About a year-and-a-half ago I became employed at a local gym and, for awhile, that was motivation enough to consistently workout. But, working all day (sometimes at both jobs) and then holding myself to working out afterwards got old really fast. I find that, when life gets busy or stressful, my drive to keep a consistent workout routine waivers. Heck, even a new relationship or the weather changing to colder temperatures can be enough to make me temporarily forget my fitness goals!
Before this school year, I never really considered waking up before work to workout as an option for me. Sure, I tried to force myself to wake up early to workout here-and-there. But, I have a teaching career with a 45 minute commute. Five AM workouts seemed like a lofty goal. That is, until I noticed quite a few people at my school were regularly waking up early to get their exercise in for the day.
When I first got my smartwatch I shared my Activity report with some of my friends. I didn’t realize this meant I would also be receiving information about the start/end times of their workouts. I don’t mind them seeing when I workout, and I don’t mind seeing when they workout. It was just a surprise! Each day I would put my watch on, and it would vibrate to tell me who all had already completed a workout that morning. I was shocked to see how many teachers were regularly working out before work. My coworkers don’t know it yet, but this is what gave me that kick in the butt to try to make morning workouts stick.
How it Went:
Day 1 was one of those mornings where I felt like my alarm went off as soon as my head hit the pillow. I remember shutting off my 5 AM alarm, and telling myself I would just workout in the evening after work. Then, I reminded myself of my goal to workout early ( and to write this blog post), so I hopped out of bed at 5:10 and made it to the gym. It was a weak workout, but I got it done. I slept in on Day 2. I set myself up for failure by not setting out my workout clothes the night before, which allowed me to talk myself out of going when that alarm went off. I actually made it on Day 3, and I had a better workout than the Day 1 workout. Promising myself coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts got me out of bed pretty quickly. I failed at heading to the gym on Day 4 and Day 5, which means I only made it twice this week to the gym. There were reasons that, at the time, seemed like good reasons to not go to the gym. In reality, they were excuses. After a week of setting my alarm to 5 AM and sometimes working out and sometimes sleeping in, this is what I learned:
- Prepare: Set yourself up for success by preparing the night before. Set out everything you need. Everything. Put your shirt, pants, socks, shoes, and underwear all somewhere easy to locate in the morning. It would be even better if you could stand to sleep in your workout clothes. This way, you could just roll out of bed. Fill up your water bottle and put it in the car the night before. Locate your headphones or earbuds and put them somewhere easy to find. And, if you like me and heavily rely on music to workout, make sure your devices are charged!
- Get Sleep: Turn the TV off. Mute your phone. Do whatever you can to go to bed early enough for a good night’s sleep. Do you need a full 6-8 hours of sleep to function the next day? I do. If you only get a few hours of sleep you still have to wake up and go to work. But, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll probably talk yourself out of going to the gym.
- Shit Happens: There are going to be extra long days at work. Exhausting errands will pop up every so often. Shit happens. But, you can’t let the thought of those daunting tasks keep you from your goals. If you know a long day of work is ahead of you, maybe give yourself an extra 1-2 hours of sleep to make you feel better about waking up early. And, don’t believe yourself in the morning when you wake up and think: Today is going to be so long. If I workout now I won’t make it until the end of the day. That’s an excuse. You know it, and I knew it when I fed myself those exact line this week. Promise yourself coffee, and go lift some weights.
- Forgive Yourself: I only made it to the gym two times this week. I didn’t meet my goal of working out every morning. That’s a bummer to admit to myself and to anyone reading this post. But, the point of me starting this blog is to try new things and fearlessly report on my experience. My plan is to forgive myself for this week and to try harder next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.