Fitness Articles

8 Tips to Become a Morning Exerciser

Make a Habit You Can Stick with for Good!

Are you someone who jumps out of bed each day, bursting with energy and ready to go?  If not (and not many people are!), then you aren’t alone in wondering how morning exercisers do it.  Somehow it must be easier for them to get up when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m., because that’s not something you could possibly do, right?  Well, not necessarily.  It might not be easy, but you really can slowly train your body to get used to morning workouts.  Working out first thing in the morning means no more stressing about how you’ll fit it in when a meeting pops up at lunchtime, or when you remember your kids have soccer practice right after work.  Here's how to make morning exercise a habit you can stick with once and for all to help you sneak fitness into your busy schedule.
  1. Prepare the night before. When the alarm goes off, you don’t want to waste time looking for something to wear, digging your gym shoes out of the closet or finding a pre-workout snack to munch on.  Put your workout clothes out, pack your gym bag (or be ready to push ''play'' on your DVD) and have everything ready to go so that you don’t have an excuse to hit the snooze button.   If you’ll be leaving for the day and need a post-workout snack and lunch, pack those the night before, too.  The fewer things on your morning to-do list, the better.  That way, you can get out the door quickly and focus on your workout before the day really begins.
  2. Go to bed earlier. Adequate sleep is important for good health, so it’s crucial to get to bed at a reasonable hour if you’re going to start getting up earlier.  However, this should be a gradual transition.  You can’t expect to fall asleep at 9 p.m. if you’re used to going to bed at midnight.  Try moving bedtime back 15-20 minutes per night until you’ve reached your new desired time. 
  3. Make yourself a deal. I get up early 6 days a week to exercise, but most of the time I dread rolling out of bed.  When I think about sleeping in, I remember the pact I’ve made with myself to do at least 10 minutes.  If I get up, exercise for 10 minutes and still feel exhausted, I give myself permission to go back to bed.  In all of my years as a morning exerciser, that’s never happened.  Once you’re up and moving, it’s more of a hassle to stop and easier to just keep going and finish the workout.   
  4. Consider home workouts. If driving to the gym in the early morning is part of what deters you, perhaps exercising at home is a better option.  It is possible to roll out of bed and get a good workout without lots of fancy equipment.  Need ideas?  SparkPeople has lots of home workouts to get you started.  Check out Coach Nicole’s videos on SparkPeople, as well as DVDs at your local library.  
  5. Create a reward system. Becoming a morning exerciser can be challenging, but the more consistent you can be, the easier it is.  Recognizing your hard work with rewards is a good way to keep motivation high and help make fitness a lifelong habit.  Take some time to think about the rewards that would mean the most to you.  Even if it’s not something big and indulgent (like a vacation or new workout clothes), finding ''me'' time to do something simple you enjoy can be a great incentive to stick with your new routine.
  6. Find a buddy. Is there someone in your neighborhood who would like to meet you for early morning walks or runs, or maybe someone at your gym who needs a workout partner?  It’s much more difficult to hit the snooze button when you know someone is going to be waiting for you.  If you can’t find a buddy in your area, connect with an online buddy through SparkPeople.  Hold each other accountable for your morning workouts, and you’ll find it’s easier to be consistent.
  7. Share your plan publicly. Create a network of support by sharing your goals.  Post your plan on SparkPeople or other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, and ask people to hold you accountable.  When you know that others will be seeing your activity, you’ll feel more pressure to follow through with the commitment you’ve made.
  8. Give it time. Don’t expect to easily become a morning exerciser overnight.  It takes time to develop the habit, and no matter how long you’ve been at it, you’ll still have days where it’s really tough to drag yourself out of bed.  Consider starting with a goal of a few days each week, and slowly build up from there as you become more comfortable in your new routine.
When the alarm goes off and you’re giving yourself a pep talk to get out of bed, focus on how you’ll feel after the workout is over.  Then, think about how you’ll feel if you skip it.  Knowing how much better you'll feel after you're done makes the choice a no-brainer! Keep making that choice consistently, and you'll be a morning exercise pro in no time!
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • One of my biggest success tips: Sometimes I feel like a workout when I wake up, sometimes I don't. But lately, I've been telling myself that I have never regretted working out in the mornings...but there have been plenty of times I've regretted not working out. That alone is enough to get me up and moving. - 9/3/2015 5:27:59 PM
  • If I could workout at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, I would like that, but I cannnot workout at 5:30 before I have to get to work. My body just doesn't like it that early. Even when I was a young whippersnapper in college, it just was not the time for me. I'm too creaky and dehydrated or something. - 8/24/2015 7:59:59 AM
    I am NOT a morning person, I am a late to bed late to rise person and I can do that because I'm retired. But I finally realized that after 2 years of retirement I had become a slug so I joined an exercise class at the local senor center that, fortunately for me, has a 9:30 group. I decided I could do 9:30. And it's 3 times a week. I love this class, I do what I can which isn't everything but hey, at least it's something, and by 10:30 I'm done. Works for me! - 8/23/2015 9:24:20 PM
  • DDB0416
    Morning works for me, I feel so accomplished when I can start my workday AFTER already working out. I hear some people saying that morning doesn't work for them. I think the point is pick a time that works for you and DO IT. - 7/11/2015 8:36:32 AM
    This is great info. Morning for me is best because so many things come up in the afternoon. The only problem that I have is my hair is always so wet and I cant comb it properly for work. - 3/6/2015 3:27:32 PM
  • I get up early on Friday mornings for a 6a Body Pump class. I get my gym bag ready the night before and go to bed early. I always grumble when the alarm goes off, but it's a nice feeling to know when it's 7a I'm DONE!! - 3/6/2015 8:42:41 AM
  • I am so like Mapleview45. It's hard because I work! Tomorrow is the first day of the school year and I am going to TRY to work out on the way in. The hard part will be falling asleep early enough. I'm tempted to take a swig of Nyquil! - 8/10/2014 9:10:11 PM
    hello morning people. Did you know God made NIGHT people too? Yes I love to read or sew or play words with friends on my Kindle until 2 or 3:00. I am retired and staying up late was always a treat for me, now it is a pleasure I enjoy most nights. My alarm goes off at 8:45 to get me to the Y by 9:45 a.m.
    My Sparkpeople goal is to try to get to sleep by 1:00 a.m. so I will get 8 hours not 6 to 7 each night. Believe it or not that will be hard for me. - 8/6/2014 11:21:46 AM
  • I find that getting exercise in in the morning helps me stay on track as far as eating is concerned. I don't want to waste the work that I've done by eating not so good for you stuff! Plus, like other posters, there are many days after work that i'm either physically or psychologically tired: blowing off a workout is easy to do in that case. - 8/6/2014 9:43:32 AM
  • So true! - 8/6/2014 6:07:26 AM
  • Get up EARLIER! I get up at 4:15 AM. - 8/5/2014 7:40:22 PM
  • Morning is best for me because I know me. I usually have that mental exhaustion after work. Got my 45 minutes in this morning !!! - 8/5/2014 4:33:36 PM
  • I am a morning person I generally get my exercise in first thing in the AM, though I have been known to take a late afternoon or evening yoga or Pilates class. But why is the morning considered the optimum to exercise? The Optimum time is what works best for you, and that you schedule it and do it. I know people who swear by going to the gym after work, I think they're nuts, then again they think I'm crazy because i like to work out at 7 AM - 8/5/2014 1:45:04 PM
  • I am currently trying this. Used to get up late at 7:30 (even though the alarm was set for 6:30 I'd always hit snooze), now I get up at 6 and take my time getting ready for work while still be able to tick something off my to do list. My goal is 5 so I can do that plus exercise. My main motivator is that its a lot cooler in the early morning for runs and quiet. - 8/5/2014 11:38:29 AM
  • Mornings have always been the best time for me to exercise since I'm a morning person even if I don't sleep well. I'm off to the pool at 8 AM most mornings to do my routine.

    - 8/5/2014 7:30:30 AM

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