Are you trying to improve your health but feel like fitting a workout into your already hectic day is almost impossible? We totally get it. Between checking off items on your daily to-do list and finding some much-needed time to wind down at the end of the day, making space for exercise can be a challenge. Just know this: If you prioritize your exercise, you will find a way to make it happen.
One of the best ways to prioritize your workouts is to get them out of the way before you do anything else. So how do you do that? By becoming a morning workout person!
Yeah, the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn while everyone else is still cozied up under the covers might be unappealing. But what better way to begin your day than by doing something amazing for yourself?
What’s so great about becoming a morning workout person?
If you’re on Team Night Owl, getting up before the sun can seem like a Herculean feat in itself—just pulling back the covers is almost a workout at that time of day, right? Listen to this: Researchers have found time and time again that people who exercise in the morning get better overall results.
When you become a morning workout person, you’re more likely to make your exercise a habit, because daily obligations won’t get in the way of your routine. Plus, you’re also more likely to make better food choices throughout the day.
So how can you pry yourself out of your warm, cozy bed for a sweaty, action-packed date with your healthy destiny? Try these 10 tips that can help you commit to your morning workouts.
Get more high-quality sleep
You’ll never commit to being a morning workout person unless you train yourself to get enough high-quality, restful sleep each and every night. Besides giving you the rest you need to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn, high-quality sleep also helps you recover efficiently from your daily workouts. If you have trouble getting to bed on time or find yourself falling asleep but waking up unrested, try implementing these changes to your nightly routine:
Set a sleep-wake schedule
Your body has a natural, internal clock—your circadian rhythm—that’s designed to operate on a 24-hour cycle according to the rising and setting of the sun. In our modern age, however, most people hit the sack several hours after the sun has disappeared and wake long after it has risen.
What’s more, there’s little consistency in these modern sleep-wake schedules because they typically fluctuate according to the days of the week. If you’re transitioning to a morning workout schedule, creating a consistent sleep-wake routine will help train your body to expect to wake and to rest at specific times.
When you train yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, your body becomes accustomed to the pattern, which makes your super early morning alarm less jarring to your system.
Ditch the drinks
That glass of wine or cocktail you’re accustomed to enjoying before bed? It’s got to go if you want a good night’s sleep. While it might be true that your pre-bed drink relaxes your mind at the end of a long day, it’s also true that even a small amount of alcohol can negatively affect your sleep quality.
Instead of your nightly drink, why not give 8fit’s guided sleep meditation routine a try? It’ll calm you down after a long, hectic day—but unlike alcohol, it can actually improve your sleep.
Avoid an all-or-nothing approach
When you’re bombarded with things to do, going to bed at the same time each night isn’t easy. If you try to force yourself into a sudden discipline or make too drastic a change, though, chances are you’ll mess up—and throwing in the towel when you make a mistake won’t get you anywhere closer to achieving your goals. To make the process easier on yourself, opt for taking baby steps toward your sleep-wake goal instead of employing an all-or-nothing mentality.
When you’re new to a dedicated sleep-wake schedule, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t stick to it right away. Attempting to fall asleep three or four hours earlier than your usual bedtime is asking a great deal of your mind and body. Instead, try scaling back your bedtime by just 30 minutes at a time. When you can consistently stick with that, continue scaling back your bedtime in small increments until you reach your target.
Want to get a good night's sleep? Try our 10-minute bedtime yoga routine.
Simplify your morning routine
The less you have to do to get ready for your early morning workout, the better. When you make getting ready as ridiculously easy as possible, you’re less likely to find an excuse to stay in bed — and more likely to successfully become a morning workout person. Try these tips to get yourself moving in the morning:
Pack your gear
Before you go to bed, be sure to set out the workout clothes you’ll need to wear in the morning. If you plan to exercise at the gym, toss your clothes, shoes, water bottle, exercise gear, and anything else you may need in your gym bag so it’s ready to go as soon as you are.
If you’re working out at home, set your exercise clothes in a super easy-to-reach spot near your bed. That way you won’t have to dig for them while you’re still grasping for consciousness. For even more motivation, if you use exercise equipment at home, like a yoga mat, go ahead and lay it out before bed. When your alarm goes off, you’ll know you’ve already set yourself up to begin your day on the right foot.
Plan out a routine
Nothing stunts a workout faster than not knowing what in the heck you plan to do. So, to lessen your chances of making excuses based around your lack of planning, write down your workouts or save them in an app before you hit the sack at night. In the morning, you won’t waste your precious pre-work time wandering around wondering which exercise you should perform next.
Boost your morning energy
Even if you get a great night’s sleep, chances are your early-morning energy levels could use some help. Try these tools to give yourself a jolt of early-morning energy and motivation:
Good ol’ caffeine can get you moving like nothing else during the wee hours of the morning, so if you feel sluggish, try downing a cup of joe before you start your workout. Or, if you’re not a fan of coffee, try one of these more mellow sources of caffeine for sustained, clean energy:
Matcha green tea. Researchers found that consuming matcha green tea before exercise can help boost fat burning.
Yerba mate tea. Scientists have demonstrated that drinking yerba mate prior to workouts can help improve muscle strength recovery after exercise.
Green tea. Consuming green tea before your workouts can help reduce inflammation while simultaneously improving body composition. If you’re not a fan of the hot stuff, you can always take it in pill form or keep iced green tea in the fridge.
Cocoa. Chocolate fans, rejoice! Researchers have found that consuming cocoa prior to your workouts can help reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage. Plus, they’ve also found that it can help improve cognitive function after your workouts. Say hello to a better body and better productivity at work to boot! Total win-win.
Eat a pre-workout snack
Working out with nothing in your stomach can be exhausting and nauseating (literally), so try eating a snack before you train. If you’re planning to exercise intensely—think: HIIT training or spinning—or you want to work out for 30 minutes or longer, having a small snack before your workout will help you perform better than training fasted.
Your muscles require glycogen—stored sugar within your muscle tissue—to perform their best, but while you sleep, your body depletes its glycogen stores. To restock them quickly, eat a light carb- and protein-rich snack about 20 minutes before you train. Try these super-quick snacks that can give you a much-needed early morning boost:
A fruit smoothie with protein powder
A piece of toast or half a bagel with peanut butter
A piece of fresh fruit or a handful of dried fruit
Half a banana with peanut butter
Keep in mind, though: If eating before your workout makes you feel icky, you don’t have to do it! Try out a couple of different early-morning snacks, and if none of them agree with your stomach, listen to your body and do what feels best!
Master your motivation
Sometimes, showing up for yourself can be tough, especially when you’re doing it alone. But, becoming a morning workout person when you have a buddy or a trainer to motivate you can be a whole lot easier. Here’s what you can do for extra morning motivation:
Invest in your workouts
When you pay for something, chances are you’ll be more likely to use it than if you don’t make an investment. If you really need a motivation boost, try hiring a trainer for a couple of early morning sessions. There’s nothing that will get you out of bed like the idea of flushing money down the drain, and if you’ve already shelled out the cash for a trainer, you’re far more likely to show up.
If you’re a fan of home-based workouts, downloading an at-home workout subscription (our 8fit app is a fantastic choice!) may be just the motivation you need to stick with your early-morning training. With step-by-step guidance and individually tailored workouts, a subscription-based app is like having a personal trainer right in your living room!
Make it social
If you prefer getting out of the house for your morning workouts, try wrangling your friends to join you. There’s nothing quite like having a motivational group to keep you on track as you work toward becoming a morning workout person. You can repay the favor by consistently showing up and encouraging your friends to stick with their new, healthy habits, too.
Becoming a morning workout person is a process—but one that can pay in spades if you stay committed to it. You might make mistakes, but don’t beat yourself up. When you set yourself up for success before you hit the sack, and you diligently try to stick to your new routine, you might just find that deep down, you were a morning workout person all along.