I often talk to people about how or when (or if) they are exercising and it probably doesn’t surprise you that biggest barrier for so many is the lack of time and/or motivation. When pressed, many of those who claim lack of time as a valid reason for not exercising will admit that they are not morning people and waking up an hour or so earlier than they are used to is too hard.
I train 4 mornings a week at 6am – not because I am naturally a morning person (I’m not), but because if I didn’t set my alarm and force myself to get up and get moving then I would miss out on what is usually my only opportunity to train that day. That feeling is far worse than the minute or so it takes for my body to register it is awake. Over the years I have learned that missing my early morning workout makes me feel guilty and sluggish and regretful. I would so much rather feel fit, healthy and energised!!!
Even though it is hard to drag yourself out of bed in the morning I think it is easier than hauling yourself to the gym or for a run at the end of a busy day. As much as I love exercising I can definitely relate to lack of motivation to train at the end of a hard day even though I know once I’m there I will get into the zone.
I have been training early mornings now for many years so I am in the habit of getting up as soon as my alarm goes off, getting dressed and out the door before my subconscious can even question what I’m doing, but I totally understand how hard it is to get into this routine.
There are so many benefits from early morning training, so if you can fit it into your schedule I highly recommend you do and here are some tips to help you out along the way:
- Make the commitment to an early morning training session. The first step is to make the decision to go before you go to bed – not while you are debating whether or not to press snooze at 5.30 in the morning!
- Get organised. The last thing you want to do at 530 in the morning is rummage around the place (waking everyone else up) looking for your heart rate monitor or training gear. I always lay out my training gear in the bathroom so I don’t need to turn on any lights in the bedroom, I wear my heart rate watch to bed, have my drink bottle filled up and in the fridge ready to grab as I fly out the door where my gym bag is waiting for me in my car!
- Find a training buddy – someone who will make you accountable. I cannot emphasise how much having a friend to run with helps get you motivated (thanks Candy!!!) Especially if the only time you have available to train in the morning it is always much easier to turn up if someone is waiting for you!!!
- Sign up! Committing financially to a group training session will definitely give you the motivation to turn up. Is there an outdoor training group or bootcamp in your area? By signing up to a program (e.g. a 6 week bootcamp) you are setting yourself up to form relationships with not only your trainer but also your training group and this will help keep you on track (and hold you accountable).
- Plan your route. It’s one thing if you are going to an organised training session where all the planning is done for you, but if you have set your alarm for an early morning walk/run you will be much more motivated to go if you know exactly what route you will be taking (and how long you expect it to take). There are some great apps available where you can map out your route, work out how far it is and even log your times etc. I love using mapmyrun.com.
Finally, getting your training session out of the way first thing in the morning is guaranteed to improve your quality of life! You will notice an overall improvement in your fitness, health and sense of well being and feel empowered because you are takin control of your life!