As much as I love fall, I don't love the darkness that comes with it. It's already getting darker earlier each night, and it's staying dark even when I wake up in the morning. I am not a fan of that!
It's hard enough to be a morning person and wake up to work out, but when the moon is still out when your alarm goes off, forget about it! Then again, if you hit snooze and wait to work out after work, you might be faced with the same problem.
I will admit that it's not easy for me to get up and be gung ho for a workout session. I am not and never will be a morning person. It's hard for me to wake up just about every day. But I do manage to stick to my morning workouts (most days anyway). And no, I don't have super human powers …which means you can do it, too. Here's how.
- Go to bed at a normal time. I'm naturally sleepier in the fall and winter, probably because of it gets dark so much earlier. When I know I'm going to wake up and work out, I make sure I get to bed early enough that I get 8 hours of sleep. Does it mean skipping "Conan"? Yep. Is it worth it? Oh heck, yes.
- Sleep in your workout clothes. I kid you not, this is my No. 1 strategy for making morning exercise a habit—especially in the fall and winter. When it's chilly, I don't want to get out of the covers or change into workout clothes. Plus, it saves me precious time in the morning. And honestly when you're already dressed, you're taking one less obstacle out of the way. Do it.
- Have a plan. Know exactly what you plan to do for your workout when you go to bed the night before. Whether it's a run, walk, DVD or class, have a plan in place. That way, you're not lying there in the morning trying to figure it out. Lay out your gear, equipment, gym bag and whatever else you'll need the night before, too. Plus when you know what you're going to do (such as run 3 miles), you know exactly how much time it takes (30 minutes plus time to stretch), and it keeps you punctual in the morning to make it happen.
- Don't hit snooze. Period. If you're a chronic snooze-button user, place your clock on the other side of the room so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Better yet, turn on the lights right away and turn on some heart-pumping music to help yourself wake up.
- Play your get-up-and-go music. We all know how music affects our mind and body in a positive way. It can change your mood, give you energy, and motivate you to reach higher. Play those tunes in the morning that remind you of your goals and why you're doing this in the first place. And make music the soundtrack to your morning workouts so that you can be fierce and push yourself to the very end.
- Don't make it a choice. Put simply, the big difference between those who get up and get it done and those who keep sleeping and feel guilty later is that morning exercisers Just. Do. It. It's not optional. It's not "Oh, if I feel like it, I'll wake up and work out tomorrow." They make the decision the night before. And when it's time to wake up and go, that's that. No fights. No compromising. No negotiation. It's just something that they do. And you have just as much power to make that happen, too.
I am not a morning person. I don't want to talk. I don't want to think. And I'd rather be in bed. But I remember my goals and why I'm working out in the a.m. (it's the only time I can really make it fit) and that's enough to make me do it, whether it's in darkness or in light.
Earlier this week, my alarm went off and I was tired. I would have loved to sleep in another hour. But I was already in my workout clothes. In fact, I purposefully put on my favorite no-excuses running shirt, which reads, "Rain, Snow, Sleet, Wind…Brave the Run". I knew it would be dark and cold, but that I was a runner and I don't make excuses. I started out slowly, but by the time my favorite songs kicked on, I found a surge of energy I didn't know I had in me. Truth is, the hardest part of waking up is that: waking up. The hardest part of exercising is getting started. If you can get through those two challenges, you are on your way, so make it as easy as possible for yourself to succeed…and you will.
What helps YOU work out on a dark morning or evening? Share your stick-with-it strategies below!
You will earn 5 SparkPoints