The verdict is in: getting in your workout in the morning is beneficial to your body - and soul! - for several reasons, from improved productivity to better sleep.
But sometimes, hearing your alarm when it's still dark out and your dreams are so delicious is the worst. thing. ever. It's so easy to push snooze, roll over, and snuggle into your pillow for a couple more hours of precious sleep.
Trust me. I know the feeling well.
It wasn't until I had to start waking up early, to teach a morning class, that I started to appreciate the value of the rest of the limitless day ahead of me, once a solid workout was already under my belt before 7:00 a.m.
So, here are my personal suggestions for maintaining a joyful attitude when that alarm goes off.
1. Set the tone.
Basically, change your "uuugghhhh" to "yay!" This one takes practice, but once you master it, your whole experience of rolling (or jumping!) out of bed will be a doable, if not particularly delightful, one. The mind-body connection is a powerful one.
The moment you hear your alarm go off, greet the day with a personal mantra of optimism. Some to try:
- Today is going to be awesome.
- Today is my day!
- I feel alive and I'm ready to make it happen today!
- I am so grateful for this day.
- It's a beautiful morning.
Have your background music ready to go. Make a playlist for your car or iPod with uplifting tunes. Some of my favorite morning melodies are "Up Up and Away" by Kid Cudi and "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors.
Attitude is everything - even when it comes to waking up.
2. Make it easy.
Pre-dawn is not the optimal time to think things through. The night before your workout, set out everything you'll need in the bathroom. That way, after you've used the toilet and brushed your teeth, you can slip on your workout gear, plug in your headphones, lace up your shoes and be on your way. Keep your yoga mat in your car or rolled out in the living room. I know some people who sleep in their running clothes so they can just roll out of bed and hit the road! (If you are going to be out on the road, it's a good idea to have a headlamp and/or lightweight reflective vest as well as reflective clothing.)
3. Find something you love.
Do you HATE running?? By all means, do NOT make this your morning workout of choice. You'll be much less likely to stick with something you simply don't enjoy.
Waking up early can be torturous enough without feeling like you have to go torture yourself once you're up and moving. Find a group class that sounds appealing - look for an early morning water aerobics class or try some warm yoga. Gyms offer everything from cycling to power lifting early in the morning. Find something that speaks to your soul - my favorite is a class that combines a HIIT-format workout with gentle stretching and peaceful meditation - our very own Wide Awake! class.
Don't overthink it; sometimes the most refreshing way to start your day is with a nice, lung-clearing walk around the block.
BONUS: the post-workout glow!
Once you're done with your workout, you've got the rest of the day ahead of you - and chances are, it'll be a great day. A workout has its longterm benefits, to be sure, but the "afterglow" is so worth it, too.
Post-exercise, your body is high on fresh, clean oxygen. Your thoughts are not jumbled or harried. Your mind is crisp and clear. And, as my friend Jill puts it, "You don't even need bronzer! You've got that rejuvenated glow - kind of like the post-sex glow!"
Nothing wrong with that.
What's your favorite way to wake up and move your body? Let us know in comments.
Emily Nielsen, CPT, is the owner of Fit for Motherhood, LLC, mother of 2 little girls, and an optimist by nature.
All posts © Emily Nielsen