The fact that I am writing about this I know is shocking to a lot of the people that know me. I HATE working out in the morning, and one of the biggest complaints I have about triathlons and racing in general is that they all start at OH-Dark-Thirty. There are reasons for this (heat of the day in Florida, getting races done so roads can open, etc.) but it doesn’t help when you’re dragging your ass out of bed at 2 AM to get to a race that starts at 6 AM. So what are the best reason to do workouts in the morning? In writing this I am trying to make the case for it as well as convince myself to wake up and move.
- The gym is less crowded in the morning. I promise you that the majority of people do not want to work out at 5 AM, which means the only people in the gym at this time are working people and the most hard core. Stay-At Home parents and those that work from home will hit the gym after the kids are off to school or day care, so that golden time from 5-7 AM is when the gym is all yours. No line for the machines, treadmills, showers.
- There is a peacefulness about being up first thing in the morning. As much as I resent being up at 3 AM to drive 2 hours to a race in Clermont, that drive is calming to me. No one is on the road, so you can get a coffee (have to make your own because even Starbucks isn’t open yet) and take your time, think through the race points, be mentally prepared.
- Once you are up and moving and there on location, it is motivating and mentally strengthening. You are starting your day with a positive action, and that will get you through the day. There is something mentally charging about working out first thing. Racing is an example. I am dead tired before the race, but after 2-3 hours of effort, I am ready to go for the rest of the day afterwards. I am rarely napping.
- Let’s face it. The easiest workouts to skip, or talk yourself out of, are those that are scheduled immediately after work. You have slogged through the day at something the majority of us hate doing, mentally and/or physically exhausted, and then face a 60 minute run.cycle/swim/strength routine. No thanks right? I’ll make it up tomorrow, and the workout debt rises. What is better than knowing after work you can just go home?
All sounds good and well, and it’s very logical, but when it comes to actually doing it, well, another whole story right? It does take some mental fortitude (something I lack most of the time) but once you get in the mode of doing it, it will become routine. The trick? Take all possible obstacles out of the equation.
- Set out clothing the night before, and pack the clothes you need for work in your bag. Hell SLEEP in your workout clothes if it helps. One less thing to worry about in the morning.
- Get rid of the snooze option. Disable it on the phone, alarm clock, etc. Better yet, set the alarm clock in a place that you need to get OUT of bed to turn it off. Once your feet are on the floor it’s easier to keep them there. FIGHT the urge to lay down for “just 5 more minutes”.
- Get enough sleep. This is a domino effect. Once you start getting up in time to hit the streets at 5 AM, you WILL be tired enough at night to go to bed at a decent time. These days it is easier than ever to not miss that “very special Black-ish” episode, or not miss the ever important installment of The Walking Dead. Watch them on the DVR the next day when you can go home after work because you completed your workout already!
Getting up at the crack of dawn is not easy, but it does become easier the more you do it, and the better you will feel throughout the day. It will also get your body burning fat immediately which will last throughout the day.