I love the feeling you get all day long after you exercise in the morning. That feeling of accomplishment and completion; that feeling of knowing that no matter what happens during the rest of the day, your exercise is complete and nobody can take that away from you. And when a friend calls later and suggests awesome dinner plans, or it’s pouring rain outside and you just want to curl up with your dog and tea in bed, it’s okay: because this morning you did your exercise.
Here’s 8 things you can start doing to create a successful morning exercise routine:
1. Start Small
You have to start somewhere. Maybe it’s just one morning a week or maybe just for 30 minutes at a time. Whatever it may be, set a reasonable goal for yourself and just do it once. Then gradually increase week by week. Don't get discouraged when it sucks at first, or you miss a few times, and don't try to do something so ambitious that you se yourself up for failure. Instead, make your plan and stick with it and it and it will eventually become a habit.
2. Prepare Everything
Prepare your workout stuff
Preparation is key. The night before, put all your workout things in a pile on the floor, away from your bed. Everything down to your underwear, socks, headphones and keys. Not being able to find one thing in the morning as you fumble around in the dark can be enough to make you want to (or have to) call the whole thing off!
Prepare everything else
Just like you need to have everything workout related ready, think about what you also need to have prepared for after your workout. For me this involves packing my lunch and preparing my breakfast the night before, grinding coffee and setting it on a timer, and I cut up a bowl of juicing veggies to run through the juicer post-run. Whatever you know needs to happen, make it happen.
3. Move your Alarm Clock and Anticipate the Snooze
Pick up your alarm clock and put it somewhere else in the room so that you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off. When it goes off, get up, turn it off and just keep walking right out of the room. Don't even look back at your bed! Alternatively, if you're someone who genuinely needs that slow wake up, anticipate the snooze time. Set your alarm 20 or 30 minutes earlier than the time you have to get up and then you can snooze it 1 or 2 times. Just be sure you don’t fall back asleep for too long . . .
4. Visualize and Prepare for Battle
Picture yourself at the end of your run/workout, and how great you will feel. Visualize yourself sitting at work later, or going about the rest of your day, smiling, knowing you have already done your workout. Think about the feeling you get during a workout when you finish the hardest part and you are just hitting the rest; that high, that endorphin rush, that flood of feel-good- feelings. Sometimes I even visualize the sunrise I get to see, the mist rising off the ocean I get to watch, the fresh, crisp, early morning air I get to breathe as I run down the hill. Whatever it is for you, picture it in your head and then hold onto that and you will know why it’s worth it to do what you are doing.
Don't just play the mental battle, fight the mental battle
I'd be lying if I said it is always easy to get up early, while the rest of the world slumbers on in their warm blankets. It helps that I love what I am getting up for – running!!! – but sometimes, no matter how much you love it, you still have to convince yourself a little more. Your mind plays those games with you, saying you can skip this one time, or go running after work today, or it's cold out, maybe too cold for running. And when it happens, you have to be ready to fight back! When I start thinking anything other than, “get your clothes on and get out the door,” I remind myself of how much better my day always is when I run first. I remind myself of that feeling I get just before lunch as the regret and disappointment sinks in for not having just gotten out of bed and hit the road. And I think about how good it makes me feel afterwards and all day long when it is finished, and how really, if I went back to bed, I would only get another 45 minutes and that's totally not better than a run in the end. Plus, once you're up, remind yourself that you have already taken the hardest step - don't go backwards by going back to bed. Give yourself a pat on the back and get out the door!
5. Go to Bed and get Some Sleep
Before you attempt to try to get up earlier, go to bed earlier. Your body will be more ready to wake up and you will feel better rested and more motivated when the alarm goes off!
6. Accept the Sacrifices Early On
Accept that things will be a little different for your morning routine. You may end up losing a little sleep, you may have to take a shorter shower, and some days you may end up leaving with your hair, house and bathroom a mess, but hey, you did your workout right? The other things will be much easier to deal with later than having to go for a run at 5:30pm on a Friday night, and for me, it is always worth it!
7. Find your Motivator
What is the one thing that gets you going every time? Is it some type of vidualizatoin like above? Is it that dress you are going to fit into for your friend’s wedding at the end of the summer or is it a certain energized, full of pride feeling that you get? Maybe it's the feeling during the workout, the feeling after, the satisfaction all day long of knowing you already worked out, or just how much better breakfast is when you are starving hungry from your workout. Find whatever it is that gets you out of bed and gets you into gear. And then use it. Every.single.day.
8. Give Yourself a Reward
Part of your visualization and motivation, may be the reward you get afterwards. Perhaps it is a really great breakfast you prepared for yourself (hello green smoothie!), or maybe it is the hot shower you get. Or that cup of coffee as soon as you walk through the door to warm up your hands, or that you treat yourself to on your way to work at your favourite coffee spot. Whatever it is, make it something to look forward to that motivates you to keep going through every step, from the first alarm to the last rep.
Start today and morning exercise will become a habit that will be part of every day!