You’ve heard it before: waking up early to exercise is the best way to start your day.
It can be harder to wake up earlier than you already do, especially when it’s so easy to hit the snooze button.
It’s even harder when falling asleep at night feels like such a battle.
That’s why making exercise or your yoga practice a part of your morning routine is crucial. That way, waking up early doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s a habit, something that you naturally do every day.
Plus, exercising first thing in the morning revs up your metabolism, sets you up for a productive day, and helps you sleep better.
And that’s not the whole story. Morning exercise is also a fantastic way to make fitness a priority in your lifestyle as you kick your day off with a sweat session.
I can go on and on about the benefits of morning workouts, but that’s another subject for another day. For now, let’s focus on how you can do it, even if you don’t consider yourself a morning person.
Without further ado, here are some steps to prepare you for morning workouts so you can wake up feeling fresh and ready for intense exercise.
Let’s get started.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is the first step for becoming a morning exerciser, which means that you might need to give up some late nights.
If you’re sleep-deprived, you won’t have enough energy to work out. You also won’t feel good during the rest of the day.
Sleep is just as critical as regular exercise and good nutrition for meeting your fitness goals. Getting enough of it can make or break your morning workout.
And it’s not just about waking up early, either. Your entire sleep cycle is naturally set by your circadian rhythm, which is more ancient than your alarm clock or your current sleep habits. You see, your brain was designed to work with the natural sunlight, being alert when the sun comes up and getting sleepy when the sun goes away.
When you let your body fall into its natural circadian rhythm, your brain will begin to produce melatonin. And melatonin production makes it a whole lot easier to get a good night’s sleep.
To ensure good sleep quality, do the following:
- Get seven to eight hours. If you want to be out of bed at 5 a.m, calculate how much shut-eye you should get and go to bed accordingly. Keep in mind that you may need 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep, too.
- Start slowly. Don’t try to sprint right off the gate. Instead, pick a new out-of-bed time and steadily work towards it. Want to rise at 5 a.m but stuck at 6.30 am? Start by setting the alarm for 6:00 am and move down in 10-minutes increments until you reach your goal wake-up time.
- Avoid devices. Avoid computer, cell phone, and TV use before hitting the sack since the blue light they emit greatly affects sleep quality.
2. Get Ready the Night Before
Preparing the night before your workout may only take a few minutes, but it’s going to help avoid wasted time half-sleepily looking for your gear. The fewer obstacles, the less likely you’re to return to your bed.
During the night routine, do the following:
- Fill up your water bottle
- Charge your iPod
- Put your armband or yoga mat by the door
- Place your keys in your shoes by the door
- Lay your dumbbells next to your TV
- Lay out your exercise clothes near your bed on the dresser
- Pack your gym bag and place it next to your clothes
3. Follow a Training Plan
You’re more likely to stick to your morning workout routine if you have a well-detailed written plan. Knowing what’s on schedule gives you the peace of mind so that you can focus on making the most out of your training.
Once you decide on a schedule, such as this monthly yoga calendar, write it down in your calendar and treat your morning sessions the same way you’d a work meeting or doctor’s appointment. Your health is just as important—if not more so—like any other appointment.
Give this morning yoga workout a try to get started:
4. Have Some Breakfast
Although I’m a big fan of fasted-state exercise, I understand that’s not for everyone. Many actually need that extra energy boost in the morning to get going.
As a rule, avoid eating a large breakfast before your workout. Feasting before fitness sets you up for nothing but stomach pain, side cramps, and mediocre performance—you might end up puking on the side of the road, too
Focus on high-quality carbohydrates for maximum energy.
A light breakfast, as the name implies, doesn’t have to be a lot. Some of my favorites include:
- A banana
- Low-fat milk
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
I’d recommend that you experiment with different pre and post-workout breakfast recipes to find the best time to eat breakfast and what works the best for you, too.
5. Resist The Temptation
The biggest hurdle for most people when it comes to exercising in the AM is the action of getting up itself. Many are tempted to hit the snooze button so they can go back to sleep, but it never ends well.
To make sure you’re out of the door in the morning, do the following:
- Move your alarm, setting it away from your arms reach so that you’ll be forced to get up out of bed to turn it off. And once you’re on your feet, the hardest part is over.
- Turn on the light as soon as the alarm goes off. Turn on the light or open your blinds when you get up. Even little light works fine. This also helps reset your body clock.
- Warm-up for your session. Perform a few dynamic exercises to increase your body temperature and get you limber, and before you know it, you’ll be awake and ready for your workout.
About the Author | David Dack
David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.