Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tips for Becoming a Morning Exerciser


It's 5:15 am, still dark, bed is comfy, but you know you should be getting up to get in your workout. If you don't do it now, there's a chance it won't happen. But the pull of the bed is just too much to resist.

Sound familiar? I know that there are some lucky people who just bound out of bed before the alarm. Eager beavers happy and chipper. Then, there's the rest of us. Now, most of you probably realize that I get up early to run, so you're thinking that I must be a morning person right? Nope, not so much.

I'll do it. It's become a habit. Once I'm up and out the door, I'm happy that I did get up. That I did get my run done. Running or cycling on the trainer I can handle in the wee hours. Weights? No way. Not going to happen (safely).

So, how does a non-morning person become a morning exerciser? And should you bother trying?

I think there are some great reasons for getting up and getting it done. For one thing, it's done for the day. Nothing can come up during the day to interfere with the workout. You won't have excuses of a last-minute meeting or dinner date or just being too worn out. Nope, it's done. Got that covered.

Starting your day with a workout can really set the mood for the day too. If you're a runner, there's not much that beats watching the sun come up to put you in a happier mood. Those endorphins will wake you up so much better than any number of cups of coffee could.

I'm going to start off by saying that I am not a morning person. I do not bound out of bed. I am not excited about hearing birds chirping, about getting ready for work. I'm grouchy, grumpy and not quite pleasant. But, I do it. I've figured out how to make it happen. But it wasn't easy, sometimes still isn't.

For the longest time, I could only manage getting up early for runs maybe 3 times a week. During the colder months it's easier to make excuses too. I know that it's cool enough to run at lunch or after work. Oh and it's so dark and cold too. But during the summer? That's not much of an option. It's quite simply too hot here. By mid-summer, we're thinking 82 degrees at 5 am is "cool." I also have found that once I got into a routine of getting up early, it's easier to continue that routine rather than switch it up seasonally then have to start all over again for the summer months.

Here are just a few tips that helped me transition to a morning exercise person (note: I didn't say morning person):

  • Start by setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier than usual then gradually increase.
  • Go to bed earlier, turn off electronics and all distractions. If reading makes you sleepy, read for 30 minutes or so.
  • Set out your clothes the night before - including the clothes you'll be wearing to work. 
  • If you're doing weights, be sure that you've written out your workout so you're not wasting time.
  • Have your water bottle already filled and ready to go. 
  • Make an exercise date with a friend to help keep you accountable but to also make it more enjoyable. 
  • Be consistent. Don't wake up at 5 one morning then 6:30 the next. 

What are your tips for becoming a morning exerciser? Are you a non-morning person who's managed to transition to morning workouts?