After several years of being a morning person, I have become even more of a morning person in the past couple of years. I use to open the office at 6:30 am and loved starting my day by getting the office and myself on the right foot. Now, as a personal trainer, my mornings have become even earlier - starting daily at 5:00 am. The early morning hours aren't always for me now. But, I love the quiet time. I love the control that I have over this part of my day. I love planning the night before and being ready for my day, as soon as my feet hit the floor. I love that I get things out of the way first thing in the morning and don't have to think about it later in the day. And if I get more movement in later in the day or a couple more tasks crossed off later in the day -- it's just an added bonus! Sometimes I even get my own workout in before I meet my clients. I love getting the most out of my day. Over the years I have found that I am just not too motivated late in the evenings and am tired. I am simply setting myself up for disaster, if I put important tasks or my personal workouts off until the end of the day. Not to mention, that I become grumpy and irritable having that "nagging feeling" all day long.
Here are some of my favorite tips that have made me a successful morning person - and able to rise at 3:50 am everyday.
- Create a routine - and therefore a habit. Just like the healthy habits or habits of success that you're trying to make during your day. The time that you rise, should be a routine, too. The more consistent that you are with your habits and routines, the easier things will become. And the more natural it will become. You won't even have to think about it. Your body won't have to think about it either. I wake up at the same time Monday through Friday - 3:50 am. On Saturdays, I allow myself to sleep in a little more, but still set the alarm. On Sundays, I allow my body to wake up naturally on its own. But I find that my body still initially wakes up when the alarm typically goes off and then only allows me to sleep an extra couple of hours. In the summer, I tend to still rise very early on the weekends, due to early morning classes or to squeeze in my own long training runs before a busy weekend of family activities or travel.
- Have a plan. And use the time wisely. Even if you don't want to workout every morning, still try to wake up at the same time - and use that time wisely. Write down an appointment for yourself each day of the week. Which days you are going to workout and what those workouts will consist of. Have a game plan - and do it. If you are embracing a rest day, use that time to focus on other things on your to do list - start your day feeling accomplished and get those tasks done.
- Start gradually. Try waking up fifteen minutes earlier than you are right now. Move it up by fifteen minutes each week, until you are at the desired time. Don't force it. If you can't pull yourself out of bed today, you're probably not going to want to do it tomorrow either. Be kind to yourself and start small - and build on it. Just like with your fitness program.
- Give it a few extra minutes. If you are using an old-school alarm clock, try adjusting the actual time to 5-10 mins ahead, so that you feel like you've gotten a few more moments of shut-eye. Otherwise, try setting your alarm for ten minutes earlier to allow yourself those ten extra minutes to pull yourself out of bed - especially if you are a "snoozer". If possible, also try setting your alarm or your phone out of reach. This way you will HAVE to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Hydrate during the day. I'm all for consuming your daily goal of water during the day. But try cutting it off at 7:00 pm the night before. This way you shouldn't have to wake up more than once to use the restroom - giving your body more solid rest.
- Plan ahead the night before. I lay out all of my clothes for my workout the night before, gear for outside, drinks and fuel. I just have to put everything on and press go. Make sure that all of your electronics and phone are charged-up, too. Nothing is more deflating than getting up early only to find that your watch isn't charged for your run (But, YES, it DOES still count!) Create a spot where "all the things" should be -- and make sure they are laid out there before you head to bed.
- Get to bed at a decent time. Rising at 3:50 am is no easy task if I'm up late binge-watching Netflix. Believe me, I've tried. I've learned that I need to head to bed between 8:00-9:00 pm to make myself ready for my clients and my personal workouts early in the morning. I am just setting myself up for disaster if I don't head to bed early.
- If you're a coffee drinker, try allowing yourself a cup of joe in the morning, before your early morning workout. I use my coffee pot's timer every single day. It goes off fifteen minutes before my alarm goes off. I smell that pot of coffee waiting for me and have a cup after I head downstairs to start my day. It's a great way to start my day with a boost and I don't have to wait for it.
- Find an accountability partner. This is why my clients hire me to run/walk with them in the morning or meet me in the studio for a strength training session. If you don't need a coach or a trainer, find an accountability partner that you can meet at the same time to workout together. If you aren't the same pace, you can still hold each other accountable to meet up and get started. Even if you can't meet in person, you can also text each other, to let them know you're ready for your morning workout.