How to Master Morning Workouts

October 14, 2015

Many of us say we’d like to train first thing in the morning:

  • “I’m going to get up early and work out at 6am!”
  • “I’m going to hit the gym before everyone else!”
  • “I’ll beat the traffic by getting an early start!”

A few months of trying, and then … stuff happens. Bright mornings turn to blackness as the fall and winter months approach. It gets colder. Work gets busier as people settle back into their routines.

Despite this, there are always a few core people who seem to get their workouts in first thing in the morning. Because they tend to be consistent in showing up — they actually get results.

Working out in the early morning is actually a great strategy because there’s no time for anything to get in the way! If left until after work, there’s always more stuff to get done, late meetings, thoughts of dinner, traffic — tons of excuses to not show up.

Are you one of those people who would like to master morning workouts? Before breakfast?

Here are 10 tips for making the morning gym habit stick:

i) Start with Small Goals:

OK, so maybe you’d like to workout in the mornings, and you commit do showing up for 6am 5 times a week. But maybe you’ve just bit off a bit more than you can chew… Before you know it, you fall off the bandwagon. You sleep in one day, and you use that excuse as justification for skipping the next day as well.

Instead, maybe it’s a better strategy to plan on showing up just 2-3 mornings a week — for the first month at least. The remainder of the week, you can train at other times, or just focus on doing activities you love — whether it be walking, running, or playing a sport.  It takes time for habits to stick — so it’s a good idea to keep them small at first, and to only focus on a single habit at a time.

By doing this, you’ll gain some successes. You’ll get results, gain momentum — and before you know it you’ll look forward to your early morning routine. Next month, you’ll want to show up 4 times a week!

ii) Schedule It:

You’re much more likely to stick to your early morning commitments if you write them down.  Start scheduling your gym time like you would a doctor’s appointment or meeting.

iii) Prioritize Training as Important:

Training often falls by the wayside because we don’t think it’s urgent — and other pressing things on our “to-do” lists get the attention. Instead of prioritizing everything based on short-term urgency, try prioritizing things in terms of importance. Think of “why” you really want to train. What is your goal? On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is that goal to you?

Now, when you schedule your “to-do” list, don’t just prioritize items based on how urgent they are, prioritize some things based on overall importance — regardless of their urgency. If training is really important to you (because you know it will help you achieve your goal), you’ll schedule it and get it done.

iv) Get Your Sleep

You may have to get to bed earlier to show up at 6am — so make that a habit too. Again, start small – try to go to bed even 15 minutes before you normally would. Then try 20 … and 30. Shut down electronics at least an hour before bedtime and avoid caffeine later in the day.

v) Eliminate Barriers

Experts suggest that you have everything ready the night before so your morning routine is automated. Lay out your gym clothes. Put your keys in your trainers and fill your water bottle. Have your post-workout shake or meal already prepared.

vi) Joint Mobility First Thing

It’s tough to wake up and immediately start weight training or doing high-intensity interval work. Give yourself 5 minutes or so to do some simple joint mobility as soon as you get out of bed. It’ll help make you feel like moving and get your body prepared for more strenuous work. It’ll also reduce your chances of injury.

vii) Be Accountable

Don’t go it alone. If there’s a friend waiting for you, chances are you’ll actually show up. Accountability is an amazing way to establish an early morning routine. And committing to a workout group with structure and built-in social support works! That’s the benefit of going to a class-based gym like StrengthBox. There’s a built-in community of workout buddies ready to support you, and an experienced coach ready to guide you.

viii) Prepare for the Rest of Your Day

From your towel to your work clothes and post-workout meal, you won’t want to be caught off-guard. Pack your bag accordingly the night before. At StrengthBox, we have showers to help you smoothly make the transition to the rest of your day.

ix) Maintain a Clean Slate

Screw up and miss your early morning gym date? Don’t fall into the trap of allowing yourself to say “Well, I guess I’ll skip the next one too and just start again next week”. The past doesn’t matter. Show up the next day like nothing happened.

x) Start Today

Seriously. You don’t need to wait until Monday. Get started — now!

Want to try some supportive class-based training but don’t know how to get started? Click here to give us a shout, and we’ll see how we can help.