How to Slay an AM Workout Routine

The alarm clock sounds, what time is it? 5:00 AM?! I hear you, staying cozy in bed (especially when it’s winter) sounds way more appealing than a workout. I know it’s not always easy, but I promise you will never regret a morning workout. Just look at all the benefits a morning sweat can have:

You are guaranteed to get your workout in. This one is a no brainer, no interruptions and no one to get in the way of your workout other than yourself! It never fails that someone will invite you somewhere, you’ll get caught up at work, you’ll lose motivation/energy, or you just plain will find something else to do, leading to potentially missing your workout when you exercise after work

You’ll have more energy throughout the day. Getting up and at ’em early actually helps you wake up and promotes higher energy levels throughout the day, because movement is a source of energy

You’ll just feel BETTER! Exercise releases endorphins, aka the ‘feel-good’ hormone

You could burn more fat … who doesn’t want that?! efficiency, yes please

Your sleep will improve. The time of day that you exercise actually has a big impact on the quality of your sleep

Bonus: You might even make some new friends! The morning exercise community is a joyful, friendly, and encouraging group! F.I.A. (Females In Action) is an awesome network of encouraging women who workout together, you can find a workout pretty much any morning of the week! Or check out some local running clubs, yoga studios, or gyms.

OKAY. so you’re convinced now, yes? But mornings are still rough, I hear ya. I rounded up a few tips and tricks that helped me become committed to the morning workout. And as much as I love a morning off or a couple extra minutes to snooze, nothing feels better than getting that workout in before the sun even rises.

1. Find your “WHY” and set an intention. What is it that’s motivating you to make this shift in routine? Why would you put in this effort? Do you want more free time in the afternoon to spend with friends/family or for other priorities? Do you want to make sure you’re sticking to your workout plan in order to reach your goals? Are you training for an event? Want to feel better/loose weight/lower cholesterol? Whatever it is, write it down where you’ll see it. Repeat your intention to yourself when that alarm goes off, and go get it.

2. Set a goal. This should tie into your intention. Maybe it looks like “This week I will complete 3 morning workouts” or maybe it looks like signing up for a 10K that requires you to train. When you have a goal, motivation, and an intention you’ll be more likely to stick to the plan.

3. Get enough sleep. Set your alarm the night before for both a sleep time and wake time. I like to set my alarm for 10:00 PM if I’m waking up at 5 AM, this prompts me to get ready for bed and begin winding down. My body works best when I get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and when I don’t the first thing to go is typically my morning workout.

4. Set your alarm, then put it on the other side of the room. I like to call this strategic planning, if you have to get up and out of your bed to turn your alarm off, you might as well stay out of your bed and go workout right?! Right.

5. Have a plan. Along with the strategic planning, place your workout clothes next to your alarm. Turn off the alarm and immediately get dressed. No second guessing, just do it.

6. Call for backup, find accountability. Enlist friends to join you. Knowing someone is counting on you to wake up and run or workout with them is so encouraging.

7. Sign up for classes that have a cancelation policy. This is another accountability strategy. I have a love/hate relationship with my studio’s cancelation policies because if you don’t cancel 8-12 hours before the class time, you incur a $25 charge. Which let me tell ya, quicklllly adds up! This alone will get me out of bed, every. single. time.

8. Preparation is key. Now you have the strategies; set your alarm, put out your clothes, make plans to meet your friends, pack your gym bag, and make your breakfast the night before. No excuses, you can do this.

9. Talk about it. Telling friends, family, or co-workers about your plan will help you stick to it. Ask them to check in with your for an extra dose of accountability.

Most Importantly: 10. Look forward to it, and give yourself grace. If it’s not something you like, don’t force yourself to do it! Hate running, try spin. Can’t workout alone, meet new people and try group classes. Need variety? Think about joining a gym with a broad exercise class schedule. Thrive on routine and structure? Choose 1 fitness studio and get a membership. Feeling eh? Get some new workout clothes! Do whatever you need to do in order to look forward to your morning workout routine. But just remember, you’re human (a beautiful and inspiring one at that!) and it’s okay to miss a workout or opt for an afternoon sweat sesh, it’s not all or nothing. Sometimes I hit snooze, in fact this very morning I had to cut my run short because of it, but guess what – that’s okay too! I did my best. As long as we’re doing our best, we’re doing the best! It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Fun fact, it takes 66 days to form a new habit, according to this study. So don’t give up too soon, stick with it! You’ll thank yourself later.

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