There’s good evidence that morning workouts can help you stick to an exercise habit. But how do you actually get out of bed to do them? Here’s how to make wakeup-to-workout automatic:
1. Have your stuff ready. Every moment you waste looking for your watch, your cap, your workout shoes, is another moment you have to make excuses or do something else. Make it easy for yourself to get out the door. I put everything, including my watch and shoes, on the floor by my bed and put them on before I even get past the bedroom door.
2. Eat something! Your body needs something to burn after fasting all night. So give it a couple bites of something if you’re headed for a moderate workout. That might be a whole or half of a banana, a Fig Newton, half of an energy bar; how much you need depends on how long and tough of a workout you’re doing. Whatever you eat, it should contain some carbs. I chase mine down with a few sips of iced coffee, just so I can actually find the gym.
3. Don’t count the first 5 minutes. Triathlete Sara Reinthaler holds that “the first 5 minutes of anything suck.” That includes getting out of bed. Don’t judge how you feel until you’ve been out the door for 5 minutes. Let’s face it–wouldn’t you be saying “oh, I’m sooo tired” even if the alarm were going off an hour later? Skip the drama and just get out there!
4. Give it time. The first day or three of your new schedule, you may have an afternoon energy dip. Don’t stop exercising because of it. You may be running out of fuel too soon; morning exercisers often need to eat more in the morning and less in the evening to optimize their performance all day. Give your body a week–preferably two–to adjust. Only then can you evaluate whether morning workouts are working for you or not.
5. Go to bed earlier! Yes, it’s a no-brainer. So why not do it? Dr. Roizen of the YOU Docs recommends inching up your bedtime by 10 minutes a night. Not only will it be easier to get out of bed in the morning, but getting more sleep might help you live longer and stay thinner, too.