Since the slightly more extensive post on how to become a morning person went online I have been asked to give a few tips that would help to stick to a morning workout routine and not skip a workout for feeling drowsy or unmotivated. So here is my list of a few quick and dirty tips that I try to adhere to in order to not let anything come between me and my daily morning workout session.
The first two tips are kind of preamble, as they rather relate to those of you who haven’t worked out in the morning yet and want start out on this new and productive habit.
Don’t expect your usual level of performance.
This is meant as more of a warning and in order to clear things up a bit. There seems to be a common argument with some people and it goes like this: “I would like to work out in the morning, but I tried it out once and I really don’t have the same level of energy. I feel much more powerful in the afternoon.” There are a few reasons why it could very likely happen that you don’t experience the same level of performance when you try to do your usual workout routine in the morning instead of any other time of day. One very dominant that comes to mind would be that your body isn’t used to such a demanding task during the first hours upon awakening and all your functions relating to being fully awake and going strong are just gradually increasing during the course of the morning. It is important not to forget this when planning your morning workout but also to remember that this will change over the course of the coming days and weeks once your organism starts to settle into the newly established habit. After some time you will notice a change in your morning energy levels and also in the shortening of the transition from sleeping to being fully awake as your body is already anticipating a high demand for energy upon waking up.
So it’s important to stick with it and don’t expect that you can do the exact same thing you were able to do during your usual afternoon workout session.
One way to approach this problem is to start with small steps. If you don’t feel comfortable with doing less work for the first weeks that your body might need to adapt and start getting into full-throttle mode during your mornings, why not just take out a small part of your usual workout routine and do it right after waking up? This way you can keep doing the rest of your exercises at another time of the day. Or why not just come up with some new exercise that you can do in the morning so that your body gets eased into the habit. Start with something small and simple and increase a little bit every day until you are ready to face a full workout right after getting out of bed.
Now that we have discussed what to expect and not to expect during this transition to working out in the morning let’s get started with a few techniques on how to never skip your morning workout again:
Guess what: the success of your morning workout starts way before you even put on your flashy gym-outfit. It begins already the day before. In order to follow through on your commitment you absolutely positively have to make sure that everything you need in the morning is already set up way before.
Whenever you are fighting yourself motivation-wise it is of paramount importance that you have as little as possible standing between you and your goal. So don’t start searching for your gym shoes or preparing your workout-drink in the morning. Make sure EVERYTHING is set up so you only have to get up and can get started right away. In order for this to work take a minute now to make two short lists: one of all the things that you need to have in order to be able to perform your workout routine (outfit, drink, bag, gear etc.) and another one of all the things that you need to do (get dressed, drive to the gym, etc.) Then try to do as many of these the evening before while creating a streamlined process of the ones that you have to do in the morning. As always, preparation is Key to success.
Place your alarm clock out of reach.
This tip is an old one but the reason it got to be old in the first place is simple: it works. Just place your alarm clock where you can still hear it but need to get up in order to reach it. Advanced level: place one alarm clock next to your bed, another one on a table and a third one in the bathroom. This way you can trail your usual path in the morning and you have no other option than to get ready in no time. You can also use this as a way to get started with your workout routine. What if you were only allowed to turn off the first alarm clock after doing 50 push-ups? And maybe the second one after 50 squats? Sounds like an interesting plan...
Go to bed early.
Instead of staying up for extended periods of time while reading or surfing the web just turn everything off, get some fresh air into your bedroom and go to bed. Don’t think of all the things you are missing out on if you end your evening prematurely. Just think of all the vitality you will enjoy the next day because you set your priorities right. The next morning you will be happy you did that.
Try to eliminate as many things that could potentially disturb your sleep as you can. Get rid of all light sources in your bedroom or start using a sleep mask, turn off your phone, turn down the thermostat – too high a room temperature will keep you from your much needed deep sleep – and also make sure you eliminate all the sources of noise in your environment – maybe it’s time to say goodbye to your grandma’s old wall clock that makes it feel like you’re sleeping inside Big Ben’s clock mechanism.
Do it first thing in the morning.
The later in the morning you attempt to do your workout the more can come up to keep you from your commitment. You also have more time to talk yourself out of it if you are having second thoughts. Make sure to start as quickly as possible. If you work out at home and you have followed the previous tips and prepared everything you should be ready within the first 5-10 minutes after getting up. If you have to go to the gym just make sure you do only the bare essentials and then get dressed and head out as quickly as possible.
That wraps up the tips that I follow every day to make sure nothing can keep me from my morning workout routine.
Let me know how these tips work for you and keep me posted about your progress!