There’s no point in denying it – it can be very difficult to stick with an exercise routine, especially when we’re not morning people. This is why so many new years resolutions barely see the middle of January before giving way to human nature.
I know that I, being the polar opposite of a morning person, have historically found it tremendously difficult to stare down the barrel of physically demanding exercise during that time of day. Frankly, in the morning, my get up and go, seems to have always gotten up and went without me.
Fortunately, with a little understanding of psychology, and some cleverly-applied life hacks, it’s not that hard to stay motivated for your morning workouts. Today, we’re going to talk about some of these, and why they work. If one or two of these aren’t an option due to lifestyle variables, that’s ok, you’re sure to find some of these ideas useful.
#1 – Pack Your Workout Gear Overnight
If you’re not that motivated in the morning to begin with, this is a big help. If you’ve got your gear ready to just grab and go, then you have more time to get a cup of coffee in you, and come to grips with the waking world, while staying on your schedule.
Given that few of us have the luxury to adjust our schedules so we can properly wake up, pack our gear, and get our routine in before surrendering to the adult world for the rest of the day. It’s best to do this in the evening right before dinner, when you’re not ready to pass out. It’s less of a chore that way. When you’re ready for bed, even simple tasks are like climbing mountains, so don’t leave this as the last thing you do before lying down.
#2 – Sleep in your Gym Wear and Prep the Night Before
This one isn’t for everyone, because a lot of people find it difficult to sleep in much clothing, if any at all. But, if you don’t mind sleeping in your exercise gear, it’s one more way to make it easier to hit the ground moving, and have that much more time to center yourself, so you can brace for facing your morning.
It’s worth noting that if you do this, make sure you shower before putting the gear on, and be sure to put plenty of antiperspirant on, so you don’t sweat in the clothes overnight, and smell like you’ve already worked out before you even arrive at the gym.
#3 – Put Your Alarm Clock on the Far Side of the Room
This one’s a general life hack to help anyone who’s not a morning person, to get moving. This is a bit trickier in modern times where many people use their phones as alarm clocks, and often spend some time surfing the web in bed before going to sleep. However, setting up a second alarm – the traditional clock radio sort – out of reach is a good idea.
It’s easy to shut your phone up, roll over and think “in a minute, I’ll get up. I just need to work up the will to do it.” And then, you fall back asleep. With another alarm annoyingly blaring away across the room, you won’t be able to get back to sleep. It will, absolutely, annoy you into getting up to turn it off.
Once you’re on your feet, it’s easy to exercise a little bit of willpower to get moving.
#4 – Stick to Your Favorite Workouts
It’s best to have some routines picked out that meet your total fitness needs, but that you also “enjoy”. The promise of routines that you like, that make you feel legitimately good to perform, and that you feel good after doing, is an excellent motivator to get you moving.
Anyone who has a job they either hate or simply don’t enjoy, can vouch for motivating themselves in the morning, knowing a day of tedium or misery awaits them, being quite a challenge. If your exercise routine is wholly unpleasant, the same problem will apply.
#5 – Choose a Playlist that Matches Your Intensity
As media-focused people in this century, prolonged periods of time when we’re not listening to, or watching something, are increasingly foreign, unpleasant experiences. We can argue the pros and cons of this step in our social and psychological evolution, but honestly, it was an inevitability we should just accept.
With that in mind, choosing a playlist that lights a fire under you, puts you in a good mood, and distracts you from the oppressive feeling most of us feel in the morning, is an excellent way to get you moving. It will also help you get past that initial warm-up when you arrive at the gym, and need to get going.
#6 – Have a Gym Buddy
Having someone who shares your goals, and whom you are comfortable spending time with, is probably one of the most important things you can do. Mutually motivating one another, and keeping a standing appointment to meet up on specific workout days, will prevent you from finding excuses. Most people are loath to stand others up when they’ve made an appointment, especially people they consider friends!
If you can carpool together for your workout, this is even more effective, as one of you will come knocking if the other is taking too long to get going. It helps if this is someone you’re friends with outside the gym, whom you don’t mind maybe having breakfast with afterward, and with whom you maybe enjoy out-of-the-gym activities with too (hiking, walking, etc.).
If your potential gym buddy is someone you meet at the gym first, don’t hesitate to let that friendship cultivate into a deeper, less limited friendship if you both hit it off. One of the good things about gyms, besides the professional equipment and staff, is that communal comradery that can happen when everyone’s being decent.
#7 – Set Goals
We all need a sense of progress, or we become very disparaged and discouraged. While we obviously have an ultimate goal for our workout routines, we should set smaller, rational milestones along the way. Set lots of them, ones that can be achieved on a weekly basis, and check them off with glee when they’re achieved. This will keep you constantly motivated, and give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and get going.
Some of these may not be options for you, and if you’re not a gym goer, then you’ll have to modify a few of these in some ways. Nonetheless, if you follow these tips, you should find it much easier to stay motivated and devoted to your routine for the long haul.
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