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.
Brooke is facing an issue she never thought she'd have.
"I don't recognize my legs!" she says. "They're getting so toned and lean. I love it!"
Brooke joined our Balance A.C.C.E.S.S. program on April 9, 2014, when her youngest child was 6 months old. (Kudos to Brooke right off the bat: she has 3 children aged 3 and under!)
Brooke will tell you that Balance Family Fitness has changed the way she looks at fitness.
She found herself after three children weighing more than she would like and not having exercised in a long time.
She would dread the idea of working out, getting sweaty and worst of all...running. But she knew that Emily had helped get her into shape a couple years ago (after baby #1) and she had to seek her help again if she wanted to make a change in the right direction.
Just two short months after joining, Brooke has made a significant leap forward in her journey to fitness. She now looks forward to her four workouts each week, like an oasis. After all, this is her only time away from the kids and she gets to focus on just her health for that time.
Here's what Brooke has to say about her 8 weeks thus far in the A.C.C.E.S.S. program:
* I love the meditation portion of our workouts. It really helps me to focus my energies in the right direction for the day. It helps me to slow down my mind from the constant task list of what needs to be done next to just silence for a moment. It is unlike any other workout session you have attended.
I am so proud of Brooke! She is a shining example of how dedication and determination can really add up to real results.
Click here to learn more about our Balance A.C.C.E.S.S. program. There are only 3 spots left!
Catie, a 34-year-old mother of two, started her journey with us at Balance in October 2013, when she joined a 6-week session of Lively Woman.
Since then, this dedicated mama has become an inspirational fixture at the studio. Catie constantly pushes herself to work out at her best level, feel stronger, and eat better.
Since October, Catie has not only gone from a size 8/10 to a size 2, but her NSVs (non-scale victories) make her feel alive.
Lost: 16 pounds, several dress sizes, and 12+ inches.
Gained: confidence, strength, love of physical activity
"I'm so proud. " Catie says. "I hiked Table Rock last week for the first time and it felt easy. I can keep up with my kids. I have more confidence and I'm willing to try more things. "
Plus, she says, it's amazing to have found a true passion for exercise. "I LOVE to workout! My body loves and craves it. I feel amazing."
Catie joined our A.C.C.E.S.S. program in April, alongside seven other dedicated participants. In addition to pushing herself at the studio for classes up to four times a week, Catie walks diligently through her neighborhood, kids in tow, and tracks her food intake using My Fitness Pal. (Another huge accomplishment? Catie has been refined sugar-free for over a year!)
Catie, it is an awesome pleasure to accompany you on your journey. You are a constant source of inspiration to all of us at the studio. Keep up the fantastic work!!
While you've probably witnessed how small children can unwittingly master the perfect squat, many of us have lost that ability and probably no longer even try.
But just because something seems unfamiliar or challenging, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to incorporate it into out lives!
We all know that regular activity is important on so many levels. The benefits of regular physical activity include, but aren't limited to:
However, when it comes to getting physically active, especially after a period of months or years of inactivity, the process of beginning can be daunting. With the onslaught of various exercise regimes, gyms touting life-changing routines, incessant "fitspo" memes, fat shaming, skinny shaming, and the plethora of diet wisdom out there, no wonder people aren't eager to jump into the health and fitness world.
As I like to say, fitness shouldn't be intimidating.
So I am proud and excited to introduce a friendly, practical, effective introduction to working out called Beginner Boot Camp.
Maybe you haven't so much as walked around the block since high school. Maybe you've recovered from an injury and need to get back to activity. Maybe you've been so overwhelmed by the myriad group fitness classes, home workout DVDs, and fad workout crazes that it seems silly to start.
Maybe you don't trust your body, heart, or head to move in the right ways.
Beginner Boot Camp offers a small group of women (limit of 8 participants) a safe and well-equipped space to learn the basics of exercise and how to perform a number of essential moves in a way that promotes good form, balance, and optimal benefits.
Topics covered in Beginner Boot Camp include:
- The importance of warmup and cool down
- Proper form
- Injury prevention
- Modifications for higher and lower intensity and impact
- Making exercise accessible and most of all.... FUN!
Spots are already filling up for the inaugural session of Beginner Boot Camp, which is timed to get you ready for the summer months feeling confident and committed.
Session 1 dates are:
June 16, 18, 23, 25 at 5:45-6:45 pm at our private studio.
Feel free to come by for a tour (call first!) or contact me with any questions.
To register, please click here.
I look forward to working with you!
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