I love working out first thing in the morning and I’ve been doing it for just about as long as I remember. I swam growing up so it was 5:30 am swim practice weekday and Saturday mornings…gross. As yucky as that was for a teenager, it helped set a lifelong habit of early morning workouts and I’m so grateful for that.
Although I’ve been doing it for a long time, those first initial minutes are always hard. Warm, cozy bed versus cold, rainy day? No thanks. But I get up anyways because I absolutely love the feeling of accomplishment after getting it done.
I also don’t like disappointing myself. I hate that feeling and I’d rather get up early than face that feeling all day if I don’t. Luckily though, I really love my workouts, so once the hard part is over (getting up), I get pretty pumped for the actual hard part…the workout!
Working out early sets me up for the best day and frees up my evenings to be at home with my family. Early morning workouts aren’t for everyone though, so if you already have an established lunchtime or evening routine, you can probably skip this post!
1. Get to bed on time.
This is a no-brainer but there’s really no way around it if you want to be up at 5 am for a workout. I go to bed between 9 and 9:30 pm in order to get up at 5 AM and actually feel good. If you stay up too late, not only will it be harder to get up, but if you do manage to get out of bed, the quality of your workout will suffer.
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep but I think most of us feel best on at least 7-8 solid hours. I aim to get 8 hours every night and that works great for me.
2. Get quality sleep.
I used to think if I got 8 hours of sleep per night I was good to go. Now I understand that I need 8 hour of quality sleep each night. Focusing on creating an ideal sleeping environment has really improved my energy levels and I don’t typically have any problem popping out of bed before 6 am.
To set myself up for the best sleep ever I use an essential oil diffuser in the bedroom (so in love with this), I don’t watch TV before bed, I wind down by reading or doing some light stretching, I avoid caffeine late in the day, eat a healthy and not too heavy dinner and I keep my bedroom as dark as I can. Anything to enjoy the deepest, most rejuvenating sleep I can every night!
More and more studies are coming out showing how important quality sleep, to all aspects of our lives. Take what steps you need to create an ideal sleeping environment at your home and feel the benefits of feeling completely and fully rested.
3. Do it once.
If you’re new to getting up early to workout, just force yourself to do it once. After you get over that hump, day after day it gets easier to get up early. It’s all about forming a habit. If you can do it once, you can do it twice, and again and again until it’s been three weeks and you’ve got yourself a habit!
I don’t even think about it anymore, I get up at 5 Monday to Friday and that’s that!
4. Set goals and refer back to them often.
Write down your goals and keep them in a prominent place so you can refer back to them often and keep them top of mind. You’ll need to adjust them as you go too, so it’s a good idea to have a weekly goal check-in. What worked, what didn’t, where can you improve, where did you succeed?
Write down your “why” too. Meaning, why are your goals important to you. What drives you, what motivates you, what do you want to achieve, what would it feel like to reach your goals, who inspires you? These are some great things to think about and maybe jot down with your goals.
Motivation is just like a muscle and you can strengthen it but frequently checking in on your “why.”
5. Keep your home tidy and organized.
This is more of a personal tip but if my apartment is messy, I have a hard time getting motivated. Keeping your home tidy and organized can improve focus and help you feel more productive.
I just feel better when my home is clean, I feel more organized and I don’t have to scramble around in the morning looking for things. A clean kitchen is especially important for my early morning routine.
6. Have a pre-workout snack ready, if you need it.
I don’t typically eat before morning workouts but that’s just a personal preference. I just don’t have much of an appetite first thing. If I am hungry in the morning, I’ll have 1/2 a banana, a spoonful or almond butter and a date, half a protein shake or maybe a snack bite I’ve prepared ahead of time.
Aim for something that’s easy to digest and will provide you with enough fuel to get you through your workout and to breakfast.
7. Get everything ready the night before.
Aside from sleeping, this is the most important thing I do to ensure morning success. I get my workout clothes ready the night before, I pack my lunch to take to work the next day and since I go straight from the gym to work, I pack my bag with work clothes and any toiletries I need.
If I leave this until the morning, chances are I won’t get up so having it ready to go means no excuses.
8. Write it down.
First, write your workout schedule down in a calendar, just like you would with any other appointment. This makes such a huge difference in sticking to the plan. You should also jot down your workout plans for the following morning in a notebook or scrap piece of paper you can bring with you. This will make for a much more effective workout.
On Sundays, you should also write down a few goals for the week ahead. Write it down, make it happen.
9. Say no to the snooze button.
You give in once, twice, three times, all of a sudden it’s too late! Don’t let the snooze button get the best of you, when you alarm goes off, it’s time to get up!
10. Find accountability partners.
Having a workout buddy, or regular class or group you attend, or whatever it may be can be a huge help in sticking to your early morning workout plans. I go to CrossFit every morning and knowing that my training partners will be there putting in the work always motivates me get up.
11. Find something that you enjoy.
If you’re dragging yourself to the gym everyday to do a boring workout you don’t enjoy, chances are you’re not going to stick to it. Have a look in your area for different classes you could attend, or maybe it’s yoga, swimming, a run club, CrossFit or working with a personal trainer.
If you’re new to fitness, I’d recommend working with a trainer to help you develop a program you’ll enjoy. You can also download some great apps, such as the Nike Training app that has some fantastic ready-to-go workouts.
12. If you need it, consider caffeine or a natural pre-workout.
I either have black tea or coffee with MCT oil blended in or Vega Pre-Workout Energizer before my morning workouts. It gives me that little extra boost at 6 am when I’m still a little sleepy but it’s time to go!
Those are my tips for early morning workouts. Once you do it a few times, getting up does get easier, it’s just a matter of forming that routine.
Of course, not everyone can train first thing in the morning, some people have more success at lunch, after work or even late night. It doesn’t really matter when as long as you’re doing it. It all depends on your schedule too but most of these tips apply to workouts anytime of day.
If this is all new to you, setting goals, making a plan and a schedule for yourself is a great place to start.
Personally, I love my morning workouts. Getting it done first thing means there’s no chance it will be missed later in the day. Our health is a priority and we should treat it like one.