As you already know, I’ve been hitting the gym in the a.m. (4 :30 a.m. to be exact!) for a little while now as one of my New Year’s resolutions. I have NEVER been a morning workout person. I have given it a try in the past a couple of times. During these trial periods I have often felt sluggish, tired, and feeling like my legs just don’t want to move. That said, I thought I would share with all of you my tips and tricks for what is working for me to be able to get to the gym before dawn.
1. You Snooze You Lose! I never hit the snooze button on my alarm. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and I absolutely feel like it’s just plain torture to lie there, hitting a button over and over only to lie in anticipation of the next buzzing! I set my alarm so I can’t possibly have enough time to hit the snooze. That way, I know when the alarm goes off I’m going to have to get up and get moving.
2. Preparation. A successful morning at the gym, actually starts the prior afternoon right after my return home from work. As soon as I walk through the door, I immediately unpack my dirty gym clothes from my morning workout and get my things ready for the next day. From past experience, I know as soon as I crash on the couch, I’m going to have little motivation to get back up and get things ready when all I want to do is relax after a long day.
3. Night Before Packing. Along with getting my things ready, HOW I get them ready is just as important. I usually leave all of my bath essentials in the bag so I don’t forget anything. I bought duplicates of a lot of items, such as shampoo, so that I don’t have to repack these items from home. I lay out all of my workout items together the night before: shoes, socks, sports bra, coat, gloves and scarf (when it’s cold), pants, shirt, heart rate strap, watch. I then put my gym bag and my clothes I’ll be wearing the next day all in the car ready to go! The last thing I do is get my coffee and water ready. I set the timer on the Keurig and pour my creamer and fill my water bottle the night before and simply put them in the fridge for the next morning.
4. Shower Time. Another thing that really helps cut down on time is my preparation time during my shower at the gym. In my gym bag, I pack a collapsible bag to store all of my dirty gym clothes in when I take them off. This way, when I get home that afternoon, I know all I have to pack are the same clothes I took off (see Preparation above). I pack one-for-one items (dirty socks for clean socks; dirty pants for clean pants; etc.) That way I know I’m not forgetting anything.
5. Sleep! Lastly, I can’t stress enough the importance of sleep. I make sure I go to bed plenty early so that I am not tired and sluggish the next morning for my workout. I start getting ready for bed about 45 minutes before bedtime, just so I can make sure I’m not up too late making last minute preparations. For me, I feel fine with 7 hours of sleep. I know any less than that and I’m going to be struggling.
– Consider dry shampoo. I use dry shampoo on my longer workout days which saves me about 20 minutes. No washing or drying.
– Pack your lunch and everything you need for the next day the night before.
– Charge all your devices the night before. If you like to catch up on your shows while you workout, you will be pretty bummed when your device is dead and you have to drag through an a.m. workout. Motivation killer!
– Put up your hair the night before. I use Goody’s grip bands for my hair so it stays in place all night. It’s one less step I have to do in the morning!
– Group items together as much as possible. I put all my small items (ipod, keys, lip gloss, etc.) in one pouch and all my shower supplies in a shower bag. This cuts down on rifling through my bag every time I need something.
– Defrost your car as soon as you wakeup. While I’m finishing getting ready, I let my car defrost so it’s ready to go when I am.
– Save torturous workouts for another day. If you’re not feeling it, then listen to your body. In the beginning, the goal is to just getup and MOVE even if that’s just walking on the treadmill. It takes time for your body to adjust. Once I get to the gym I like to remind myself why I’m there, and if I’m going to wakeup that early, then I better make it worth it! This little mantra usually helps get me motivated.
– Remind yourself of how you feel afterwards. I love knowing my workout is DONE for the day and how I feel afterwards. That alone helps motivate me out of bed, especially knowing how much I will regret not going if I sleep in.
– Enlist a workout buddy. I am very much a solo person when it comes to working out, but I know many others really love having someone there to help motivate them. This can especially work in the morning when you know if you back out, you’ll be leaving someone else hanging.
– Fuel yourself appropriately in the morning. To get going, have a little bite of something to eat on the road. A meal bar or a banana is a great way to get in some energy before you workout. When you finish, go ahead and have something more substantial like scrambled eggs or oatmeal to refuel.
– Lastly, remember to give yourself a break. In the first few weeks if you don’t make it to all your morning workouts, don’t stress yourself about it. All or nothing thinking tends to get one down. Give yourself a pat on the back for the times you did go and then move on. Stressing about the times you didn’t go will only make you feel defeated.
What tips and tricks do you have that keeps you motivated?