Getting up early isn’t for everyone. Mention waking before the sun rises to go and exercise, and almost no one seems to be on board. But when you consider what a great way it is to start your day, and the organizational benefits it provides to your workout regimen and life as a whole, it suddenly becomes an appealing alternative to your regular exercise schedule. With these 20 tips, anyone can go from early morning zombie to fitness freak before the sun comes up.
1. Know Your Routine:
Exercising for the sake of exercising is a good thing. Sometimes it is easy to get caught in the trap of too much rigidity in exercise plans that it begins to feel like a chore, inviting the dreaded “workout burnout.” However, part of working out early in the mornings is knowing what you’re going to do before actually doing it. Maintaining logs on your past workouts is a good way to keep track of workouts you’ve done and need to do to complete your week, and is a perfect way to track progress. Use it to know what to be ready for come morning.
2. Be Prepared:
Nothing throws your schedule off its axis like scrambling when you should be heading out the door. At the end of a long day, it may seem tempting to just find your bed and curl up, comforted in the knowledge that you intend to be productive first thing in the morning. Btu before you do, make sure you know where everything is and you have everything accessible to you when you get up. You shouldn’t have to fill your gym bag and hunt for your sneakers in the morning, and you won’t if you prepare the night before.
This should go without saying: the body needs sleep. For those of you who are invested in a productive profession, or just have a go-getter attitude, sleep can appear optional at times. This is never the case. For most, the average time of sleep needed to be “well rested” usually sits somewhere between six and eight hours a night. Depending on your level of activity, the duration of your workouts, and the intensity, you may want to shoot for the most hours you can.
To read more on the importance of sleep and health, read more here.
4. Wake Up Properly:
There are many tricks people use to help them climb out of bed even when they don’t want to. Drinking 12 to 16 ounces of water before bed can get you up early, sometimes before your alarm goes off. And if you are the kind of person who relies on an alarm clock, putting some distance between it and where you sleep will force you out of bed to silence it, doing the work of getting out of bed for you.
Through sleep the body becomes dehydrated and begins to become depleted of nutrients. During sleep you are fasting, after all. 20 ounces of water can make sure you won’t have to sip at your water bottle during your workout.
6. Fuel Yourself:
A “fat loss” trend usually claims that it is best to exercise on an empty stomach in order to increase weight loss as it results from workouts, and most people believe it. It’s a farce, and it is damaging your fitness goals. Prior to exercising, inside a 30 minute window, consume some fast acting proteins. Whey protein powder and eggs are common favorites that are great sources of energy. Depending on your weight, 20-40g of protein is ideal to get the body primed and alert.
7. Walk if You Can:
While not feasible for everyone, walking to your gym or wherever it is that you workout, it can set the tone for the day. Many may think that it is pointless that they will be exercising anyway, it isn’t the same. The ten to fifteen minutes of walking can be meditative, something all athletes, amateur and professional, need in their lives.
8. Develop a Routine:
Especially in a space where you feel comfortable and familiar, having a routing when you walk through the door can cut out time spent doing pointless things. Know where to keep your things, know what your gym looks like at the hour you arrive, and become intimate with the space where you begin your regimen. This will help you make the most out of a session.
Knowing what you’ve done in the past and how it relates to current workouts can actually motivate you through sessions. To know more about memorization and workout motivation, follow the link here.
9. Get a Gym Buddy:
Working with others can seem daunting, but a shared effort between two people can prove beneficial for both. If you’re new to working out consistently, or are a career athlete, having people around you that work towards the same goal makes the grudging work that much more pleasurable. That can prove to be a vital influence at the start of the day.
10. Know Your Rotation:
Before touching a single piece of equipment, know where your session is going. Is it a free-weight day? Full body? A mix between calisthenics and machines? Knowing this before starting will guide your routine with less calculation, allowing you to get the most out of each station.
11. Warm Up Properly:
Warming up before any physical activity is a must. Prior to getting to your gym, you should’ve stretched somewhat, and feel a bit energized from the travel there, but it is not enough. Thorough stretching and mild warmup reps prep the body for the coming moves and prevent injury.
12. Focus Intently:
Once started, the only other person that should exist in your field of vision is your gym buddy. Having a spotter is important for certain moves, and hearing about your form from someone who can see you is a great way to improve. Everyone and everything else should not exist to you throughout your session. Distraction is often the mother of sports related injuries and missed reps.
13. Track Progression:
Monitoring your progress can either boost your confidence or show room for much needed improvement. Knowing how each set went can tell you if you’re attempting to do too much too soon, or if its time to increase the intensity. Early on in the morning, it’s important to know where your boundaries are and not blindly go through exercises.
14. Cool Down:
Just as important as the warm-up, cooling down limits the possibility of injuries and recovery in the many hours left in the day. Be mindful of the body parts most used during your session, and of your body’s limits to stretch.
Proteins are your friends, all throughout the day, and especially before and after a workout. If you can prepare a high-protein breakfast that you can eat on your way from the gym, that would be best. If that isn’t an option, fast-acting proteins like whey and soy are an ideal investment.
16. Take Your Time:
Once your workout is over, the rest of the day still lies ahead. As you prepare for work, life, or both, whatever the case may be, take your time where you can to relax. Even ten minutes of quiet sitting with a cup of coffee and the news can hit the reset button, calling on a different part of you needed for the rest of your day.
17. Eat Sensible:
Working out early in the day is not a license to eat unrestricted for the rest of the day. Eating lean and small portions, hitting all of your macro nutrient needs is best to keep your body in its best condition and continue recovery for the hours that follow.
Being mindful about your meals is key to staying on track. To read more, follow the link here.
18. Keep Active Throughout the Day:
Having your workout end early is great, but it shouldn’t be where your activity ends for the day. Even if you work in a sedentary job or spend your day in a low-energy environment, having some movement every few hours is great for your long-term health and keeps you feeling alert throughout the day.
19. Develop A Evening Ritual:
Before sleeping, the time most people look forward to after a hectic day, develop a care ritual that makes you feel ready for rest before you hit the bed. This a great time for hygiene, skin care, and, in some cases, the ideal time for certain vitamins and supplements to be ingested. Developing a ritual can set a rhythm that follows through to the morning, making early mornings easier to rise to.
20. Do it All Over Again:
Like all things, consistency is key. The first few days of early morning workouts can be daunting to get through. For some, it may take weeks before they feel adjusted. But in time, and with your focus on your regimen and the benefits of completing them early in the day, you can become a morning workout person.