Some people are just not morning people. While working out in the a.m. is an awesome productivity hack, even all the coffee in the world can’t motivate some people to get themselves out of bed before a certain hour. If this sounds like you, good news: If you put your mind to it, you totally can train yourself to become a morning workout person. You might not love it at first, but it’s 100 percent possible. We tapped top fitness experts to tell us exactly how to make the transition from “I slept through my ClassPass reservation AGAIN,” to “I worked out at 7am and I’m ready to conquer the world!”
1. Shift your thinking. It’s really okay if you aren’t a morning person. Night owls are totally cool too. But sometimes due to work, school or kids, mornings are the only time you can work out. If this is the case for you and you’re struggling with how to make it happen, the first step is changing your mindset. Andia Winslow, professional athlete and sports performance coach, says that in order to succeed at changing up your schedule, you’ve got to shift your mental approach from negative to positive. If you’re totally dreading every second of having to wake up and work out, it’s going to be a lot harder to get there and get it done. “The more engaged you are during a workout, the more you’ll get from it. In many cases, the more present you are, the faster the workout can be completed,” says Winslow.
“I motivate my morning-phobic clients with the following reminders: Physical activity stimulates innovation, drive and creativity. This is especially important in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive society. Start your day with a win!” Basically, if you can get yourself excited and motivated to start your morning workout routine, you might just find you start to actually enjoy it — and see its positive effects on the rest of your day.
2. Prepare the night before. We’ve all heard the advice that you should pack your gym bag the night before to make it easier to get out the door in the morning. But the most important thing you should be doing the night before to prep is sleeping. Exercise physiologist Brook Benten explains that there may be a physiological reason why you struggle to get your motor running early in the morning: insufficient sleep. Research actually shows that your metabolism gets messed up from not sleeping enough. Ugh!
“Maybe you believe you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night judging by the time you lay down to the time you get up. But is your dog in the bed? Is your S.O. snoring? Did you booze before bedtime? These are just a few of the multitude of things that may be interrupting quality of sleep.” If your metabolism slows down because you aren’t catching enough zzz’s, your energy also plummets, which could be the physiological reason why your head says “I want to work out in the morning,” but come morning, your body says “no, no, no.”
To train your body to go through the same number of sleep cycles each night and promote truly restful sleep, Benten recommends limiting evening alcohol consumption, keeping television out of the bedroom and not looking at any screens an hour before bedtime. By improving the quality of your sleep, you’ll be able to feel more awake and ready to get out of bed when that early a.m. alarm goes off.
3. Make it a priority. If you truly want to become a morning exercise person, you’ve got to commit to working on your #fitnessgoals, even when you don’t totally feel like it. “The key is commitment to bettering one’s body and mind,” says Winslow. “Pretend that your morning exercise is an appointment with an important client or your boss — you cannot miss it. Write it in your calendar as such and highlight it in red. When people change their frame of reference regarding self-care, remarkable things happen. Make non-negotiable time for you!” A little tough love toward yourself can go a long way in ensuring you get that much-needed “me” time for working out. Staying happy and healthy definitely seems worth it to us.
Do you work out in the morning? Have you always been an a.m. exerciser? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)