I have never been a morning person. Well, I guess I need to clarify that a bit, I am not a waking up person. That is really what it is. It does not really matter what time I get up, getting up and getting out of bed is not my favorite thing. This aversion to rising in the morning is why sometimes early morning workouts can be a challenge for me.
I am apparently not alone. At the last Bariatric Breakthrough Challenge I was hearing from a lot of attendees that they also suffer from this problem!
Once I am out of bed, I am fine, it is just that initial motion of swinging my legs around and actually putting my two feet on the floor and standing and leaving the warmth of my cozy bed that causes the hiccup. And yes it is worse in the winter. I have an even worse aversion to cold than I do to mornings. I am a true Southern Belle who has never lived in a state that does not border the Gulf of Mexico! I also suffer from “cold urticaria” which is awful. (Google that one for fun) So I really have to use these ideas as the weather gets a little colder.
For some of you, evening workouts are a regular part of life, and if that is you, these techniques really will not apply to you. Most of us have hectic lifestyles and so it really does make more sense for many of us to work out in the morning. I know when we plan an evening workout, it never fails that a baseball game, cross-country practice, or something else for one of the kids will pop up and get in the way. By the time we take care of the kids sports and other activities and make dinner etc., it is usually 8-9 p.m. and if we didn’t work out in the morning, it is likely not to happen.
Here are a few techniques that I use to help get my feet on the floor each morning.
1. Have a workout partner. For me it is my husband and I am really fortunate because every morning, when the alarm goes off at 5:15 and it is time to run, he jumps up, (yes he is one of those disgusting morning people) goes and makes coffee and brings me a cup and places it on my nightstand to entice me to get up. If you do not have one of those super-spouses like I do, just have a friend to work out with. if you make a date to meet a friend at either the gym, park, or just to walk around the block, you are more likely to go. I can tell you I would never want to stand up a friend or even my husband. Plan to work out with someone else and it will really motivate you. it will really help if your workout buddy IS a morning person. Have them call you and wake you up if need be. don’t be afraid to tell them you have morning issues and ask for help!
2. Set the alarm to the most annoying sound possible. If my husband is out-of-town or not with me for any reason, this really works for me.
3. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. This is a big one for me. Here is where my mental block comes in sometimes. I will wake up and think, “oh boy, not only do I have to leave this warm comfy cocoon, but i ALSO have to go find my workout clothes and make the trek to the laundry room. UGHHH!” We have a sofa in our bedroom and I just lay out everything the night before which makes it easy to get up in my zombie state and take three steps to the sofa and get dressed.
4. FOR THE SERIOUSLY MORNING-CHALLENGED- Sleep in your workout clothes. I know, this is extreme. BUT there have been times, especially in the dead of winter, where I will put on my workout clothes when I go to bed. Then all I have to do is jump up, brush my teeth and throw on my shoes and socks and GO. YUP, this was on days where my motivation level was just VERY LOW. I left myself NO EXCUSES. I had my clothes on and my hubby had coffee by the bed.
5. Go to bed an hour earlier. So many of us do not get enough rest and this makes it so hard to get up and exercise. we used to be late night people and never went to bed before midnight. Now we try to get to bed by eleven at the latest. this gives us that extra hour and it really does make a difference. our bodies need rest and most of us do not ever get enough sleep. There is a HUGE difference in how hard it is for me to get up and run when I get to bed at 11 and when I stay up until 12. BIG DIFFERENCE.
6. Prepare a small snack the night before. We keep protein bars on hand. You can also mix up a protein shale and put it in the fridge. anything quick and easy that will give you some protein, and a few good carbs for fuel. If you have easy things on hand it is easier to NOT have an excuse NOT to workout. I also like to mix some protein powder, like Very Vanilla Chike, into that first cup of coffee. That gives me the boost I need. If I am doing a longer run or tougher workout, I will do more, like a half a protein bar or something like that.
7. Remind yourself how energized exercise makes you feel. Remember that the first 10 minutes or so always are the worst. if we are doing a basic 3 miles jog, the first mile is always killer, and then we loosen up and it feels great. You have to battle past the initial fatigue and then when endorphin’s kick in, you will feel amazing! We always leave the house in the dark feeling exhausted because our schedule is so hectic and busy, but by the time we make that turn back into our neighborhood for the cool down walk home, we feel so energized and ready to tackle the day.
Finally, do not set your goals too lofty. If you have never been a person who works out, don’t commit to five days a week for an hour a day. Start off saying I will do 30 minutes 3 times a week and build from there. When you set the bar too high at first, you will get frustrated when you do not achieve the goal you set.
Try some of these tips out and let me know how they work for you! Also, leave your comments about what ideas and tricks you use to get you up and working out in the mornings!