I have to admit…I am not a fan of New Years resolutions, nor am I a morning person (and certainly not a morning workout person)! For most of my life, I have been involved in sports and up until the last few years (ok, 4 years) I was pretty consistent with staying in shape and playing volleyball. Then along came a shoulder injury, a baby, and an ACL tear (and reconstruction), and I’m sitting on the floor looking at the wagon I’ve fallen off. I say all this not to get sympathy, but to say that, like everyone else out there, I’m human. We all fall down. What we choose to do next is what defines us! I’m posting this in my Ways To Save section because this is me, and YOU, saving some sanity, some time (carved out just for us), and some money because you don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get moving again or stay moving if you already are.
Time For Change
Back to the New Years resolution and morning person part…at the end of last December I told myself that I wanted/needed to change, but how? Whenever I tried to workout after work I would frequently get interrupted by my daughter, dinner prep, or just lack of motivation. I was tired! Any of this sound familiar? So how could I do this differently as the current plan was clearly not a functioning one? My daughter currently goes to bed with me (and I don’t see this changing anytime soon), so I needed to start using my morning to workout (which by the way has never been successful until now!).
The Game Plan
In order to be successful, the plan needed to be (and still needs to be) simple, realistic, and motivating. Oh, and all completed downstairs before my daughter wakes up which means I definitely was not heading to the gym (thank you baby monitor!).
- All workouts can be done in the house with little equipment.
- These morning workout tips WON’T make you a morning person! They WILL however make working out in the morning more palatable and successful!
- Select workouts that are 15-30 min in length, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while.
- Figuring out what motivates you will help when the mornings get tough.
Morning Workout Tips
1. Alarm Clock
First, if you’ll be waking up earlier than usual, you’ll want some help in remembering to do so. This will help you stay consistent. I found a new alarm sound on my phone that I haven’t used before. It’s not too annoying, so I won’t immediately hit snooze, but also energetic enough that I wont sleep through it.
2. Liquid Courage
This will differ from person to person (and no, it’s not alcohol). Coffee, tea, water with lemon…whatever liquid you prefer, it needs to be extremely easy to make in your zombie-like morning state. I prefer coffee, so I bought a beautiful aqua coffee maker and put it in the basement right where I’ll be. Grab my cup, pour in a little half and half and walk to the basement. Push button. What could be easier?! I do also eventually recycle all of the plastic cups and compost the grounds, so little waste and little eco-guilt.
3. Workout Clothes
You’ve heard this before, but it’s true. Having your clothes set out the night before makes it easy to just put on and go in the morning. No one wants to fumble through piles and drawers in the dark or, better yet, have to turn the lights on to find what you’re looking for. I have a pile of clothes sitting in the back room, so I have to pass it to get the kitchen. If I don’t get really sweaty during my workout, I will put those clothes back in a pile for tomorrow. Why run through laundry? Also, the beauty of working out at home. No one to impress except yourself.
4. Workout Plan
I find that, if given the opportunity to say ‘what workout do I want to do this morning’, the answer would be none. Rather than ask that question every morning with a good shot at doing nothing, having a predefined workout plan helps with consistent follow through along with eliminating boredom. There are a ton of 30, 60, 90 day plans out there with different fitness levels. I’ve used several of SELF’s challenges and Hasfit, both which are free. Find a plan that matches your fitness level and works for you.
5. Workout Equipment
Given that one of the goals is simplicity, all of the workouts should be able to be completed with just body weight or a few dumb bells. If you don’t have dumb bells, soup cans or water bottles can be substituted. You may want a mat or towel if your floor is wood or another hard surface. Beyond that, any additional equipment, I would consider icing on the cake. Keep it simple and keep everything right where you’ll be working out, so you don’t have to put any effort into finding it in the morning.
One of the things I found the most useful on days I truly just wanted to sleep in or keep looking at my phone rather workout is accountability. Figure out that person, group of people, or even diary/calendar where you can check in and let them know your progress. For me it was my husband and it was as simple as texting ‘Day x √’ every morning after I completed my workout. It gave me a sense of accomplishment to actually acknowledge that I completed my workout. It also felt good getting a thumbs up back from him or a ‘good job’. This positive reinforcement along with a bit of accountability to someone or something tends to help on those rough mornings (and there will definitely be some).
This is probably one of the most important ones! In order to make a change that’s sticks, you need to be consistent with the routine. From the time you get up to your clothes, program, and even coffee/tea…all of these things need to be consistent in order to make them a habit. Even on those days off (and yes those are wonderful) you still need to get up, so your body doesn’t get confused. I like to use those mornings for catching up on social media or the blog or just hanging out and enjoying the quiet me time before the day’s chaos begins.
I still would not consider myself a morning person. There are definitely some hard mornings, but in general, it does get a bit easier. Your body gets used to the change as long as its gradual and consistent. The final part of this game plan is motivation. What’s motivating you to work out or get back into working out? Do you want to move better, feel better, or lose weight? Ask yourself why you are doing this and when those days get tough, remember the answer.
I hope these tips inspire you to find your own morning workout ‘ME’ time! Currently, my morning routine consists of 15-20 minutes looking at my phone while drinking coffee before I say ‘let’s do this!’. What does yours look like? Let me know in the comments!