And lo and behold, your lunch hour vanishes (a meeting suddenly comes up). Or you find yourself too exhausted once you get home from the office. Or maybe your kids decide NOT to go to sleep on time—pushing your evening walk until well after dark.
My point is this: The best laid workout plans can often get shuttled to the side when life intervenes.
Solution? The morning workout! I know, I know: you CANNOT see yourself getting up at the crack of dawn. It’s simply too early and you’re too tired! But TRUST me: I’ve taken the most die-hard night-owls and after a 6-week trial of a.m. workouts, I’ve seen the completely converted! What’s more, research has proven that it’s those who slot in their sweat session before the hectic day unfolds are more consistent about sticking to their exercise goals.
While obviously the best time for YOU to workout is the one that’s convenient for your schedule, if you have a choice, I’m advocating for the “early bird special!”
To help you make mornings your time to shine, follow these tips and tricks:
* Secure a sunrise buddy. Fact is, even the loudest, most persistent alarm clock is often no match for a warm, cozy bed. What DOES work is knowing that you have a workout partner standing in front of your house or waiting at the gym. Having a partner keeps you accountable, simple as that. TIP: If you’re having a hard time finding a friend with similar goals or schedule, try checking with your local walking or running club for partners, or asking the front desk at your gym about placing a sign on the bulletin board.
* Make it doable. Because of your schedule and sleep needs it may be unrealistic to expect yourself to get up every day at dawn to work out. (I’m not advocating you skimp on sleep so that you can sweat—both are important pieces of the Best Life puzzle!) In fact, at first you may be able to commit to just two morning workouts a week. That’s fine, but make that a clear goal and strive to attain it. Sometimes one of the key factors in achieving a goal is in knowing how high to set the bar; too high might be unrealistic; too low is letting yourself off easy. Find the “just right goal” and keep your eyes on the finish line. TIP: As time goes on, re-assess your goal so that you don’t stagnate.
* Lay it all out. People who are inveterate morning exercisers often agree: if you set out your workout gear the night before, you’re that much closer to getting out the door or at least to popping that DVD into the player. TIP: If you can’t get going without gulping a cup of coffee, invest in an automatic coffee maker, so that you can program it to brew as you’re stirring. Sometimes just the smell of java can urge you out of bed.
* Remind yourself of WHY. Keep up your resolve and motivation by remembering the facts about morning workouts. Not only do they kick off your day on a healthy, positive foot, but one after-effect a.m. exercise is that you’re more likely to continue to make healthy choices as the day goes on. Another bonus: An early-in-the-day workout is less likely to mess with your sleep than going for that after-dinner bike ride. TIP: If you think your desire to laze in bed in the morning might trump your recollection of all these reasons, try actually WRITING them on an index card and placing that on your bedside table. Consider it a motivational message to yourself, from your very best self!