Did you know that exercising in the A.M. helps you sleep better, revs up your metabolism and boosts brain function? It’s also a great way to make fitness a priority since you start off your day with a sweat session—and don’t have to worry about work/kids/family derailing your workout plans. Yet if you don’t consider yourself a “morning” person, despite your best efforts, you may find yourself hitting the snooze button instead of the pavement. To help motivate you, WD spoke with some of our favorite healthy living bloggers to find out how they get moving in the mornings.
Schedule a Workout You Want to Do
Julie Fagan, blogger at Peanut Butter Fingers, is a dedicated morning exerciser. By 8:30 on weekday mornings she’s already hit the gym, walked her dog, showered, dressed, made breakfast and blogged! When first starting out, she suggests you do something you really want to do—“Don’t tackle sprints or a 5-mile run on your first morning, if that’s the workout you dread most.” Instead, she recommends doing your favorite aerobics class, walking the dog or doing yoga with friends—anything you’ll look forward to when the alarm sounds.
Get Some Sleep
Kath Younger, RD, the force behind Kath Eats Real Food, has the most energy in the A.M. But, even if you’re not a morning person, Younger says the key to getting out of bed is going to sleep earlier the night before. She suggests “counting backwards seven, eight, nine hours of sleep—however much you need—and get in bed 30 minutes before then.” If you’re not used to falling asleep that early, check out our “ 11 Ways to Destress Before Bed” guide to learn about how things like powering down your computer, TV and phone can help your brain unwind.
Buy a Lamp
Light can really affect the way your body adjusts to an early morning wake-up call. Marathon runner and author Tina Haupert at Carrots ‘n’ Cake invested in a lamp to help her get up. Her routine is simple but effective: “As soon as I shut off my alarm clock in the morning, I immediately turn on my bedside lamp, which is a short distance from my pillow. Even just a little light gets me moving.” Need some lighting suggestions? Choose from these affordable and stylish Reiko Table Lamps ($39.99; BedBathandBeyond.com) or this simple yet modern Room Essentials Stick Lamp ($16.99; Target.com) for a bright addition to your bedroom.
Lay Out Your Clothes the Night Before
Sweet Tooth Sweet Life blogger, Courtney Horan, swears by getting organized the night before. Not a morning person herself, Horan says, “If I lay all my gear out the night before, clothes, socks, sneakers, water bottle, iPod and everything else I need, knowing that it’s waiting for me is a great motivator to get me up and moving.” Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about in the morning, and helps you get out the door faster.
Utilize Social Media
Author Caitlyn Boyle, who writes for Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful, emphasizes how important things like Facebook and Twitter are for working out. “Tell your social online networks about your plans—blasting out your intention to do a 5-mile run before work on Facebook the night before might just be the motivation you need to stick to your promises.” Another plus? Your friends might decide to join you!
Eat a Small Snack
Runner Meghann Anderson of Meals and Miles is a pro when it comes to hopping out of bed for morning workouts. Most days, she runs three to four miles before breakfast! However, she can’t do it without a little snack. “The small snack prior to my run gives me the boost I need to complete my workout while still feeling strong.” Anderson’s favorite pre-workout snacks include LUNA minis, a slice of bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a handful of cereal or CLIF kid bars.
Visualize How You’ll Feel
Runner, foodie and graduate student Anne P. of fANNEtastic food suggests really thinking about how you’ll feel later if you put off your workout. “For me, thinking about how I’d have to work out later in the day when I’m tired and just want to relax is usually enough to get me out of bed. Plus, I hate showering twice,” she explains. If you work out in the morning, it’ll be easier to join in on fun dinner and happy-hour dates with coworkers or friends instead of rushing to the gym after work. Plus, you can pat yourself on the back when you walk into work with four miles already under your belt.
Create a New Playlist
Starting your engines with a new set of tunes will almost always guarantee a successful workout. Gina Harney, personal trainer and mastermind behind The Fitnessista, emphasizes that “creating a new and amazing playlist the night before will always get you going.” A few of her favorite picks include “Don’t Let Me Fall” by B.o.B for warming up, “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga for a quick tempo cardio session and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele for stretching and cooling down.
Give Yourself a Break
Fit Chick in the City writer and exercise guru Jess Underhill reminds us that we don’t have to exercise in the morning every single day of the week. Taking a break can keep you rejuvenated and excited for the next workout. She suggests “giving yourself permission to sleep in one day during the week—it will be easier to get up on the mornings you have a workout scheduled.”
Don’t Think About It—Just Do It
Turns out, the people over at Nike were on to something with their slogan, “Just Do It.” Photography lover, baking guru and avid runner Allie Mak of Live, Laugh, Eat says she has a tendency to overthink her workouts. Her thought process is often something like “Should I go now or later? Do I want to work out at all?” She’s found “it’s easiest and most efficient to stop thinking and just go—thinking about working out wastes precious time and energy.”