Something always comes up when you try to plan an evening work out, a deadline for work, happy hour with the ladies or maybe even a date. And there goes your exercise plan for today. If it keeps happening, there is a logical solution, change your work out time for the mornings.
I know, it’s easier said than done. You wake up and wonder, should I stay in bed or go work out? How is it that some people can manage to get up at 5:30 am to work out like it’s not a big deal? We asked trainers and picked their brains for lifestyle changes you can do to make you become a person who wants to wake up and work out.
Eat right the night before
The foods that you eat the evening before an a.m. work out session will influence how you feel when you hit the gym. “If you scarfed down mom’s leftover meatloaf and garlic bread at 9 o’clock last night, chances are you’re going to wake up feeling exactly like that, a sluggish loaf of meat,” says Noah Neiman, a well-known master trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City.
You need to make sure to eat lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats so you wake up feeling replenished, not tired and gross because what you eat does really have something to do with how you feel in the morning. Just be sure to finish up at least 90 minutes before you go to sleep, Leslie Bonci, RD, founder of Active Eating Advice and the director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says. “This gives your stomach some time to digest the food so it’s not having a fiesta while you’re trying to take a siesta.”
Persuade yourself to bed earlier
It’ll be easier to get out of bed in the morning if you have gotten your recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep, so you need to trick your body’s internal sleeplessness clock. What does that mean exactly? “The body has an internal circadian rhythm that if you do your best not to disturb, it makes waking up in the morning much easier,” explains Joe Holder, Nike+ Trainer, Nike Run Coach, and coach at S10 Training in New York City. Translation: Limit cell phone, computer, and TV use before bedtime so the blue light that they produce doesn’t affect your zzz’s.
Think of something to look forward to
Enthusiasm will help get you up and out; it can be something as simple as a new playlist on your iPhone that you just downloaded. “Your body is a highly adaptable machine that responds to the stimulus you present it,” says Neiman. “If you can self-motivate, which is always the strongest form of motivation, and just get to the gym or start your workout every morning; your body will adapt, making it much easier to routinely break that AM sweat.” You could also try snacking on foods that are high in melatonin like walnuts and cherries before bed. In a 2013 research evaluation, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that sets sleep-wave cycles and has helped people fall asleep sooner.
Have an AM workout partner
Ask some friends, you probably have a friend who either already gets up in the morning to work out, or wants to start doing it but hasn’t had the motivation either. Make plans to meet her at the gym or a class, which will hold you responsible. “You’ll be far less likely to bail when you know someone is waiting for you, and you’ll even get the benefit of social interaction, regardless of how quick or sweaty it might be,” Liz Barnet, head strength instructor at Uplift Studios in New York City tells her clients.
Set up your morning the night before
The less you have to think about when the alarm goes off, the better for you and the more likely you’ll want to wake up when your alarm goes off. “Layout your shoes and clothes in the evening,” says Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. “Have a pre-made pre-exercise snack ready to go and set the coffee pot to start brewing at the same time as your alarm.” Once you’re out of bed, everything is ready for you, you start smelling the coffee, even if you’re still in bed, you know it’s time to get up or your coffee will be cold!