Your days at work are busy, most nights you’re working late, and you’ve still been trying to get into a more regular routine with your workouts - but feel like you can never really get into that routine whether it’s before or after work.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned after 18 years in the advertising industry: you can NEVER rely on getting an evening training session in, especially if you’re in an industry that’s fast-paced, with tight deadlines. Not to mention the client dinners or nights at the bar/ pub that may sometimes be required as part of “work socialising”.
What to do then? I’d highly recommend getting into a morning workout routine.
GROAN. Not a morning person? I never was myself either, but when I fell in love with Ashtanga yoga some 16 years ago now and got into early morning Mysore-style yoga sessions, everything changed. I’ve somehow turned my internal clock around and become a morning person, so I can assure you it’s possible!
Here are 14 tips that have helped me, that I still practice even till today, even though my workouts have evolved beyond only Ashtanga yoga. Hopefully some of these can help you get into a more regular morning workout routine:
1. Pack your gym bag the night before
Decide what workout clothes you’ll wear, what gear you’ll need (yoga mat/ Pilates shoes/ Gym shoes/ Tolietries/ Make-up bag/ Workout towel, etc) and pack that gym bag, or hang up the workout clothes the night before.
I had a yoga student who used to sleep in her workout clothes so she’d literally just roll out of bed and “be ready” in the morning. That’s kind of hardcore, but you can decide how far you want to take it. ;)
2. Decide on your work clothes the night before
Also decide what work clothes/ accessories/ shoes you’ll be dressed in the night before and lay them out or pack them in your gym bag. You want to minimise the fuss the next morning when you’re half-asleep at silly o’clock.
3. Prep breakfast the night before
If you need a quick breakfast before working out, prep it the night before. eg. Chop your fruit and veggies for that green smoothie the night before or soak the overnight oats. Again, this helps to minimise the stuff you need to do first thing in the morning.
4. Select your playlist
If you’ve got your perfect “get up and go” playlist, pre-select it for the next morning. I prefer a gentle easing in with a Tibetan singing bowls playlist, or my Savasana playlist - so choose whatever works for you!
5. Go to bed early
In order to wake up early, it’s a given you’ll need to get to bed by a decent time the night before. Duh. Waking up at 6.30am? Work backwards depending on how much sleep you need and start winding down from 10.30pm the night before, at least.
6. Put your alarm far away from the bed
If you’re a snoozer, or if you’re prone to shutting off the alarm without realising it - put the alarm far away from your bed! Having to take that first step out of bed is the hardest. So if you’re walking across the room - you’re already up. It might just make taking the next step (ie. brushing your teeth) that much easier.
7. Don’t hit snooze
If you must, hit it only once. Sit up and place your feet on the floor and take a few deep breaths.
8. Say your morning mantra
This doesn’t need to be anything big and lofty. Mine has literally been “Just. Get. Up. Get up. Get up. Get up.” LOL. But hey, it works!
9. Wake-up light
This is a much gentler way to wake up in the winters than an alarm that rings. Pick the time you want to wake up, and the light starts to simulate the sunrise, brightening up within a 10 - 20 minute period. I’ve got a Phillips wake-up light that ends that bright “sunrise” with the sounds of birds chirping. So much less invasive than a ringing alarm.
That bright light also helps to clear away the melatonin from your brain, helping your body get out of its sleep state too.
10. Take a warm shower
Maybe I’ve become used to the yogic practice of showering before a yoga class (cleanse the body before you cleanse your mind!), but it’s now part of my morning routine even before I do any other non-yoga workout. I’ve also found the hot blast of water an instant way to revive the whole body and mind out of the sleep state.
11. Drink a big glass of warm water
After a good 6 - 8 hours of sleeping without drinking, this is the first thing you should do whether you’re working out or not, either way. But especially needed before you head out for a workout. It also starts your digestive system going and maybe a #2 will follow - bonus! ;)
12. Make it a workout you actually enjoy
If you’re waking up at silly o’clock, make it something that’s worth getting out of bed for, something that you actually enjoy so you reduce the “morning torture factor”.
Running, spinning, yoga, pilates, barre, TRX, Cross-Fit, HIIT, weightlifting, swimming, rowing… the list is ENDLESS. Pick the one you enjoy!
13. Pay for a class or personal trainer
If you pay for a group class or personal trainer, you’ll forfeit the money if you don’t turn up. It could be a good motivator to get your ass out of bed.
The group dynamic in a class could also be a good motivator, helping you push yourself just that little bit more so early in the morning.
14. Have a workout buddy
Same as above, but without the financial guilt - it’s the social guilt factor. You wouldn’t want to be letting down your workout buddy by not turning up!
Remove the Obstacles
There you have it! As you can tell, the majority of these tips are about removing the potential obstacles that may get in your way early in the morning. The more things you can do to remove the excuses you’ll give yourself, the better you’ll be setting yourself up for success to roll out of bed and into your morning workout!
Also - don’t forget that if this is new to you, you may end up STILL falling back to bed sometimes no matter what good intentions you may have had the night before. And if you do - you’re only human. Don’t beat yourself up! Take a deep breath and remind yourself tomorrow is a new day to start over again.
I’ve been doing this for more than 16 years and I still sometimes have days where I’m like “nope. Not today.” So it will happen, but the biggest difference is what you’ll do after that. Just pick yourself up and try again.
Baby steps… you’ll get there.
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