What is the best time to work out? I would argue it's the time where you can consistently fit it into your busy schedule. When I first started working, I was determined to make the post work gym session my routine. But more days than not, one of the following things happened:
a) I ended up working too late to fit it in
b) Didn't bring enough food and was too hungry to workout
c) Just too exhausted after a long day
Raise your hand if one of these scenarios has happened to you. It's so common, yet we often keep repeating the cycle. What finally broke the cycle for me was switching my workouts to the morning before work. Morning workouts sound scary, they often involve getting up at times in the morning we have only seen during a late night out, but they are often the easiest time to consistently get to the gym for most of us with an office job.
I've put together my tips and tricks for how to successfully work out in the morning to try an ease the transition for those of you looking to make the switch.
1. Start slow --> There is nothing more shocking to your system then waking up 2 hours earlier than usual. You'll likely find yourself overly groggy by mid-morning and too tired to try again the next morning. Instead, break the time difference up and spread it over a week or two to let your body slowly adjust.
Example - I typically was getting up at 6:45am but in order to make the gym in the mornings I now have to get up at 5:15am. I spread these changes to my schedule over 2 weeks so by week 3 I was getting up at the required 5:15am and was gym ready!
2. Go to bed earlier --> If you're now getting up earlier, if you're not going to bed any earlier you're just going to find yourself overly tired. When I was getting up at 6:45am, I was going to bed around 11:45pm meaning I was getting 7 hours of sleep. For me, that is the right amount of sleep so I created a similar schedule to my wake up where I progressively was going to bed earlier and earlier. If you're finding that you're consistently tired, it's time to make that bedtime earlier so you can get the amount of sleep your body needs.
3. Stick to your bedtime --> By going to bed past you're bedtime, you're setting yourself up for pressing the snooze button right through your workout. The best way I found to stick to my bedtime was to create reminders throughout my evening so I had enough time to accomplish what I needed to without keeping myself up late.
If I was going to bed at 10:15pm, I knew I needed to start my 'nighttime routine' at 10:00pm so I not only created a reminder at 10:00pm but at 9:30pm so I knew I needed to wrap up what I was doing shortly.
4. Prepare the previous evening --> By getting everything ready the evening before, you can maximize the amount of time you can sleep in the morning. Additionally, it gives you much less that you have to think about/accomplish in the morning when you're still tired. Below is a list of everything I suggest making sure is prepped before you go to bed:
- Pack your gym bag and put it by the front door. If you have wireless headphone that are charging, put your bag beside the outlet they are charging in so you won't forget those!
- If you get ready at the gym: Pack what you need for work the next day (work clothes, breakfast/lunch etc.).
- If you get ready at home: Lay out your clothes, pack your lunch and plan/prep your breakfast. That way you will be super speedy getting ready after the gym.
- Lay out your gym clothes (depending on how clean my gym clothes are, I will often even sleep in my gym clothes).
- Prepare you pre-workout snack (check out this blog post for good early morning pre-workout foods that are simple and portable).
- Have a plan for your workout, there is nothing worse than wasting 15 minutes that you could have been sleeping flipping through instagram looking for a workout.
5. Utilize your favourite source of caffeine --> This is obviously not saying you should rely on caffeine to get you out of bed but I find it far easier to get up when I know I have a yummy cup of coffee waiting for me. I also find, by sipping on my coffee on the way to the gym, I have lots more energy to workout once I get there. If you prefer energy drinks or pre-workout that's fine too, whatever makes you excited to get out of bed and drink.
Warning: if you're adding caffeine into your routine, make sure you're removing it somewhere as well so you aren't completely overdoing it. I moved my afternoon coffee to pre-workout which has also helped me get to bed earlier.
6. Just complete your warm up --> This may sound silly to people but I found that having a huge workout planned overwhelmed me a lot early in the morning. If felt exhausting to accomplish and made me want to crawl back into bed. Instead, I just tell myself all I have to do when I get to the gym is my warm up. After that, if I'm still feeling tired I can go home and go back to sleep. Of course, once you're done you're warm up and the caffeine has kicked in you always feel like killing your workout. But by not putting that pressure on myself immediately when I woke up, I was way more likely to get myself there.
Hope these tips help to make those morning workouts far easier! If you have any additional tips make sure to let me know below.