When you’re snuggled deep in the coziness of your bed, it’s hard to leave. But trading your soft sheets for a trip to the gym could be exactly what your body needs — once you get over the whole pressing snooze situation. Not only can a morning workout help you lower your blood pressure and consume fewer unnecessary calories throughout the day, but it also frees your post-work day for fun things like catching up with friends or testing a new recipe.
Alas, if it were only so easy to just become a morning person. Join the dawn patrol with these five, expert-backed suggestions to make the earliest part of the day a bit easier:
FIND A FRIEND
Waking up to get a sweat in solo can be tough. Waking up when you know someone else is relying on you to get in their workout too keeps you accountable. One 2016 study published in the journal Obesity found overweight people tend to lose more pounds if they spend time with their fit friends. And get this: The more time they spend together, the more weight they lose. “Enroll a buddy or buddies to sweat with you,” suggests John Murray, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga in New York City. “Then, make a public commitment on your social media feeds by tagging one-another. Sharing your progress can then, in turn, help you build some momentum with a new routine.”
MAKE A PLAN AND COMMIT
“Set yourself up for success by creating a plan with definitive rules for yourself,” suggests Dyan Tsiumis, nutrition coach and director of training at Swerve Fitness, a spin studio in New York City. “Make a schedule that you will abide by to create consistency to develop this habit.” We promise: The more often you wake up and get out at 6 a.m., the faster it will feel normal.
FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
If you absolutely hate CrossFit, you’re a lot less likely to wake up early, go throw around a few barbells and hit a squat personal record. Maybe dance is your thing, you’re more of a runner, or you find joy in holding downward dog. Whatever your fit passion is, dig into that and make the mornings all about you. With so many options out there, there’s no reason to stick with something that gets you down or makes you feel defeated.
PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
It’s totally normal to be a bit foggy when you’re up with — or before — the sun. Shove excuses to the side by doing some advance prep that will set you up for success, suggests Coleman Annison, an instructor at Swerve Fitness. “I go as far as making my morning coffee the evening before,” he says. “Then, I plan tomorrow’s sweat and work look before even climbing into bed, and I have a duplicate set of toiletries to keep in my backpack.”
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Maybe there’s a pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing or a trip you’re dying to take. Set a goal for yourself to conquer, say, 30 morning workouts — and then reward yourself for that hard work by indulging a bit. For Bree Branker, a trainer at Akin’s Army, naps are her treat herself moment. “I’m definitely not a morning person, per se,” she says. “But if I get up and out early, then I can feel great that I’ve earned a little me time later in the day.”
BE HAPPY THAT YOU CAN DO IT
Sometimes it’s hard to put things in perspective. Especially early in the morning. But finding time to be grateful that you have the opportunity to work out at that hour in the first place is a great way to incorporate it more regularly into your routine. “I constantly remind myself that I have the ability to move, and I don’t want to take that for granted,” says CJ Koegel, a trainer in New York City. “When I walk, run or workout — I am thankful during those activities.”