You know it makes sense to work out in the morning. But between setting your alarm early, rolling out of bed on time, putting on your workout clothes, going outside in the coldthere are so many opportunities for you just to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. “I’m just not a morning person,” you think to yourself.
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Training your brain to wake up energized and ready to get moving in the morning is possible, in the same way you can train the rest of your body with cardio or weights. All it takes is a few simple changes in your a.m and p.m. routines to get your mind in tip-top morning-person shape:
1.Make it a gradual transition. If you’ve been a night owl your whole life—heading to bed at midnight and getting up with just enough time in the morning to rush out the door —chances are you won’t become a morning person overnight. You have to ease your body and mind into it. Try setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier, and also going to bed 15 minutes earlier, for a week. Then move it back 15 minutes again the next week, until you reach your goal wake-up time. This gradual transition will go a lot smoother than changing your whole sleep schedule by an hour or more all at once.
2. Master your bedtime routine. If you want to wake up ready to attack your a.m. workout, you’ll need to get enough sleep the night before. If you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep earlier, try tweaking some of your evening activities. Avoid exercise, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and bright light near bedtime. That means turning off the TV and putting away your phone at least an hour before you hope to fall asleep.
3. Seriously, put down the phone. So, you’ve set your alarm, it’s bedtime, but before you turn out the lights you think, “Just one more quick scroll through Instagram won’t hurt!” Actually, staring at your phone screen right before bed can seriously mess with your sleep, in turn affecting your get-up-and-go the next morning. The blue light emitted from the screens restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body to go to sleep, and stay asleep. So put your phone or laptop away 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime—or better yet, try making your bedroom a gadget-free zone.
4. Add hydration into your morning routine. You’ve set your alarm, you’re all cued to get up in time for your morning workout- and then you snooze for 30 minutes and miss the window of opportunity. If you suffer from over-snoozing, this strategy may help. Keep a full glass of water next to your bed, and when the alarm goes off in the morning, start chugging. Not only will this help wake you up, get you moving, and keep you hydrated, it may even increase your metabolic rate by up to 30 percent.
5. Get energized with a musical or illuminating alarm clock. Another way to avoid the snooze button is by programming your alarm to some energizing music. Your favorite pump-up song can wake you up and get you out of bed faster. Or, look into a light alarm app or light-based alarm clock. Waking up with the sun is biologically programmed into us, so exposing yourself to light in the morning is another great way to wake up faster. You could also try it the old-fashioned way, by letting some sun in and opening up those curtains as soon as your alarm goes off.
6. Try out some morning yoga. Yoga is a great way to ease into the day, waking up your body and mind gently, while still getting you moving. Plus, you can reap the benefits by taking just 15 minutes for your morning flow. There are plenty of YouTube yogis with short, energizing morning routines that are perfect for starting the day. Check out this playlist of 10-15 minute practices for inspiration.
7. Get a buddy to hold you accountable. It’s pretty easy to make excuses in the morning while laying in bed, but if you’ve got a workout scheduled with a friend, it’s that much harder to bail. This could also mean pre-registering for a fitness class at your gym, or even scheduling a session with a personal trainer. If someone else is expecting you to show up, your margin for flaking out just got much smaller.
Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. January is “Shape Up U.S. Month.”