. If your gym is 15 minutes away and you are already giving yourself limited time to workout, maybe try doing an at home DVD. If you didn’t sleep well the night before and wake up tired, maybe don’t go try to do an intense 75 minute kickboxing and stick with yoga or some light strength training. On the other hand, if you wake up ready to go, maybe give a local boot camp a try where you can really sweat it out. No matter what, pick something that you know will work for you and be realistic enough for you to complete. If you do enough bad workouts in the morning you will hate it and give up, so take that option out of the equation and do something you know you can do. You have plenty of time to get up to those intense sweat sessions, we are just talking for starters here.
6. Bribe yourself. Yes, you read that right, bribe yourself. If there is something you know you will want to do later in the day (get a mani/pedi, treat yourself to Starbucks, watch a T.V. show, ect) tell yourself that you can spend the time later in the day doing what you want to do if you make yourself get up early in the morning to workout. Not only does this help in the short term, but it also helps teach you that working out takes time and when you get it done early, you all of a sudden have an extra hour later in your day to do something else.
7. Share your plans. As humans, we don’t like to fail. When you tell someone of your workout plans for the next morning, you are more likely to stick with it and keep with your work. The last thing you are going to want to do is tell them you slept through your workout when they ask the next day.
8. Be consistant. I wake up at the same time every day – even on weekends. Your body naturally develops an internal alarm clock and when you train yourself over and over to get up at a certain time, you will begin to wake up at that time without a struggle. It may sound extreme to not sleep in on the weekends, but sleeping in messes with this internal clock. Your body needs to be trained to know you need to get up at a specific time and be ready to go.
If after trying these tips you still can’t get up in the morning, don’t stress and give up. The key is being consistent so as long as you are getting in a great workout whenever and wherever that works for YOU, you are well ahead of most others. ♥