Fitness Articles

8 Tips to Become a Morning Exerciser

Make a Habit You Can Stick with for Good!

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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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Member Comments

  • BILLTHOMSON
    Trying to keep up with all the great suggestions
  • When we embrace our mistakes, we embrace living.
  • Because of a new job I have to become a morning exerciser, so wish me luck!
  • This is my goal too! Getting things ready at night is a great tip.
  • Kind of a funny synchronicity that this is the the Spark Tip of the day, and I did it before I had a chance to read it. I guess it's meant to be!!! ;) Thank You God, Happy Day
  • Before I read this article, I woke up early and did my exercises and I am happy as can be that now it's done and I can just challenge myself to be active throughout the day, but my minimum is done. I am making this my new lifestyle habit today 4-16-2017...This is my desire&goal.
  • AJOOBA
    These are great tips. I especially like the "make yourself a deal" suggestion. As a shift worker, it has always been difficult for me to establish a regular routine. I generally exercise when it fits into my varied schedule. If only my gym was open 24 hours!
  • Ha ha ha! I'm NOT a morning person and I HATE to exercise! Therefore, that's when I do it. I get up, hop into my workout clothes, and get going before my body realizes what's going on. In the winter, it's still dark out, and I can pretend it's all just a bad dream. I can get in about 6 miles before I take my shower and start my day.
  • I am not a willing morning exerciser, but my dog is. :-) Between the recent really hot weather & his insistence, I seem to be building an a.m. habit!
  • Since I retired I regularly wake up about 6:45 and after watching the news and having breakfast I get dressed and head to the gym or out for a walk. Oh yeah! with my Nike Fuel band I have also already gotten at least 3 short walks around the house before I leave.
    Morning works for me but I read somewhere that the best time to exercise is when you will actually do it.
  • I am not really a morning person or someone who loves exercise, but I exercise at home and sometimes tend to get other stuff going even into the evening that can crowd out a routine.
    So far, I am recently trying for 6 am workouts as the weather in Florida is heating up - never made it so far - - more like 6:30 - 6:45 beginning. It is amazing how many things I can think of that I need to start up at 6:00 a.m.!!
    MY 2 TIPS - Especially if you like variety, plan what you want to do before you get up - or at least narrow down the choices -- otherwise the decision maker is a real time killer at 6 a.m.
    If you're at an age when you wake up achy (like me! ) try to find workouts with a longer warmup time or you may psyche myself out of even trying.
  • I really enjoy my nighttime walks, it's peaceful and there's less sidewalk traffic - plus I know I'm working off what I've eaten during the day. I have no trouble falling asleep and the energy transfers over to the next day. I'm going to try to do both - see how it goes with morning, noon and night walks. Good thing I have several pairs of walking shoes!
  • RMORRIS33
    I was never a morning person.....but now I love getting my exercise out of the way in the a.m.! I actually have withdrawal when I don't go!
  • If I don't get my exercise done in the morning, chances are slim that it will get done at all. Sundays drive me crazy because I have to be up and getting ready for work by 5:30, which leaves no time for a workout. (Getting up earlier is not an option right now because in the 5 years I've had this job, I've never slept well the night before.) Any other day and I can be raring to go as soon as I jump out of bed. My family gets bummed though because I start getting ready for bed at 7:30.
  • 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.

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.

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