Breaking a sweat in the morning can change the trajectory of your day, and forming a morning workout habit can change the course of your life. However, becoming pre-dawn Richard Simmons is easier said than done—hopefully, these 12 tips will help.
1. Put Your Workout Clothing on ASAP
Putting on the compression leggings or tank top is like crossing the Mississippi River. What are you going to do now? Answer emails in your running shoes? Do your Zoom call with a headband on? You’ve put the clothes on. Your only choice now is to do the workout.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all the rage, as it minimizes impact on your joints and is proven to shed pounds. Plus, the built-in variety of HIIT workouts will prevent your morning routine from becoming stale.
3. Turn To YouTube
Driving to the gym is an additional step that leaves room for excuses. Let YouTube be your personal trainer. With an endless library of free workout videos (and creators with curated playlists that serve as long-term fitness plans), YouTube eliminates your excuses for skipping the morning gym sesh.
4. Set Your Phone Alarm and Put It in Another Room
The first step in fulfilling your workout goals is getting your sleep-loving self out of bed. Placing your alarm-enabled phone in another room accomplishes multiple ends. First, you’ll be unable to indulge your insomnia with your phone out of reach. Secondly, when your alarm rages in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll have to get out of bed to get it.
5. Set a Tangible Post-Workout Reward
For many, the reward is breakfast. For others, the post-workout carrot might be taking the dog to the park. Whatever your treat is, do not allow yourself to partake until you’ve elevated your heart rate and drained your pores. Then, you can have that bagel.
6. Do Something — Anything
When the prospect of a 30-minute upper body workout is too much for your sleep-crusted mind to comprehend, cut yourself some slack. Pick up the gloves and shadow box with your YouTube trainer for 10 minutes. I guarantee you, by the time you’ve bobbed, weaved, and thrown a few jabs, you’ll be in the mood for some pushups. Just do something — anything — to get yourself going.
7. Find Your Burst
Many lifters use pre-workout mixes, which provide a tingly sensation and plenty of energy. For many, a stiff cup of Joe will do the trick. Others use tea, Red Bull, or Five Hour Energy. Do research, tinker, and identify your source of pre-workout burst. A safe, legal performance enhancer can go a long way toward propelling your morning workout routine.
8. Hire a Trainer
Have you ever heard the term “invest in yourself” and wondered what that means? It means hiring a personal trainer. Trainers can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with accountability. Seeing the trainer in person once a week may stop you from eating those 10 p.m. Oreos or skipping your morning workout — you wouldn’t want to let Trainer Joe down, would you?
9. Pump up the Jam
It’s clinically proven that hip-hop, heavy metal, and certain other musical genres add a half-mile to your jog and three reps to your bench press. OK, I made that up, but what you put in your ears directly affects your gym motivation. Take the time to find the right workout playlist (or podcast), and you’ll have one more reason to stay on routine.
10. Find an Accountability Partner
If you can’t afford a trainer, you can find a friend who wants to lose weight. Working out together is the ideal. If that’s not possible, how about a weight-loss challenge? The loser pays the winner 20 bucks a month, for starters. An accountability partner can provide the competitive aspect some people need to remain on track. Plus, misery loves company. If you’re going to self-flagellate daily, your friend should, too.
11. Picture Yourself Looking Fine
Too often, we become discouraged by the long-term nature of weight loss (and muscle gain). When you want to skip your morning workout, envision yourself at your ideal weight. More importantly, allow yourself to feel the pride and self-confidence that version of yourself will radiate. Then, get up and do the work to get there.
12. When the Mood Strikes, Go
If you are someone with freedom over their professional schedule, you may be tempted to do some work before your morning workout. That is fine, so long as you don’t get carried away. Start your workout as soon as you feel the workout window is closing (or it’s the right time to close Gmail and do some V-sits). If you wait too long to complete your workout, you risk skipping the day’s session altogether!