Many people like the energy boost that they get from exercising early since it stays with them throughout the day and leaves them pleasantly sleepy at night. But if you’re not an early riser, you might find that you prefer working out during your lunch break or in the evening, despite the fact that it can leave you pumped up and unable to snooze when your head hits the pillow.
Of course, you may find that exercising later in the day presents you with myriad problems. Perhaps you’re too tired or demands on your time inevitably pop up, preventing you from getting in your workout.
In any case, you might end up deciding that starting your day with a workout is the best way to go. However, it can definitely be difficult to roll out of bed an hour earlier than usual, even if you’re committed to making it work.
So here are a few strategies that should help you find the motivation you need to exercise first thing in the morning.
Tips for Successful Morning Workouts
The place to start here is by getting a full night’s sleep, which is to say approximately eight hours each night. This is no easy feat, especially when you plan to rise earlier than normal, but interrupting your sleep cycle with an alarm can make it extremely difficult to hop out of bed ready to face the day.
Going to bed a little earlier is a must if you want to muster the willpower to get up, throw on your gym clothes, and hit the treadmill and weight bench before you have breakfast and head to the office. When you’re lacking adequate rest it can make motivation much harder to attain.
Another thing to consider is your diet.
If you find yourself dragging through your workouts and wishing you were back in bed, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy when it comes to food. You may not want to eat a full meal before strenuous exercise, for obvious reasons, but within half an hour of rising you should eat a little something to kick-start your metabolism.
You might munch a banana or down a glass of milk, for example, just to get your metabolism moving and provide some quick-burning fuel for your workout.
If you are anything like me, you just can’t squat at 6am. You’re still tired, you’re hungry, and your anxious about the day. Squatting is the last thing you want to do a half hour after you get up.
In that case, be sure to plan your routine around what makes you happy. Of course you need to squat, so maybe planning one afternoon legs workout each week would be better than trying to force yourself to squat at the butt-crack of dawn.
Perhaps cardio and back workouts are best for you first thing in the morning. So do those. Eat something small but hearty, or drink a protein shake, then but out 20 minutes of HIIT before work or class. I used to run stair sprints at 6:30am when I lived in the dorms, and I really enjoyed it.
You could also sip on some coffee. This might sound strange, but studies have shown that caffeine works to combat a compound called adenosine that leads to feelings of muscle fatigue, so downing some coffee before a workout could make your efforts more fruitful.
Just keep in mind that coffee is also a diuretic, so you might want to drink extra water during and after your workout to compensate. Futher, many athletes have reported that drinking coffee is not an adequate source of energy, unless you drink or eat something else along with the coffee.
Alarm Clocks and Sticky Notes
Of course, there are other tricks that can help to get you out of bed and on your way to the gym. How about an alarm clock that runs away so you have to get up and chase it (like Nanda’s Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels)?
Or you could put a sticky note on your nightstand that reminds you of why you’re working out in the first place. It might say something like “Only 5 pounds to go!”, or “Body building competition 3 weeks away”.
You might also join personal training courses or schedule workouts with friends to increase your accountability should you fail to rise in a timely manner.
Only you can know what’s going to provide the best form of motivation when it comes to changing your routine. You may have to try different tactics for a while, but once you pinpoint key motivating factors you can definitely use them to your advantage.