“I could never get up early and work out in the morning.” I hear this all the time, and honestly, I used to say the same thing. I hear “I can’t believe that YOU get up early to work out!” even more often! Most people try it for one or two days and then give up. They think that because it’s difficult, their body feels nausea, they are foggy headed, or their performance suffers that it just isn’t for them.
The truth is, most people who switch to starting their day experience this. It takes time for your body to adjust to a big change like this, and consistency is primary way to reduce these common complaints. On top of that, there are so many benefits to working out early, including creating a routine in which “running out of time” just isn’t an option, a boost in focus and mood for the rest of your day, an increase in mental performance, a potential decrease in blood pressure, and a higher chance of being more active throughout the day!
Whether you prefer a quick walk or jog around the neighbourhood or a more high intensity workout, here are 6 tips for making your transition into mornings a little smoother!
Prepare everything the night before
This sounds so obvious, but how often do you waste 20 minutes in the morning looking for your workout clothes, trying to figure out where those runners got to, clearing your home gym (or packing your gym bag!), finding a hair elastic, realising you forgot to charge your headphones (or detangling them)… By the time you’ve found everything, you’re frustrated and far less motivated to keep moving forward. Make sure your phone or ipod is charged and where you need it for music, set your laptop or DVDs up, tidy your weights, set up or move your yoga mat, lay out your clothes, fill up a water bottle, and have your pre-workout meal easily accessible. This way, you have no excuses in the morning – you can get up and get ready right away!
Get more sleep!
Another tip that is viewed as harder than it sounds, but morning workouts have actually been proven to help you get more sleep! Keep your room cooler, give yourself a consistent evening routine, record your shows to watch at an earlier time, limit light, and start by moving your bed time earlier in 10 minute increments to get yourself used to it. You should be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep on average, and rest assured.. Your body will want it with these early workouts!
Eat light before working out
Studies have shown that you can burn up to 20% more fat working out first thing on an empty stomach. Personally, I don’t recommend this, as your body does need fuel to get through your workout. If you are starting with a light routine (such as a walk or easy yoga class), I recommend a small burst of protein, such as a low fat greek yogurt cup or superfoods shake. If you are doing prolonged exercise, strength training, or high intensity, you are going to need more fuel to keep you going and reach peak performance. Depending on the program or activity you choose, you need a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Consider having whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a hard-boiled egg (added bonus of healthy fats to carry you through!), a smoothie with fruit, yogurt, spinach, and almond milk (veggies are always extra credit!), or a turkey BLT in a whole wheat tortilla. I often start with a protein muffin and berries!
Use your post-workout to maintain a consistent breakfast
Studies have shown the benefits of eating breakfast for weight loss and maintenance, but there are even more ways to use breakfast as a tool within your morning fitness routine. After expending all of that energy, your body needs protein to repair your muscles and keep you full and carbohydrates to give you a boost of energy to carry you through to your next meal. Choosing a consistent breakfast (or switching between a few consistent favourites) helps you create your morning routine, resist the urge to grab something that doesn’t serve your goals (like a donut on the way to work), guarantees that you are fueling your body with what it needs, and can help reduce snacking as you are already aware that the food you have eaten is enough to sustain you until your next planned meal based on previous experience. I recommend something that is easy to meal prep such as overnight oats with yogurt, hard boiled eggs and tomatoes on toast, or easy to whip up like a wonder whip with your favourite fibre-filled cereal stirred in, or a superfoods shake and a berry cucumber salad.
Find your tribe
The more active someone is in one of my challenge groups, the greater their results. Their consistency in posting and cheering on everyone else in the group almost always translates to consistency in working out and eating the foods that serve their goals. If you want to set a goal of getting up early, make sure that people know about it, and that you have a supportive community cheering you on! Hell, bring them with you if you live close by! It makes such a difference on tough mornings! Message me to join one of my groups!
Everyone has something
Finally, everyone is different. We all have something that helps us get out of bed and get moving. Some people get really excited for their cup of coffee or breakfast, others find that a little peppermint oil brightens them up first thing, some (*cough* me) get a lot of joy out of blasting music into their headphones in the morning and adding new songs to keep things fresh. Drink more water, open a window or work out outside to get fresh air! Experiment with what traditionally helps you perk up (or research what other methods help others!) and test it out! Until you try with consistency, you never know what will end up working for you. I’m in a prime example of that! Give it a shot!!