“Motivation is what gets you started – habit is what keeps you going”
Gone are the days of being a university student – flexible hours, catching up with friends, home all day long and sleeping in! Now living out of home in a city working full-time – trying to fit in a workout is tough… especially as winter approaches!!! Here come the frosty winter mornings … -6 degrees outside and pitch black when the alarm goes off at 5.30. Stubbing toes in search of the bathroom, blinding ourselves with the heat lights and having to carry cups of hot water out to the car to pour on the windscreen. Unless you are a bus or tube goer of course.
Ever heard of the saying “summer bodies are made in the winter?” Another year – another 2 kilos stacked on during hibernation that you never manage to lose? Your time is now and you are in training to be healthy for life. There The best part about committing to a healthy lifestyle is that is doesn’t have an end date. And to be honest who wants to work their butts off (literally) over the next 6 months and then blow out and quit as soon as summer hits? Did I really just mention summer already…. eeeeeeish!!
For me, the idea of going to the gym in the evening after work makes me want to curl up in a ball or just get into bed. I am way too exhausted and hungry so getting my butt to the gym first thing in the morning before my brain realises what I am doing is really the only option. Here are some simple tips to make getting to that early morning session a little easier. I know I need every little bit of help and encouragement that’s for sure.
1. Plan an early night
Now if being tucked up in bed at 9pm, lunch box packed, breakfast oats soaking, face all cleansed and night cream on doesn’t sound like you that’s ok. But the absolute key to getting up early is being prepared and making sure you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a very important part of healthy living and you should be aiming to clock between 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night to allow your body to fully recover and to refresh your mind. So do the maths – if you need to be up at 5.30am then aim to have those lights switched off by 9.30pm. Most importantly avoid bright screens by turning off the television, mobile phone and laptop.
2. Get your gym gear out
Lay it out on the floor so you don’t have a choice but to stumble over it. Or if you have a significant other who turning the light on will annoy or disturb, lay out your gym gear out in the bathroom so you can do the dark dash and get dressed in there whilst others sleep. Shoes, tights, singlet, sports bra, socks… Check!! And don’t forget the water bottle and car keys. Make sure you know where all these things are to avoid delirious searches around the house when you could be out the door. The best part about exercising in the morning is you are out the door before your mind figures out what you are doing. Well apparently…
3. Get a gym buddy – make it social
If turning the alarm off and sleeping that extra 90 minutes is too easy then get a gym buddy and make a date out of it. Commit to going to a walk and meeting them on a corner nearby or at the gym. That way you will feel less likely to roll over and snooze when you have committed to someone and don’t want to let them down.
4. Reward yourself
One of the biggest parts to getting up early for me is knowing that there is a reward at the end. And this doesn’t mean a 1 hour sweat session followed by a double mocha super shake and 3 bacon and egg Mc Muffins. I am talking about something healthy and rewarding like a huge bowl of oats/bircher muesli or a soy chai latte at work. My gym partner and I have a deal that every 20 sessions we do we have a VERY WELL DESERVED breakfast date at our favourite wholesome café ... Grill Market of course!
5. Buy new gym gear
Hate to say that you should be spending MORE money on top of your gym membership but a new gym outfit can be just the motivation that we need. Especially with the gorgeous new styles from LuluLemon, LornaJane, Stella McCartney, the Upside, Nike….. ahhh just all of them! Head to Active In Style for the latest hottest gear!!
6. Follow a health and fitness pt/babe on instagram
Someone who will motivate you daily to get out of bed and be a better you. A few of my London favourites are Becki @alt_healthy_becki, Lucy Ingram @lifestylelucypt, Alice @cleaneatingalice, Brit Williams @fitbritcollective and Aussie Insta babes @amandabisk @tashoakley and @stephclairesmith These beautiful women know a thing or two about a healthy lifestyle and have the most amazing, fit, strong bodies and minds!! Personally if I skip the gym I don’t want to scroll instagram because I am waaaaaay too competitive and it kills me seeing that she got up and worked out whilst I stayed in bed. No wonder she looks like that and I…well I am a work in progress I like to think!
7. Write it down
Pre plan your exercise in your diary. I don’t know how OCD you are or how much you use your diary but if you are anything like me – I will do that dreaded 6am Lomax Blast class just so I don’t have to use the messy white out AGAIN and muck up my week. Try writing your planned gym sessions down or ticking off a sheet when you complete a gym session.
8. Set multiple alarms
And I am not talking about a second alarm a few minutes later or the snooze button. Set an alarm on a device AWAY from your bed. The only way you can turn this alarm off is by getting up and walking over to it so you are less likely to hop back into bed or hit snooze and roll over. Bombard yourself with obnoxious alarms, radios, music devices or set the television to come on and wake up in a more friendly environment watching some tv.
9. Sign up to a class
Sign up for a class or pre pay so you can’t bail without some sort of financial loss. Schedule in advance a prepaid Barrys class or a personal training session (and they are not cheap). That way if you know you will lose money if you skip it you might be more inclined to get that morning session under your belt!
10. Be realistic
Set a goal to get up 2 mornings this week. Don’t plan to work out every morning if you are just starting or trying to get into the swing of things. Don’t overdo it. Your body will be sore and lethargic and you won’t be able to keep it up. But remember that a small session is better than none. If you decide to sleep that extra hour then challenge yourself to a 1 minute plank or 20 squats when your feet hit the floor.
11. Get into a routine
Bed at the same time and awake at the same time. Even if you aren’t getting up to face the gruelling cold and gym – do 30 minutes of stretching and spend the extra 30 mins making yourself a cooked breakfast and watching the morning show or news. Your body likes to be in a routine so make a conscious effort to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
12. Remember why you started
The results – the happier and healthier you!! Maybe it’s the endorphin's but I always feel like I am invincible leaving the gym. And although you might feel sluggish getting out the door – the first step, rep or punch is always the hardest and you will be sweaty and fierce within moments. You can’t help but leave the gym feeling invigorated. Working out at night – is just not an option – I am way too tired and hungry and exhausted after a busy day at work. It is much harder to hit the gym on the way home from work when you could always just skip it and go home for a hot shower and dinner.
You will feel better for it
You never feel like going to the gym after work or in the evening
You can get it over and done with
You will be more alert and happier
You will have more energy throughout the day
And the best part about exercising early …. Is breakfast!!! … “One more rep… mmm oats…. 10 more seconds… mmmm peanut butter toast… 10 burpees to finish… mmmm protein shake!!”
Do a workout at Lomax in Chelsea so you can pop into Grill Market after to refuel. If not, here are some of my recipes below....
What ever gets you out of bed and exercising to be the best you… just DO it!! You only ever regret the workout you DIDN’T do!
Katie Morgan @katierobynmorgan