7 Tips for Getting the Best Morning Workout
The sun is rising earlier these days, which means you can exercise earlier than usual, before your normal workday begins. Plus, who wants to go for a walk or jog outdoors when the temperatures regularly hit peaks in the 90s and humidity levels are sky high? Not me. There are also many advantages to switching routines to the AM hours, foremost of which is eliminating the excuse factor for skipping workouts. If you get it out of the way for the day, you'll likely stick with the routine. (Related: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)
As a long-time runner who prefers moving in the evening hours, I do find the switch quite jarring at first. So, the following are tips for how to get the most of your morning workout, from waking consistently to getting your body moving with less coaxing.
1. Banish the Blackouts
Since I'd rather sleep as long as possible in a darker than dark cave, I've taken a cue from nature to help myself rise and shine. I allow my room to flood with light, and when I start to stir, usually around 6 a.m., I can't fall back to sleep. Always set a standard alarm as a backup for those unexpected cloudy days.
2. Set the Stage
I set out my clothing and shoes the night before so they are ready and waiting without requiring me to use many brain cells. Since I'm not keen on waking early, anything to make the process more automatic is key.
3. Eat Something
I used to lace up and head right out the door at this point. Over time, though, I realized that I had zero energy mid-way through my 6-mile loop. The culprit? No fuel. Eating a small morning snack (think toast with peanut butter or a banana and crackers) before exercising will help keep blood sugar levels going and allow you to dig deeper. And don't forget a glass of water! (Related: 15 Grab-and-Go Post-Workout Breakfasts)
4. Ease Expectations
If you're new to the early morning routine, go easy on yourself at first. Maybe you can smash a killer interval workout in the afternoon and evening hours, but the morning leaves your legs feeling limp. Start your new program by doing simple moves — and even spending dedicated time warming up — to transition into the harder stuff over time. Don't worry, going from zero to 100 is hard for everyone.
5. Call a Buddy
One of the surest ways to get out the door and enjoy a more fruitful workout is to involve someone else in your routine. The company not only makes you more accountable, but it also means friendly chatter that will help make the time go faster — I promise. If you can't think of anyone else who'd want to subject themselves to exercise so early, consider signing up for an exercise class at your gym. (Related: The Cheapest Way to Get Fit and Strong in 30 Days or Less)
6. Try Something New
If you're diehard into one sport specifically, maybe you're finding that the activity doesn't jive with your morning self. You can always try something new, from biking to swimming to walking and beyond, to mix it up and get a better overall workout. Cross-training is also a great way to strengthen muscles you haven't used in years. (Related: 22 Fun and Free Summer Exercise Ideas)
Some of us need an extra push to get into consistent healthy habits, and that's OK. So do those extra 20 pushups, finish that additional mile, or burst past that pace plateau. The good news is that you can reward yourself for free for all your hard work.
How do you get the most out of your morning workouts? Please share in comments!