For the past few months, I’ve switched from intense 45-minute (or a bit more) lunchtime workouts to early morning, hour-long workouts. Early morning workouts really work better for my hectic schedule and still allow me to remain fresh and clean during the entire workday. One of the drawbacks of lunchtime workouts is that the time was too short to shower at the gym (that is, if I wasn’t running or biking outside) and we do not have showers at work. While I still utilize my lunch a few times a week to get in a workout, it is usually a short workout at the gym (allowing time for a shower) or a restorative workout such as Yoga.
The early morning workout is exactly what I needed in my life, but it was by no means easy for me to make the transition. I found that with a little planning and preparation, an early morning workout was more than possible. I devised a routine that worked for me and my crazy-busy schedule and I am sure you can create one that works well for yours.
Below are some time-saving tips that may help you get in your early morning workout like a pro:
Get to bed early the night before. It’s really hard to get up before the sun has risen, if you have only had a few hours of sleep. Aim for a bedtime that allows for around 7 hours of quality sleep.
Pro Tip: Avoid the viewing of electronics such as computers, cell phones and televisions 30 minutes before bedtime. If you view these screens, use blue light blocking glasses.
Pro Tip: Use natural sleep aids (teas, powders, pills) in order to fall asleep and stay asleep. Look for products that include one or more of the following: Melatonin, Valerian Root, Magnesium, Calcium, Lavender or Chamomile.
Set your alarm..or two. Waking up early will be a challenge at first, so set an alarm to ensure you wake up on time and another alarm to make sure that you leave the house on time. If you are a hard sleeper, you may want to set one alarm to wake you up and one 5 minutes later…to really, really wake you up.
Pro Tip: If you are using your cell phone alarm, modify the alarm label with a motivational message. (Mine is: You’ve Gotta Work For It!)
Lay out your clothes the night before. Set out your gym clothes within easy reach and include all of your accessories (hijab, heart rate monitor, watch, socks, compression sleeves) and your shoes. The last thing you want to do at 4 AM is hunt for a matching sock, so lay out everything you need.
Pack your gym bag the night before. Make sure you include everything you will need after your workout, such as a change of clothes, shower gel, shampoo, lotion deodorant or feminine products.
Pro Tip: Lay your work clothes on the floor, folded in half longways. Place your pants/skirt on the bottom, then stack your shirt, scarf/hijab (if you use one), underwear, socks or stockings and accessories. If you have a work badge, clip it to your clothing at this time. Roll all the items together tightly and place the entire roll in your gym bag.
Prep your pre and post-workout meal. Set out your cups or containers with your pre-measured powder in it ready to go. In the morning, add your liquids and go.
Pro Tip: If you have a smoothie pre or post-workout, consider freezing the ingredients in a mason jar. Add the liquid to the jar in the morning. Most glass mason jars fit the standard blender base attachment so you can blend your smoothie or shake directly in the jar and head out the door.
Now you are ready to rock your early morning workout like a pro. It takes 21 days to establish a new habit. Give it time if you struggle a bit at first to get out the door in time. After a few weeks your early morning workout will become second nature.