If you're often breaking promises to yourself to get that workout out of the way before you start the day, then you need to read on. It's all too easy to talk yourself out of a wokrout by the end of the day, so getting it in as soon as you get up is definitely a good idea.
It can be a daunting task to wake up an hour or two earlier than you’re used to when it's the only time you can fit in a workout, but sometimes it has to be done. Here's a few ways to prepare for an early morning workout as well as how to feel awake and energized instead of tired and sluggish.
Steps to an Early Start
Anybody who already has a solid routine of waking up at 4 or 5 A.M. will simply tell you to “just get up and walk around”, but of course it isn’t that easy for most of us. These individuals are doing a lot of little things in tandem to help them get up early and not feel drained or half awake. Starting with the night before then the morning of, these tips include:
Lay it out
Pack for the gym the night before. The hardest thing to do when you’re still half asleep in the morning is to decide which leggings and tank top you want to wear. Fix this by getting your gym bag ready or lay your clothes out before you go to bed so you don’t have to think about how to match or which shoes you need.
Make your food the night before. Just like your clothes, food will be the last thing you want to worry about at 5 A.M. before a run or gym session. Making your smoothie or protein shake the night before and simply keeping it in the fridge until you need it is a simple fix that won’t save you a lot of time, but will help you focus on your mental game by limiting your multitasking before you’re fully awake.
Set multiple alarms
Most of us already do this, but it will also be helpful for getting you up in the morning. Setting one alarm 15-30 minutes before you need to get up can actually trick you into feeling more rested. At 4:30 when you first hear that alarm you’ll want to go back to sleep… and you will! Then you’ll wake up at 5 feeling like its 5:30 (especially if you didn’t check the time when the first alarm went off). The only thing to keep in mind here is not to shrug off the second alarm for more sleep.
Get those hours in
This one might be simple but getting to bed 7-9 hours before you need to wake up is crucial for not feeling lethargic in the morning. It might not seem like that much of a difference at first, but go three days in a row where you get six hours of sleep then go three days in a row when you get eight and you’ll feel it. Throughout the day especially, but first thing in the morning it will make getting out of that comfy bed much easier.
Move that alarm
Put your alarm on the other side of the room. It might sound too easy, but physically having to get up to turn off your loud alarm will make it way easier to start your routine instead of setting the snooze.
Flip the switch
Turn on a light. It might seem like torture in the moment, but flipping a switch will turn your brain on and wake you up faster than staying in the dark.
Even though it might take up to 30 minutes to fully kick in, caffeine is a great way to get you energized for a morning workout. Hopefully you know your tolerance level but if not, start with a small dose of 80-100 mgs (one cup of coffee or two tea bags), and work your way up to 200-400 mgs depending on your size and tolerance. There are many ways to get in your caffeine but if you need quick energy and don’t want to down three cups of coffee, pills are a quick and cheap way to get your daily dose.
Take Home Message
While there are many other tips and tricks that people use to wake up for a workout, the most important ones for you are tips you can stick to. Whatever it takes to get you out of bed and walking around to prepare for your workout with maximum enthusiasm and energy. For all those who have too much on their plate for a two-hour routine after work, a morning workout a great way to get it all done with before your day even begins.
And for those who simply don’t like being in the gym too long, morning workouts are a great way to split up cardio and weight training to maximise your energy levels for each workout as well as giving your mind a mental break with shorter workouts. If you do decide to give it a shot, good luck!
Evangeline has taken part in competitive sports since a young age. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor, she understands the importance of proper nutrition for fuelling extreme and endurance sports, especially due to her experience in Team GBR Squads and captaining and coaching her University first team.
In her spare time, Evangeline loves running – especially marathons. On the weekends, you’ll find her taking on water sports or hiking up a hill. Her favourite evenings are spent taking on a HIIT session or squats in the gym before digging into some spicy food and a ton of vegetables – yum!
Find out more about Evie's experience here.