I’m not a morning person.
If I had my druthers, I would sleep in until 11 a.m. every day, but over the past month, I’ve been waking up at 6 a.m. to go to the gym before work.
Born out of frustration with myself for skipping the gym to go to dinners and work happy hours, I decided I’d go to the gym in the morning so I’d have no more excuses.
How hard could it be?
Turns out, very. But there were a few things I learned from trial and error that have kept me going again and again. Here are six things to try if you want to go to the gym in the morning.
1. Prepare everything the night before
Before I go to bed, I pack everything I want to wear the next day in my gym bag and lay out my exercise clothes and sneakers to wear the next morning.
Packing away my work outfit forces me to take the extra step of removing them from my gym bag if I don’t make it to the gym. It’s a small step that’s just annoying enough to incentivise me to just throw on my workout gear and head to the gym.
Plus, if you already know what you’re going to wear the next day, it will save you time rummaging through your closet.
2. Set your alarm for earlier than you need to wake up
I’m convinced sleeping in and snoozing your alarm is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Because I know that it takes me about two tries before I actually get out of bed, I set my alarm even earlier than I need to so I still feel like I’m sleeping in.
Though I realise that it’s not technically sleeping in if you’re still waking up at the right time, I find I can lie to myself more easily when I’m drowsy in the morning and feel like I’m still getting some extra shut eye.
If I can skip the morning rush, I’m happy.
3. Find your motivation
Going to the gym every day is all about finding the right motivation. For some people, that might be trying to hit a goal weight, fit into a certain item of clothing, or look great naked.
For me, it’s avoiding New York City’s packed 6 train at 8:30 a.m., aka the time I would normally be trying to head in to the office.
Because the gym I go to is a few blocks away from my office building, I take an earlier train, which is mercifully free of people. I even get a seat!
Whenever I’m feeling really unmotivated, I picture crowds of commuters crammed into the 6 train and usually find the willpower to get out of bed.
4. Drink a lot of water
As soon as I wake up, the first thing I do is chug as much water as I can. Not only has it been shown to have a lot of great health benefits, like jumpstarting your metabolism, but it also energizes me almost as much as cup of coffee in the morning.
Plus if you’re going to go work out, you should be hydrated.
It doesn’t need to be a lot of food.
5. Eat something
While some people wake up starving in the morning, I’m not one of them. Still, I find I workout much more effectively if I have something to eat before going to the gym.
Lately, I’ve been grabbing fruits like a banana or an apple, but any sort of fuel will do the trick.
6. Remember you just have to show up
The thing I tell myself as I’m dragging my feet out the door every day is that I just have to show up. Simply by touching my feet to the treadmill, I will have been successful. I don’t even have to go for a run if I don’t want to.
Once I get to the gym, I realise how easy it would be to start running. I mean, the treadmill is right there. And after a run, I could go shower immediately, but the weights are close by — why not lift for a little bit as long as I’m here?
It turns out, showing up really is half the battle in the morning. The rest is momentum.
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