Hit the Gym Before Sunrise With These 11 Trainer Tips

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For some, the best part of waking up is hitting the snooze button and going right back to sleep. For us mere cozy-blanket-warm-bed-loving mortals, finding ways to get out the door in time for a pre-sunrise workout class can become a brutal competition, pitting your goals against your tired brain.  
Yet group fitness instructors and personal trainers seem to wake up with a spring in their step, a sparkle in their eye and a natural caffeine boost streaming through their system before the first songbird has even chirped. Their high-energy enthusiasm and go get 'em attitude can be more infuriating than infectious if you're still wiping the sleep from your eyes, but what if there was a way to steal their secrets to being chipper in the pre-dawn hours? Trainers and fitness pros aren't all morning people—they've just trained their bodies to never say snooze, and you can do the same.
Discover how SoulCycle instructors, celebrity trainers, group fitness leaders and yogis motivate themselves to rise with the sun and get on your own path to early morning embrace. 

The Early Bird Gets the Gains

Chris Pepe, SoulCycle Georgetown 7 a.m. Instructor
I set a lot of alarms—about 20, all at different times with different sounds, having them get more and more unpleasant sounding as it gets later into the morning. I also make sure to switch them up after a good deal of time. If you are used to waking up to the same sounds for months in a row, you will get a bit too used to it, and more easily sleep through it.

Juliana Mitchell, Director of Living Now Yoga, gets moving at 6 a.m.
I "set" my mind at the same time I set my alarm. On my phone my early morning alarm is literally named "hells yeah!" Setting my alarm at night, I see those words and I smile about the energy of them. In the morning, the alarm goes off and I see them again. It creates a vibe, an energy. My tip? Simply name your alarm on your phone. You could make it "thriving and strong!" or "living my powerful goals." Whatever gets you jazzed. Get your mind jazzed, then find ways to re-jazz it. Again and again for the rest of your life.

Abrea Arnold-Wooten, Signature Programming Manager at Life Time, first class at 8:30 a.m.
I've got a simple motto: "Refuse to snooze!" I know I'm more apt to get to a pre-scheduled workout over just a weight floor or piece of equipment. A group fitness class, personal training session or small group becomes a standing appointment and I know I need to get there by a certain time. There's no sense of urgency to get to my own free-flow workout session in the gym, so I tend to delay or make more excuses in that situation.

Brooke Taylor, Personal Trainer, rises and shines at 5:50 a.m.
Was I always an early riser? No! Did my body become accustomed to it over time? Yes! I typically will dice up some fresh vegetables the night before for a quick omelet or prepare some egg muffins at the start of the week. This makes it easy to reheat while I am washing my face and changing for the day.

"Bring your girl squad."

Sarah Ann Kelly, Mom Trainer Blogger whose day starts at 5 a.m.
Bring your girl squad. My moms who come to my early morning classes bring their friends. It's a great excuse to have some girl time, and you'll be more likely to show up if your friends are counting on you!

Ashley Roddy, AFAA-Certified Group Fitness and 5:30 a.m. Boot Camp Instructor
Visualize the rest of the day. When you get a good workout completed in the morning, you'll have fewer distractions as you go about your day. I also find that being up before most people makes me feel like I have an edge on getting things done, and I'm much more motivated to tackle other tasks. Visualizing your day before you even go to bed can also keep you from thinking of your morning workout as optional.

Bree Branker, 8 a.m. IMAXShift Master Instructor
Getting up at 5 or 6 a.m. to do cardio is a special skill, to say the least. Anything and everything helps. I am obsessed with the song feature in my alarm. I change it often, to whatever song I'm particularly jamming out to lately. Right now, my alarm is "Perfect Strangers" by Jonas Blue. By the time I realize I'm not dreaming and it's time to get out of bed, I'm not as jarred or shocked out of a deep sleep by an abrasive alarm.

"I used to set the alarm right before bed, but I was finding it stressful to be reminded how early I was getting up. It's all psychological!"

Jessica Sanders, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, bright eyed at 6 a.m.
Set up a post-workout reward, something that you really want like a yummy breakfast, an iced coffee from your favorite coffee shop or something else. It will give you something to look forward to when you would rather just stay in bed.

Jennifer Dene, Celebrity Pilates Instructor, up and at 'em at 4:30 a.m.
What helps me get going in the morning is actually what I do the night before. I set my alarm immediately after dinner, and place it far away from my bed so that I will have to get out of bed to turn it off. I used to set the alarm right before bed, but I was finding it stressful to be reminded how early I was getting up. It's all psychological! This also stops me from using my phone late at night, which is really beneficial for winding down at the appropriate time. 

Robin Gillespie, Fitness Professional, trains clients starting at 5:30 a.m.
I use a good, old-fashioned alarm clock that does not have a snooze button in my bathroom. When it goes off, I have to get up to turn it off and there is a glass of water next to it for my first hydration of the day.

Scott Fishman, Professional Coach and Founder of Team All-American, starts inspiring at 6 a.m.
A morning routine filled with gratitude is the key to getting up for early workouts. Keep a window slightly open in your bedroom so the sun helps you wake up. Set your alarm to an uplifting, positive song. Do not hit snooze. Practice makes permanent—get in the habit of not snoozing and it gets easier. Close your eyes and do some breathing in silence, then look yourself in the mirror and say, "I'm grateful to be alive. I'm happy. I'm successful." Say it like you mean it. If you can convince yourself that these positive habits are what you need (because they are), then you will stick to your new routine. Tell yourself repeatedly that these great habits make you happy, and you'll be eager to jump out of bed every morning!

Do you have a morning tip that guarantees you're out of bed with the sun? Share it in the comments!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


ESMERELDA12 7/4/2021
Thanks. Report
EVILCECIL 11/14/2020
Interesting. Report
SUNSET09 8/12/2020
I prefer to work out after work as I have no kids nor spouse to cook or clean behind. My evenings are my own and I'm in the job for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and reward myself ending in the sauna. Talking bout a restful nights sleep. I'd prefer not to be rushed in the morning to shower, change and get to work. Thanx for the information, SparkFriends. Report
Thanks Report
Useful Report
thank you Report
Some great suggestions, I need to get my workout in the first thing in the morning or it won't get done. Report
I can’t even imagine why I would want to go to a gym never mind before sunrise, what ever happened to getting proper sleep? If the sunrise is occurring at 4:45 and you get up at 4 you would have to be in bed by 8pm, does that really happen? Report
I can't stand going to the gym. They are really gross to me Report
Thanks Report
Go when it feels right for you Report
I like all of these suggestions. I've had the good fortune of belonging to a gym with classes that begin at 5 or 5:30 am since 1996. Love being able to start my day with a strenuous workout! Working out in a fasted state stimulates human growth hormone, has increased my muscle mass and burned body fat. Report
I have smart light bulbs in my bedroom, that gradually get brighter over half an hour. By the time my alarm goes off, the light is all the way on, and I'm usually already awake and ready to get up. It's a nice, gentle way to wake up. Report
Good Tips. Thanks. Report
thanks! Report
I am not going to the gym before sunrise. I prefer early afternoons Report
I ride with a friend to the gym. She picks me up on gym days and we both have perfect attendance at the gym. So, you are correct in saying that your friend gives you incentive in helping you. Report
I do morning or evening excerise love ut use to be early in the am Report
Great, Thanks! Report
Do what you feel, if you are not comfortable, doing what experts say, is not helpful. Report
I keep my alarm set at the same time every morning. Habit helps. If I don't hear my alarm, my husband pokes me on the shoulder to awaken me. Works great! Report
I wish I was a morning person but I am not. I can get up earlier once or twice. I prefer evenings although I see the advantage of getting it done in the AM Report
I have tried over the years to exercise in the morning, but it just doesn't work for me. I am an evening exerciser. Always have been. I believe everyone needs to do what works for them. Report
I don't get the push to get up before the sun rises, what is the difference, you just lose time at night going to bed at a ridiculously early time. If you don't have time to exercise later in the day you probably won't have time to go to bed at 8 pm or earlier to get your sleep. Report
Sorry, I never exercise before sunrise. It disrupts circadian rhythms and can affect ability to lose or maintain weight, the immune system, and if long term, can affect life expectancy. I "get" why some people with long commutes can only fit it in early, but if there is any option at all for you to wait until the sun shines, it probably would be better. (You don't have to believe me--you can do the research yourself.) :) Report
Get a dog! or a pet. I started getting up early with our bunnies and it's just continued now that we don't have the bunnies but do have a dog. We both love the early morning walk and that sets me up for morning work out later. Report

What time do these 4 am folks go to bed ?!?!?!?!?
Summer in Texas = Get out, and exercise before sunrise ;-) Report
I start moving at 0315 every morning, 3mins of stretching , then 30mins of exercise scheduled that day ... and by time for slumber, I'm retiring by 1830hrs (6:30pm) and get my 8hrs of recommended sleep. Report
I used to use the snooze button almost everyday until I joined SparkPeople. Since I have started turning off my alarm and getting up immediately, I have noticed such an incredible difference in my willingness to start my day. I often wake up before the alarm now, turn it off, and get right up. Report
As a night shifter, I have to reverse the times. Working 12 hour shifts makes it hard to get to the gym at all on work days. Hurry home, make sure kids get up for school, go to bed, get up and do it all over again. Report
My Brother hated wild music. So he set his clock radio on a radical music station. Well then he HAD to get up to turn it off! Report
I get up for WORK before all of these people! I'll stick to my afternoon workout. That's when I'm awake enough NOT to hurt myself exercising. Report
Along with the girl squad, carpool. Needing to pick someone up, or that someone is waiting for me helps me get out of bed.

I also have a friend who would start talking herself out of her morning run as she was laying in bed. When she noticed she was doing it, she would firmly tell herself, "this is a conversation we can have after mile one." Of course once mile one was in, she didn't stop. Report
Here's a simple tip to avoid the temptation to hit the snooze button. Move your alarm clock, clock radio, phone - whatever you use to wake you up - to the opposite side of the room. Put it on the dresser out of reach, and make sure the volume is loud enough to wake you.

When the alarm goes off, you HAVE to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you're out of bed, don't go back.

I've been using this method for over 30 years, and I've never overslept or gone back to bed after turning the alarm off. Report
No snooze--just wake to WQXR classical music--not jarring and so wonderful! You get used to waking up early! Report
OMG, Beldame is sooooo right! I go to the gym specifically to use certain equipment. Nothing tees me off more than to see "workout buddies" who drape themselves over adjoining machines and LOITER there and chat for a half-hour. It's not as if there isn't a little area in the gym where people can chat. I HATE that. Report
My husband and I go together. We don't work out together (I swim for morning workouts, he does some cardio machine) but it helps keep the other motivated.
I also set the coffee maker to make freshly ground coffee 7 minutes before my alarm goes off :)

The real "trick" is to go to bed on time. Be in bed by 9-10pm and a 5am wake up isn't so bad.

I do a mix of morning and evening workouts. Mornings are good when I know it's going to be a long day and the energy is going to be low for the evening. When I work from home or on weekends, I'm definitely NOT there bright and early. Report
I keep saying this, and maybe one day someone will listen:
**Please stop pushing the whole "workout buddies" thing. You know how the stereotype that women stand around the gym chatting and clogging up the equipment got started? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS. Please knock it off; if you're not disciplined enough to to it on your own, it's time for some introspection and reframing.

Personally, evening workouts are much more effective for me. I can lift more weight, get out more reps, and perform better at cardio. If you have a hard time working out in the morning, do it later in the day. Report
I love the tip about looking in the mirror and saying:"I'm grateful to be alive. I'm happy. I'm successful."
Also: REFUSE TO SNOOZE! Love it! Report
If you tally the minutes you spent under your duvet weighing the pros and cons of a morning sweat sesh, your workout would probably have been done. So, give yourself no more than one snooze and hit the ground running. You can cry about it after (but chances are you won’t). Report
Having to set _20_ alarms? LOL! These people obviously don't have dogs! :-)
Tummy & walkies demands do not respond to snooze buttons. Report
Thanks for the tips! Report
When I used to be a PT, our 6 am clients would always comment on our perkiness, 10 seconds before we went out to meet the clients, we'd be throwing down coffee hardcore in the staff room. Report