How (and Why) to Be a Morning Workout Person - Among Other Things (The Blog)

How (and Why) to Be a Morning Workout Person

As someone who breaks a sweat before the sun comes up, I’m often asked “How do you do it?”

Exercising in the morning is hard… Or is it?

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… Technically, it’s the process of not snoozing and getting your ass up and outta bed to get to your morning workout that’s the hard part.

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Before we get into it, I just want to preface: When I say morning workout, it can be anything. Movement in general — cardio, yoga or even one mile on the treadmill; it all makes a difference. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and guilt by setting your goals too high when you start. Ease into it — and give yourself some grace if this doesn’t come easy to you.

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Admittedly, I haven’t always been a morning person. But it’s very likely that by the time you’re reading this, I’ve already gotten my sweat on twice (usually through teaching and yoga) — and eaten. Like, a lot.

Don’t be too impressed, though. I’m lucky that my daily schedule is unique — but it’s inevitable that I’ll be slipping back into a very lazy, mid-day coma/nap situation any minute now. (When will I wake up? One hour? Three hours? Can’t be sure…)

(Related: More on the strategies around my nap game in this post)

At least three times each week — like today — I’m up at 5:15 a.m. and on my way to one of Chicago’s four SoulCycle studios to teach a “rooster” class at 6 a.m.

LOL, okay. I snooze my ass through a few alarms and then I’m up and out the door.

As someone who breaks a sweat before sunrise, I’m often asked, “How do you do it?”

Mornings have become my jam. I’ve grown to love exercising and teaching at this time, and with valid reason: A  good workout sets the tone for your day — and like I tell my students, even just getting up and showing up is a successful start.

Here’s 10 reasons I love exercising in the morning:

  1. You’ll be less likely to skip your workout. Period.
  2. Suddenly, you have more time to yourself in the evening.
  3. You’ll feel the difference going into your day — physically and mentally.
  4. It leaves time for other priorities, like last-minute get-togethers or time with friends and family.
  5. You’ll get a head start on hydrating for the day, which will give you more mental clarity.
  6. It’s like an all-natural cup of coffee — you’ll feel more awake.
  7. Your metabolism will jump-start from the get-to.
  8. It will be easier to make better choices all day long, so you’ll meet your health and wellness goals sooner.
  9. You feel good about putting in more effort during a time in which most people aren’t even awake.
  10. Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins.

From the moment I wake up to when I’m walking out the door takes me around 10 minutes, usually less.

Here’s 10 real-talk tips for how I do it — as well as some advice from a few lovely ladies that answered with their input on morning workouts when I asked for it on Twitter last night.

  • Go to bed early-ish.

No brainer, right? This one is actually very hard for me — as I type this at 11:53 p.m.

I tend to lose track of time when I’m online doing blog work many evenings, but I know (through many, many mornings of rushed experience), that I just feel better, more capable and alert if I’ve had at least six hours of sleep.

That’s just me — most heath and fitness gurus will tell you that you need more.

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  • Set alarms. Plural. 

… And keep your phone or alarm clock away from your bed. No joke — I set, like, seven alarms. Annoying, but necessary. Know thyself and thy snooze habits. (I am le worst!)

Caroline, girl, I like your style.

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  • Organize your sh*t the night before.

Seriously, all of it. Pack your bag, prep your snacks, lay out your clothes, ice your coffee, whatever. You will not want to do this when your alarm goes off in the morning — having everything ready to go increases the likelihood that you’ll get up and get after it.

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  • Drink water as soon as you wake up.

Your body dehydrates when you sleep, because when else do you go hours without downing H2O? (Never, I hope. Right?)

Slamming a glass of the good stuff (water, guys) will make you feel more awake right off the bat. Seriously — I like to compare it to a balloon inflating… Can you picture it?

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  • Put some accountability in place.

Hire a trainer, buddy up with a girlfriend, or book into a group fitness class — that way, you’ll feel obligated to get up and show up on those days when you really don’t want to.

… Wise words from these two gals.

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  • Figure out how you need to fuel up beforehand.

Everyone is different on this, in all honestly, but I’ve found that I can push myself harder if I eat a small carbohydrate-rich snack (like a low-calorie waffle with a teaspoon of almond butter) and/or have a bit of caffeine before I start to sweat.

Trial and error, really, so just experiment to see what you can stomach for various kinds of exercise. For example: I know I can’t have highly acidic foods first thing in the morning. Gives me heartburn! Same goes for high-fiber foods, because, well… Yeah.

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  • Reward yourself for actually getting up and showing up. 

Truth: The darkest hour of my entire week is when my alarm goes off on that mother f’ing Monday morning when it’s still pitch-black outside. A girl’s gotta give herself something to look forward to.

Maybe it’s through your post-workout meal (which I’ll expand upon in the next point), but other ways to treat yo’self could be through an after-work mani-pedi. Or go ahead and grab a drink with your girlfriends. You’ve earned it, after all.

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  • Give your body what it needs for the rest of the day.

Post-workout is when the real meal goes down — be smart, but don’t skimp assuming you’ll “undo your entire workout.” Think of it as refueling your body.

(Related: How becoming a fitness instructor has changed my life)

After this class in particular, I take myself out to my favorite nearby breakfast spot for a (big ass) almond milk latte and an egg white burrito. With cheese. And avocado.

If you’re ravenous by mid-morning, you’re probably not eating (1) enough or (2) the right mix of proteins, healthy fats and carbs.

Morning workouts ensure your metabolism will be en feugo for the day. I should note, though: Don’t feel guilty if you can’t squeeze a quick sweat sesh in until after work — you rock for getting there when you can.

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  • Make it a habit.

Rinse and repeat. Cultivate some consistency!

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Lastly — and this is important — don’t beat yourself up if it’s hard for you to get into this habit. Some days, your body will just need to rest; that’s okay and completely normal. At the end of the day, setting mini milestones to simply move every day will make a difference.

For those of you who are already reaping the benefits of getting your sweat on first thing in the morning, please feel free to share your tips, tricks and success stories in the comments below.

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