It’s Day One and you bound out of bed, ready to tackle your early morning workout. “This will be easy!” you think. Get the exercising out of the way and feel virtuous compared to your sleeping-in co-workers. Then comes Day Six and you’re slamming the snooze button with only a vague sense of guilt. What can you do to stop this scenario from happening?
it takes more than 21 days to establish any new habit
There are many reasons to work out first thing in the morning. Early bird training helps increase focus for the rest of the day, boosts calorie burn by jumpstarting your metabolism, and features zero distractions from work and family life. Here are five ideas to help you establish a routine.
1. SET OUT YOUR CLOTHES THE NIGHT BEFORE
Put out everything you’ll need (including sneakers, socks, water bottle, etc.) so you can just roll out of bed and go. Don’t thwart your efforts by groping groggily for a sports bra in the dark.
2. SKIP ANYTHING DIGITAL
Do not check social media or emails first thing in the morning. There is nothing imperative, and you’ll only delay your workout or give yourself an excuse to skip it altogether.
3. FOCUS ON INTENSITY, NOT DURATION
Aim for workouts that are short in nature, but challenging for your body. Think running over walking or interval training versus slow-paced calisthenics. Not only will you get an energy boost, but you’ll also feel the satisfaction of a tough workout. This incentive will keep you rising early every day.
4. GIVE YOURSELF ONE DAY OFF DURING THE WORKWEEK
Knowing there’s a “get out of jail free” card once a week will help you stay consistent. If you wake up grumpy and choose to skip that day, fine, but you’re committed to the rest of the week. Proper thinking should be, “Well, I’m already awake, I might as well exercise.” Then you can save your free pass for a day when it’s really “needed”.
5. ONLY WAKE UP 15 MINUTES EARLY
No need to set the alarm an hour earlier than you’re currently getting up. If you do the first four steps above, you can easily fit a 20-to-30-minute workout just by staying focused. As your body adapts to its new early morning routine, you can wake up an additional five or 10 minutes earlier and it won’t feel like the same level of sacrifice it might back on Day One.
By the way, research shows it takes more than 21 days to establish any new habit. In fact, the average number of days for someone to feel comfortable in a new routine is 66 days! Give yourself at least two months to process your early workout time and know that it’s okay to struggle while establishing a new normal. Don’t give up until you’ve completed at least two months, then you can evaluate to see if early morning workouts truly are for you. Good luck!