Do you find it hard to peel yourself out of bed in the mornings to work out? Is the snooze button your best friend? You are definitely not alone; even the most disciplined among us will admit that there are days when the bed feels like a gigantic magnet. Numerous studies suggest that the early morning hours are the prime time for physical activity, setting the tone for your metabolism, mood and energy level for the rest of the day. More often than not, if you skip your morning workout, you'll end up not exercising at all for the rest of the day due to the typical demands of a busy schedule. But if you're not a morning person, you'll have to learn how to wake up early to work out. So how can you make the transition from being a non-morning person to an early riser? Below are six tips you can use to help you get out of bed in the mornings to work out.
1. Preparation is the Key
Preparing your workout gear the night before is a huge help, especially on those mornings where your head is a little foggy. If you're already struggling to get motivated to work out, one missing shirt or jogging shoe can easily become the excuse you need to call the whole thing off. Set out your workout clothes, charge your mp3 player and put your shoes by the door the night before so you can be fully ready to rock-and-roll when the alarm sounds.
2. Keep Your Food Simple and Easy to Prepare
If you take 15-20 minutes to prepare a pre-workout breakfast and then another 10-15 minutes to eat, it can be easy to feel a lot less motivated once your belly is full. It's better to eat a light breakfast such as a protein bar, a handful of fruit, some yogurt or a protein shake in order to keep preparation and consumption times to a minimum. Your goal is to strike while the iron is hot, and the more time you burn before beginning your workout, the more the temptation to procrastinate will creep in.
3. Go to Bed Earlier
This can be tough for the night owl, but it's going to be very hard for you to wake up feeling alert and ready to roll at 5 a.m. if you go to bed after midnight. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep in order to feel fully rested when they wake up. Shut off all of your electronic devices at least 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed; numerous studies have shown that staring at backlit screens stimulates your brain in ways that can interfere with your sleep. Also, lowering the temperature in your room right before bedtime can help smooth your transition into dreamland.
4. Schedule Your Workout Time
You may need to have the extra motivation of keeping a predefined appointment in order to get out of bed in the morning. Schedule a morning jog with a friend, or sign up for an early morning fitness class (Zumba, Pilates, etc.). Knowing that there are other people counting on you to show up can help you keep your exercise commitments.
5. Watch What You Eat and Drink Before Bedtime
It's not a good idea to drink caffeinated drinks (tea, soda, coffee) within an hour or two of bedtime, as they rev up your metabolism and keep you from transitioning into a restful sleep. Eating high-carb snacks or meals late at night won't help either, as they keep your digestive system active into the night, sapping your energy even while you sleep. These types of habits can contribute to that overwhelmingly sluggish feeling you can feel when you first wake up. Try to be done with all eating and drinking at least two hours before you hit the sheets, and see what type of difference it will make in terms of your energy level and mental clarity the next morning.
6. Refuse to Negotiate with Your Alarm Clock
You can actually train yourself to wake up and hop straight out of bed as soon as your alarm sounds instead of hitting the snooze button multiple times. The problem is that we often think too much once our alarm goes off instead of just rolling out of bed as soon as we hear that beeping sound. Don't lie there and have conversations in your mind about why you should get "just five more minutes," don't lie there and think about what you might have to do for the day, just don't lie there, period. Get up right away, acting first and thinking later. You can do all the thinking you need to once you're out of bed and on your feet. This will take some practice, so don't beat yourself up if you find it hard to string a few days in a row where you successfully pull this off. With enough practice, getting out of bed early and immediately will become second nature.
Five Seasons member and 2014 Be a Loser winner Mark Wright has been waking up early to hit the club lately - find out how it's going by reading his blog post!