If you’re trying to fit regular exercise into your busy life, there are often only two choices: work out first thing in the morning or after you’re off work. And while both sound easy, it can be incredibly difficult to fit exercise in with all of your other responsibilities.
Working out in the morning is an awesome habit to form. Morning exercise offers plenty of benefits, like increased motivation, a metabolism boost, and improved energy. But climbing out of bed to exercise isn’t exactly easy.
It’s difficult to find the motivation to get out of your warm, cozy bed and hit the gym. But that doesn’t mean you should skip exercise altogether. With these six steps, you can build a morning exercise habit in no time.
1. Ease Into Morning Workouts
When you’re first building an exercise habit, it’s tempting to start strong. However, diving in too quickly could leave you avoiding the gym.
If you think the right way to start a workout routine is to push yourself through a punishing, hour-long workout, reconsider your plans. Experts say it’s actually a lot healthier to start slow, gradually building up to tougher workouts. By gradually improving your stamina and tolerance for exercise, you’ll ensure your body is ready for the added strain when you eventually work up to more intense workouts.
Start by waking up just a few minutes earlier than normal. Don’t dive right into a HIIT workout – instead, do a 15-minute exercise video, or go for a walk. After a week or so, once you’re used to waking up at the new time, push your limits. Wake up a bit earlier until you’re where you want to be. You can also begin adding new workouts, like running or faster-paced aerobics into your routine.
2. Find a Workout You Actually Enjoy
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to start a morning exercise routine, you need to choose what kind of exercise you want to do. Do you want to workout at home or in your own neighborhood? Will you stick to your routine better if you attend a class or workout at a local gym?
There are plenty of gyms and exercise studios that offer morning classes, and there are thousands of at-home workout videos or programs available online – so your options are endless. However, there’s one important factor to consider: what do you enjoy?
Finding a workout style or program you like will increase your odds of success. It’s a lot easier to get out of bed when you’re doing a class or an activity you love. And don’t be afraid to try out a few different things until you find the perfect fit. If you find it impossible to get out of bed for the exercise you’ve chosen, it’s not the right one.
3. Invest in Some Fitness Gear
Once you’ve found an activity, class, or exercise that works for you, it’s important that you make working out as easy as possible. And that means you should have everything you need right at your fingertips.
So, treat yourself to some new gear or equipment. If you’re doing strength training, buy some weights. If you’re doing yoga, you can buy a mat and other accessories. And research shows that, when you invest money in your exercise habit, you’re more likely to stick with it. Buying exercise attire or equipment makes you feel like you need to your money’s worth out of your habit.
Even if you’re a runner or work out at the gym and don’t need special equipment, you can invest in your exercise routine. Purchase a new pair of leggings, athletic tanks, or even a good, quality pair of shoes to workout in, and you’ll still be investing in your health.
4. Lay Out Your Clothes and Gear Every Night
Once you have a workout plan, the right gear, and a schedule you plan to stick to, it’s time to set yourself up for success. And the best way to do that is by making it easy to hop out of bed and get exercising.
When you’re starting a morning exercise routine, it’s helpful to lay everything out the night before. Lay out your clothes, shoes, and equipment. You can even lay out – or schedule – the classes, videos, or DVDs you’ll workout with. This will help you get up and get moving with minimum effort in the morning. And that can make the difference between actually getting a workout in and giving up in frustration.
Having a plan makes it a lot easier to function when you’re half-asleep and fumbling around in the dark too. If you go to bed with a plan already in motion, you’ll be much more likely to reach for your weight instead of your snooze button.
5. Make Exercise a Group Effort
Another way to motivate yourself to stick with a morning exercise habit is to get your friends involved. If you work out with others, you’ll get to socialize, spend time together, and keep one another on track. And it’s a lot more tempting to get out of bed if you know your friends are waiting for you. Having that accountability can be extremely motivating.
Don’t have friends who are willing to work out in the morning with you? Try joining a class at the gym, where you’ll participate with others and potentially make new friends. Meeting others who are dedicated to A.M. workouts can help motivate you, and you’ll have a shared activity in common. A class that you have to sign up for, schedule, and pay for is a good way to keep yourself accountable.
6. Reward Your Successes
After you’ve completed a successful workout, give yourself positive feedback in the form of a treat or a reward. Positive reinforcement is helpful when building a new habit. And rewarding yourself for sticking to an early morning workout routine will encourage you to keep going.
Eventually, your body will start to crave the workout itself, and you’ll feel off when you don’t do it. Until your body gets to that point, a reward is a great way to simulate that feeling. Buy yourself a nice coffee, or purchase an indulgent treat- just don’t pick something that will undo all of your hard work. A reward doesn’t have to be food; it can be anything you enjoy!