11 Tips for Early Morning Workouts
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 anyway 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.
Early Morning Workout Tips
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.
For more information on getting better quality sleep, check out Tips for Better Sleep.
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.
A few recipes that work well for early mornings are my Easy Banana Baked Oatmeal, Squash Protein Pudding Breakfast Bowls, 2-Ingredient Vegan Protein Cookie Dough and Low-Fat Cinnamon Energy Balls.
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.
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 your 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 to get up.
11. Find something that you enjoy.
If you’re dragging yourself to the gym every day 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.
Interested in CrossFit? Check out my Tips for WeightLifting Beginners and tips for CrossFit beginners.
12. If you need it, consider caffeine or a natural pre-workout.
I either have matcha, 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!
You Got This
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 any time 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.
Workouts to Try
Now that you’re all set for an early morning training session, here are some awesome workouts to try:
20 Minute CrossFit WOD // Strength and Conditioning EMOM Workout // A CrossFit-Style Conditioning Workout // 30 Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout // 30 Minute Aerobic Conditioning Workout
I usually drink a shake in the morning PWO with protein(whey)+carbs(hbcd)+ a tbsp of coconut oil. Quick and easy, powers me up right away
These are great tips to become a morning workout person! I agree with needing to have everything organized and ready to go, otherwise it is hard to get motivated. Thanks for sharing!
I’m a 6am kind of guy, just love the feeling of getting out before the world has woken up…
The biggest block to me doing exercise (usually swimming) in the morning is not getting enough sleep. I do find that blue light from reading on the iPad doesn’t help my sleep quality.
I prefer exercising in the fasted state and then drink my coconut oil latte after.
I find it hard waking up early in the morning to workout. The bed is just very tempting. But, coming across your article made me realize that what I lack is setting a goal. This was very helpful, indeed! Will definitely be taking your tips!
A brisk morning walk on a fall morning is one of my favorite things in life. Keeping a tidy house is also a must. Whenever things get out of control in my house I let things slip all over.
Me too. It’s hard to be productive and motivated if the house is a mess!
I do find that it is important to find something that you love – or you will never do it, and exercise is important. Cardio is important though it is important to make sure that one do some strength training as well. For me, yoga has always been the answer as it just works very well with my pace and the way I like exercising. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
Great tips! Morning workouts really makes my body feel better and it’s a great thing to do to start your day.
I am absolutely terrible in the mornings, but it is the only time I can fit in the time to work out. I find that if I can get to bed on time then it is manageable. I like your tip on pre workouts. I usually set mine by my bed so as soon as I wake up I take it before I fall back asleep.
Great tips, ! Morning workouts are really essenstial for a great start of the day. The same enthusiasm and excitement get carried away full day as well.
Excellent tips. I have to workout in the mornings. After a good morning workout I always feel better
I think morning workouts are the best time of the day to do a workout. Whether that’s going to the gym or doing a workout at home. I sometimes alternate my workouts depending how my schedule is, but I think a morning workout gives you more time in the day to get all your personal things done including work and it gives you a boost of energy for the day too, makes you feel fresh! This şs a great post for people to read and to take into consideration about doing a morning workout, because you are right if you don’t do a morning workout and once work is over and done with and the majority of people hit the gym after work, they won’t go because they have either had a bad day at work or they just don’t have the energy to go. I know they have been my excuses when working out later in the day. Point 6 you made about having a pre workout snack, to me I think this is vital. You need to have some source of energy in your body before you workouyt because depending on the type of workout you are doing wether it şs easy or intense it can make you feel light headed.
I love a good morning stroll, bur I’ve always wanted to try something a little different to wake me up in the mornings! An early morning swim sounds great! (not at 5:30 though!)
Great Post, Thanks for sharing!
Love the list! I have been trying forever to make myself a morning workout person. I will keep trying until it happens. The snooze button is the biggest one for me. I even used to try to sleep in my workout clothes to make it easier… worked for about 2 days. Maybe I will try again next week after getting some good weekend rest 🙂
Excellent tips, advice and strategy! Getting the first workout done is essential, this is an awesome way to overcome barriers and is an excellent way to prove to yourself that it can be done along with the feel good factor after your workout.
Great tips! I do pretty much all of these and prefer a morning workout over an evening workout. It’s my favorite way to start my day!
At one point in my life, I did workout in the evening. I much preferred the morning but my gym had evening classes that I liked. And then I left the gym and found that the early morning workout set the tone for the day. I feel so much better and more productive. And just say NO to snooze buttons all the time. Worst invention ever!
I switched from evening to morning workouts when I became self employed last year. It’s definitely tougher to stay motivated as I am soooooo not a morning person, but after a good morning workout I always feel better for the rest of the day. Getting good sleep and having everything ready to go have helped me out big time. Coffee has helped too, though I’m trying to cut back on that a bit.
I have to workout in the mornings! 4:15am and I am up and at it! I can’t start the day any other way, even on the weekends!
4:15?? Now that is dedicated. I don’t think I could do pre-5 am. Honestly, I hate the initial moments of getting up but after that I love it! It is the absolute best way to start the day! I usually go a little later on weekends, I like relaxing at home a bit in the morning, but I still get it in!
I get my exercise when I take Bruno on his afternoon walk. Unfortunately, with the bad weather we’ve been having, I haven’t walked him as much as I should. Another reason to be excited for spring! 🙂