8 Tips to Become a Morning Exerciser

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

Thanks for a very helpful article! Report
thank you Report
Thank you! Report
I find if I don’t get up and out first thing in the morning my exercise will get pushed back and then even lost by the days busy activities. Get up and get out morning friends!!! Report
I have tried to do am exercise.....but I just really like sleeping in when I can...I already wake up for work at 5:30am and go to bed at 11:00pm. I prefer exercising at night. Report
I want to me a morning exerciser. My problem is i already get up at 430 am to get ready fir work. Tomorrow morning i plan to do 10 min at least thdn get ready for work. Its a start. Report
thanks Report
they only work some days Report
I do a 6-minute routine every morning, the another later in the day that incorporates strength and cardio. 8-) Report
mornings are hard for me since I do not sleep at night Report
I started exercising every morning workdays about 2 months ago. The first idea was 10 mn on the bike to mobilize my arthritis knee.
I am now doing 15-20 mn most days and it really helps. I feel much better. It has gotten into an habit now...
This is only light exercise yet, nothing hard but it is good for my knee.
Getting up at 5:00 has become much easier.
Before that I used to snooze until 5:30, when I really have to get up and get prepared.
Now I hear the 5 O´Clock news, then I get up, take a big glass of water and get on my bike.
Starting 2018 I will get up another 15 mn earlier.
Waking up early in the morning is no problem for me, i don't even need alarm clock, most of the time i wake up 4 am .btw good article though Report
I sleep in my excercise clothes. They are comfortable and already on when I wake up...I have to change out of them to not excercise. ?? Report
Another thing I did was rather than trying to get up early enough all of a sudden, slowly work to the earlier rise time. I went in 15 minute increments - I'd get up 15 minutes earlier than normal for a few days, then another 15, until i was getting up early enough to workout and the extra time to get to/from the gym (about 2 hours earlier than "normal" for me).

There was no way I was going to go from getting up at 7 to getting up at 5, but 7 to 6:45 was do-able! I would take that time to do a short workout at home until I was to an hour where I could do a short workout at the gym. After that, it was MUCH easier to get up as my body slowly adjusted! Report
Looking forward too making the transition. It will make life easier! Report


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, behavior change specialist and functional training specialist. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.
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