I’ve never been a morning exerciser. Even after friends have tried to convert me and many well-intentioned attempts on my own, I can probably count the number of times I’ve made it to the gym before work on one hand (before this summer). I was a perpetual snoozer. I had also convinced myself that my body was not built to workout before 9am. I turned down opportunities to sub spin classes at 6am because I really thought I just couldn’t do it. Also, the last two years I have had very few reasons to exercise that early because I’ve been in school, which means my schedule is pretty flexible.
I was really excited to get back to a regular work schedule this summer. It may be repetitive for some, but sometimes the monotony is comforting. And if you know me at all, you know I like schedules and calenders. Weeks before I started work I was already thinking about what gym I would join and when I would get there. I didn’t know at the time that there is a very inexpensive gym IN my office building – oh the perks of working for a large company.
Then, I did something a little crazy – I signed up for a half marathon in the beginning of August (1 week to go, woohoo!). Yes, I’m beyond excited for the race (it’s my first Rock ‘N Roll ½ – who doesn’t love a band every mile?), but a race in mid-August – what was I thinking? A race in August means training through the entire summer. Long runs in the heat and humidity can sometimes be, um, miserable. Though, I will still take a hot and sweaty run any day over running in 4 degree weather with ice on the roads. I was left with two options: run before work to beat the heat or face the dreadmill treadmill. So, after a week of settling into my new work schedule, I began getting up at 6a to hit the pavement. The first week was a little rough; I found myself needing an extra cup of coffee by 2p and wanting to go to bed by 9p. Actually, I did go to bed by 9p a few times. I’m OK with it.
After a few days, my body began to adjust. Now, I enjoy getting up early to run or go to the gym. Had I not gotten on this schedule, I never would have found a spin class that I actually like this summer (the PepsiCo gym is lacking good spin classes but Tuesday 7a with Marianne rocks). When I run in the morning, the bikepath is nearly empty and it’s just me and nature (and a few fellow runners/bikers/dog walkers). I love it.
I feel more energized throughout the day, I drink less coffee, I feel like I started the day on a healthy note, and, best of all, my evenings are free! No more choosing between the gym and happy hour – I can do both. If I don’t workout in the morning, I don’t feel like I started my day correctly (unless it’s a rest day of course). And now, the thought of running a 13.1 mile race at 7a doesn’t seem crazy early. I may still go to bed by 10p several days during the week, but I am happy with the decision to do so. It means a great workout in the morning. I have a friend who will tell you that you’re not a true morning exerciser if you have to go to bed early to do it, but I disagree. Not all of us are champion morning exercisers like her (I’m still amazed at her ability to stay out drinking wine until midnight and get up to teach spin at 6a the next morning with a full smile on her face).
The long days of summer certainly make it easier to get out of bed that early, but I do plan to keep this up. However, don’t judge me if I change my mind when it’s 10 degrees and dark out come January.
5 strategies to make sure you get your butt out of bed and to the gym before work
- Put out your clothes the night before. They will be there, mocking you in the morning if you don’t get up and put them on.
- Don’t hit snooze – once you start, it’s hard to stop and 30 minutes later you will find you have missed your workout window. Put your alarm across the room if you have to.
- Go to bed early. Turn off the TV, put away the computer and get in bed. You don’t have to sacrifice sleep for a morning workout!
- Give it a chance – try a few times before you give up. You may feel tired at first, but your body will adjust!
- Remind yourself, you never regret getting up for a workout but there is a good chance you will regret sleeping through it.
5 reasons to workout before work
- There is nothing to get in the way of your workout – staying late at the office, a spur of the moment happy hour, errands, grocery shopping, etc. None of that happens at 6am.
- The roads (or gym) are less crowded. There are fewer cars to dodge and fewer people to fight over the machines at the gym – it’s a much more pleasant experience.
- You start off the day on a healthy note, setting the tone for the rest of the day. I do believe that one healthy choice leads to another.
- A morning workout means your evenings are free for whatever you want!
- You have more energy throughout the day.
Do you workout before work? What motivates you to get out of bed early in the morning to hit the gym? What are your strategies for making sure you don’t hit the snooze button?
Have a great weekend!
-your food and fitness friend