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Whether you are a morning bird or a night owl, the idea of finishing your workouts first thing in the morning and having the rest of the day to focus on other important tasks can sound like a tempting proposition. However, sticking with an early a.m. workout routine can be tough at times, even for the most adept morning people. If you are among those people who would like to have an easier time waking up early to work out, we’ve got just the thing for you!
Here are seven helpful tips to help make your morning workouts a little easier:
1. Map Out Your Workout
Having a well-structured workout routine mapped out ahead of time is a helpful way to keep yourself on track in the gym, especially when you are working out early in the morning. Giving your brain a little structure early in the day by having a preconceived plan will make the process less mentally taxing and allow you to focus on physically challenging your body.
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2. Pack Your Gym Bag The Night Before
Packing your gym bag the night before is a great way to simplify your morning routine so that you can focus on your workout and the rest of the day’s important tasks. You’ll also be less likely to forget any crucial items (e.g., water bottle, shampoo, earphones) which will help you avoid any grunt-worthy early morning frustrations.
3. Open Your Blinds Before Falling Asleep
When sunlight first reaches the retinas in your eyes in the morning, it triggers your body to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, which can make you feel drowsy.[i] Open up your blinds each night before you fall asleep to allow your body to have a smoother less groggy wake-up process and workout the next morning.
4. Fuel Your Workout
You typically don’t want to eat a full breakfast before your morning workouts because your body takes about two hours to digest an entire meal. However, you should eat something that contains quickly absorbable carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit, a cup of applesauce or a slice of cinnamon bread, to sustain your energy during your workouts. Also, be sure to drink enough water before you hit the gym since even a minor amount of dehydration can significantly impact your workout performance.[ii]
5. Fuel The Rest of Your Day
Once you’ve finished your workout, you should eat a nourishing breakfast with plenty of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates within 30 minutes. The complex carbohydrates will help provide you with sustained energy throughout the day, and the protein will aid in your body’s post-workout recovery process.
6. Go to Bed Early
Seven hours of sleep — that is the minimum amount of sleep adults 18 to 60 years old should be getting a night.[iii] Be sure to fall asleep early enough the evening before your early morning workouts to make up for the hours you are losing on the other end. After all, you do not want to sacrifice one essential healthy habit (sleep), for another one (working out early).[iv]
7. Make it a Habit
Work out consistently enough for long enough and you can eventually make working out in the early morning a habit. Once you make it a habit, waking up in the morning will become more instinctual and less of a conscious decision. Exciting thought, isn’t it? However, it’s important to point out that habits are not formed overnight and usually take at least 10 weeks to create.[v]