If you can hack the early alarm, there’s a special kind of glow to getting your workout done first thing.
But, let’s be honest, it does kinda suck when it first goes off, especially when it’s cold and dark outside. The snooze button will 100% come calling, but if you can refrain from hitting it and just make the first step to get out of bed, that’s the hard bit done.
It’s no secret that I’m a total morning endorphin fiend. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have probably seen me getting my AM fix at the gym or on early runs and rides over the past few months, as I’ve finally found my mojo again and got into some sort of routine since becoming a freelance writer.
On a whole, evenings just don’t fit for me workout-wise. I like my evenings for chill time with hubs, cooking and eating, going out, or blogging. Unless I’m at hockey training, of course, and then I’ll suck it up like a good team player.
My exception to morning workouts:
Read why I joined Southwick Hockey Women’s Team here.
Reasons to love morning workouts
— T e s s A g n e w (@FitBits_) October 27, 2017
There’s a whole host of reasons to get your sweat fix in the morning:
1) It gets it done
Simple as that really.
There’s no better feeling than sauntering into work, flat white in hand, knowing you’ve already done your workout for the day. Or realising it’s only 10am on a weekend and your miles are already clocked.
It means the evenings are yours, and no time for procrastination after a long day because you can do what you like with your workout already in the bag.
2) You have more energy
There’s something special about the fire in your belly from a morning workout. I feed off that fire all day, and am more productive, focused and energised at work.
Try it out and compare how you feel:
Keep track of your energy levels on a normal day where you don’t exercise first thing. Note your hunger levels, tiredness and concentration / attention span.
Then, on another morning, force yourself to get up on that early alarm and head out for a pre-work run or gym sesh. Have your shower, get your coffee, and start your day nice and smug.
Guess which day will see you sailing through to lunchtime and beyond feeling alert, energised and more productive…
3) You have more space
Whether you’re working out in the gym, or running/riding on the roads, the earlier you do it, the quieter it is. Which means more space to do your thing. I can sail down to the gym on traffic-free roads for my 6/7am PT.
When I have a session after 8am, it’s another story.
Or you could just hit the trails and have all the space in the world.
4) You’ll make better food choices
I don’t know about anyone else but I know I definitely eat better when I’ve exercised in the morning. Mostly because I don’t want to ruin my hard work, but also because it’s what my body craves post-workout.
This is where food prep and organisation comes in mega handy (see tips below), but if it’s not gone to plan a fail-safe trip to Pret for the coconut and quinoa porridge and boiled eggs and spinach pot does the trick quite nicely!
5 steps to love your morning workout
— T e s s A g n e w (@FitBits_) November 1, 2017
So it’s all very nice going on about the benefits of morning workouts, but how do you actually make them a habit?
People often ask me how I stay motivated in the winter months to exercise, how can I bear getting out of bed at five or six in the morning to run or hit the gym for a PT session.
For me it’s a lesser of two evils – what would I regret more: the feeling of dread when the alarm goes off and dragging myself out of bed? Or the disappointment of hitting snooze and missing my workout, letting myself down. Also I look ahead to the wave of endorphins and great feeling I get afterwards – both of these are good incentives to ignore the chimp on my shoulder telling me to hit snooze.
I know the kind of person I am and after a day at work I find it so much harder to motivate myself to train, so it just wouldn’t get done at all.
So that’s why I try to suck it up and workout in the morning as much as I can – here’s how:
1) Go to bed at a reasonable time!
Getting a good night sleep is the first step to your early bird transformation. This is something I’m very hit and miss with as I tend to do a lot of blogging at night, but I know it helps when I do hit the hay before 11pm.
Tonight I’m going by 10.30 – promise.
2) Say goodnight to technology
(She says, blogging just before bed… do as I say guys, not as I do 😂)
Try to put your phone down and out of reach at least 30 minutes before bed. Research shows that blue light from screens is damaging to the production of sleep hormone melatonin – something we all need for a restful sleep.
Not only that, you’ll be more tempted to hit snooze with your phone under your pillow. Leave it outside your closed bedroom door and watch how quickly you’re suddenly able to get up on the first alarm! (This is also helped along when your sleeping other half moans at you to get up!)
3) Lay your kit out the night before
Or go one step further and roll up full outfits including underwear and socks in your draw so you can literally get up and go.
The less time you spend rummaging around the better.
BUT SRSLY: WHERE DID THAT OTHER RUNNING SOCK GO?!
4) Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before
Fuel well for dinner and make your post-workout breakfast nice and convenient. Like these easy egg and veg muffins – proper yummy and perfect for on the go.
Like with your kit, the less time you spend faffing about in the morning the better – you want to get up, grab your pre-prepped stuff and go.
5) Plan your workout
Give yourself purpose and book a class, meet a friend or book a PT session so you know what you’re doing and can’t back out.
Tomorrow I’m booked in for 7am spin with my MoveGB membership, and some mornings I meet my BTRS buddies for early runs and rides. Otherwise I hit the gym for strength and conditioning.
You might’ve seen on my Instagram that over the past few weeks I’ve been doing regular PT sessions with Brighton PT Pete Dudley. We’re working on building strength for the various sports I do (including hockey – lots of changing position and running in a low position is having a right go at my knees!) and I’m loving the motivation it’s giving me to keep pushing myself (and keep getting up on my alarm!)
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. and it’s making me feel BADASS.
Read my post on 7 reasons to train with a PT on the blog.
I guess I might be a bit biased with all of this as this is definitely what works for me and it may not work for everyone with work schedules or family commitments. But it’s all about giving it a go and finding your flow.
Whatever time you like to train, whatever you like to do, remember there’s no right or wrong answer – but consistency is key if you want to see improvements. The challenge I have is just fitting it all in.
This is something I’m sure I’ll find out next time I run (three runs one week and none the week after won’t bode well for the run legs!)