Morning exercisers. I loathe and admire them. I’d love to be someone who could jump right out of bed and get my exercise done first thing before work. Unfortunately, morning and I have never been friends, and sleeping in sounds a lot more fun than running miles.
That’s just the way things are, and I’ve come to accept it. But, national fitness expert Chris Freytag says I could change my ways if I followed his five tips, and so can you.
Says Freytag, also a board member on the American Council of Exercise, “People who work out in the early morning tend to stay more consistent because there are less obstacles at 6:00AM than there are at 6:00PM.”
Right she is. So, to all of us who are not early risers, or have responsibilities like getting our kids off to school or long work days, here are some easy ways to become a morning exerciser.
1. Make a plan and be specific
Pinpoint a specific time and place you plan to exercise and write it down. Organizing a weekly chart can be incredibly helpful, because you’ll have the whole week planned out. Don’t be afraid to mix up times and make some days shorter than other. You can also mix and match cardio and strength days so you don’t get bored. Try something like this:
Monday 6AM-6:30AM: Yoga DVD in bedroom
Tuesday 6:30AM-7AM: Go for run on neighborhood trail
Wednesday 6:15AM-7AM: Cycle class with Cindy at gym.
Thursday 5:30AM-6:30AM: Bootcamp in park
Friday 6AM-6:30AM: Kickboxing DVD in family room
2. Get a new alarm clock
If you’re still waking up to the shrill siren of your alarm, it’s time to join the 21st century. You can wake up to anything these days, from light, to nature sounds, to morning talk shows. Many are now compatible with iPhones and iPods, so find a more natural, relaxing way for your body to wake up, and begin the morning with a few stretches.
3. Go to bed in your exercise clothes
Gasp! What would your mother say? But, think about how much easier it would be to work out out if you woke up with having only your teeth to brush and your socks and shoes to put on. Worried about wrinkles? We’ve got news for you, after your sweat session you’re not going to be winning any fashion awards. And, if you plan to work out to a DVD in your bedroom, stay in your PJ’s. Done and done!
4. Break it up
Fitness experts agree, breaking up your daily exercise is just as beneficial as doing it all at once. So, use 15 minutes in the morning to get your heart rate up, 15 minutes at lunch to stretch your muscles, and 15 minutes in the evening to tone up. How great will you feel by breakfast knowing you just got push ups and sit ups out of the way before your morning meeting?
5. Reward yourself
Freytag warns that the most important part of an exercise routine is consistency. So, plan a reward for every week you follow through on your plan. It can be reading a book or magazine, getting a mani/pedi, purchasing a new exercise top, or saving up for a spa vacation—whatever little thing you can do to give yourself props. You gave up your rest, and now it’s time to reap the rewards!