When I tell people that most days I am up before 6 a.m. to exercise, they tell me that I am lucky to have been born this way. It reality, it has absolutely nothing to do with luck. Yes, I tend to be more of a morning person, but that doesn’t mean that I naturally jump out of bed before sunrise — awake and ready to go for a run in any weather condition.
There is one vital muscle that I need to train along with the others to make my morning workouts happen: My willpower. Just like with muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it! So as soon as I stop and take one morning off, my willpower gets weakened. If this happens serval times, I can guarantee you that I will choose the bed over my running shoes every time. It’s as simple as that.
I always say getting yourself out of bed is the first step. Once I am out bed and have my clothes on, I will likely make the workout count because I am already there. Here are my five strategies s to strengthen your willpower and be one of those super-fit morning people you admire:
1. Lay out your workout clothes at night.
It may sound juvenile, but every night I pull out my workout clothes for the next morning. The shorter I can make the path from bed to workout, the better — less time for my mind to talk me out of it. I have even had to go as far as wearing the actual clothes to bed, so when I woke up I was ready to go. Sometimes you just need to get all obstacles out of the way just to get the workout done!
2. Get into the athleisure trend.
This may be a very girly thing, but nothing excites me more than flashy new running shorts or sparkly pink shoes. If you keep working out in your old, washed-out college shirts and crappy sneakers, you're probably not very excited to put them on. There are tons of new fitness brands on the market today — and a lot are very affordable like Impact by Jillian Michaels line at Kmart or the Avia line at Walmart. Investing in bright and well-fitting gear can amp up your motivation factor.
3. Build a motivating playlist.
Using music with fast beats really helps to pace your workouts. I like to use between 120 - 150 beats per minute for my music to keep me on target for interval jumps and running. If you use iTunes, Spotify or other music apps, you can find the top 50 chart music as workout remixes. Download them and build a playlist you love. I have some for rainy days, for calming me down and some to wake me up — all depending on my mood.
4. Establish a regular bedtime — and be strict about it.
If you really want to make morning workouts happen regularly, you need to go to bed early. Chatting with friends, catching up on TV, and answering work emails until midnight guarantees you'll miss your 6 a.m. workout. Your body and mind need time to rest, about seven to eight hours a night. Find a bedtime that works with your schedule and stick to it.
5. Move every day for one month.
Nothing builds willpower like consistency. As I explained before, as soon as I let my training routine go for just a few days, my willpower dies. Once you get started, it’s so much easier to keep going rather than starting all over again every week or month.
For one month, make the commitment to move every day. I don’t mean hitting the gym every day for one month. Instead try these options: go for a bike ride, walk to work, learn some stretches or foam-rolling exercises to do at home. So even on days you don’t go to the gym or an exercise class, you are staying active and strengthening your willpower. After one month, your body will feel addicted to movement, and you will happily roll out of bed.