There are two different people in this world: early risers who have extreme natural energy, equivalent to about three espresso shots, and night people who snooze eight times before waking up and need a trenta sized caffeine fix before even considering moving on with their day.
When I was younger, my Mom would wake me up in the literal afternoon. I attended PM kindergarten, and therefore, would sometimes sleep until 11AM before it began at noon. I was so confused as to how she came into my room, fully dressed (looking amazing), having already worked out and showered, fully into the swing of her day. I never could fathom how she was able to accomplish so much in the morning, before most of the world is awake. Later on, she explained that it was the best time for her “me-time.” When she became a mother, her body clock woke up at 5AM every day. When we grew up and began to sleep through the night, she took advantage of her natural circadian rhythm, and while we were asleep, she would blow dry her hair or lace wigs in peace.
My late sleeping habits continued through high school, as I would stay up extremely late, either studying, mindlessly playing on the computer, or going out with friends. There was no waking me. My mom would question why I liked sleeping the day away. There was no reason, I just needed the sleep. And, to be honest, I had no pressing matters to wake up for, other than school during the week.
I never ever thought I would become a morning person. I was a sleep-in late, exercise around 4PM type of girl all throughout college, too. When I woke up for early fitness classes, I was so proud of myself, and I felt SO good after, but it never became a habit. Well, that is, not until about one year ago.
When I started attempting morning workouts, it was because I ASPIRED to become a morning person, and knew it would be so nice to get my workout “out of the way.” Some days, I leave work with a horrible headache or don’t feel well, and others, I am just completely exhausted by the time I get home. If your schedule allows, it is so nice to 100% dedicate that morning time for yourself, before you dig into work and any stressors that may include. Oppositely, however, sometimes a PM workout is amazing to let go of your day (yoga is my favorite for this). Truly, my favorite reason for working out in the morning though, is BECAUSE it makes me feel like a morning person. I feel so much more energized when I head to work, my body feels balanced and and all of the right kinds of hungry and sore. Coffee feels a little more like a want than a need, and I am so much happier overall.
Squat rack and pancake stack queen, Alex (@fitlicity) says, although not glamorous, once you force yourself to do it, it becomes a habit. You can’t rebel against your body’s natural state or rhythm, but with these tricks, curated by myself and some of my favorite fitness queens, you can trick your body into slowly enjoying the ride of the early rise, sunrise sweat, and major check of the day’s to-do list before you take on the day.
1. Plan, Plan Plan
There is truly no reason to wake up, if you don’t set a reason. The night before, plan your work out. I always refer to the TIU Daily workout page around 8PM the night before. I check out the length of the workout, think about what else I may want to do, and set my alarm accordingly. For example: If the workout is HIIT and is only about 30-40 mins total, I’ll set my alarm for 5:45, and If i really need it, sometimes maybe 6AM. If the workout is intense toning moves with 30 minutes of cardio, I’ll wake up earlier to ensure I have time to complete it successfully, while also stretching and cooling down. Remember: it is better to wake up a little later, then to hit snooze several times and get interrupted sleep.
After planning your workout, plan your outfit! Lay out your clothes the night before, including sweat towel, water bottle and head phones (make sure bluetooth ones are charged).This will speed up the morning, getting you to the gym for your sweat sesh faster. Camryn (@Camm_TIU) says a cute outfit always motivates her for a killer workout! As if we needed a reason to buy more leggings ;).
If your own living room or gym workout isn’t enough to motivate, book a class that truly excites you. Treat yourself to that SoulCycle rooster you’ve been dying to try, or some nice morning yoga flow. This holds you accountable to someone else’s time, and sometimes, we need that added pressure to do it. It may be a struggle in the morning, but it is always worth it!
2. Check In with the Community
When I started my journey (with Tone It Up), looking at Instagram in the morning was a huge help. I would look at Instagram stories and see East Coasters up and at ’em at the crack of dawn, and I knew I was capable of doing the same thing. The community is an amazing way to hold yourself accountable without competition. Everyone virtually works out together, yet, at their own time, based on their individual needs and schedules. Figure out the time that works best for you, and check in via Instagram, or personal fitness journal.
3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Getting enough sleep is truly one of the most, if not the most, important parts of being a holistically healthy person. There is no reason to wake up at 5AM if you aren’t going to bed until 1AM. Likely, an early morning workout and full day of work will cause you to feel tired anywhere from 8,9, or 10PM. Despite being tired, sometimes the act of actually falling asleep is a challenge. If you’re like me, your mind wanders before bed, and despite your bed feeling like a heavenly cloud, you toss and turn in discomfort. Self-care before bed is the perfect solution. Try rubbing lavender essential oils on your wrists, ankles, and maybe even on your neck behind your ears. If you enjoy baths, take a bath with epsom salt and some essential oils as well. A nice bedtime yoga routine or meditation will also help calm the mind. YouTube offers some amazing variations.
My favorite product right now is this lotion by Lush. This used to be limited edition for holiday time, but is now available full year round! This blend of oatmeal infusion and lavender is extremely soothing, calming, and AMAZINGLY fragrant. My boyfriend and I are obsessed. In fact, we were so worried they would sell out that we bought two. An eye mask and melatonin are two other hacks that have helped me with any insomnia-like nights. Melatonin is natural, so no harm in taking a few milligrams, but don’t go overboard or get too dependent on it! Enjoy dinner, try some of these hacks for some relaxation, and gently fall asleep.
Those recommendations shared my favorite bed time routines, but how about when I wake up? I do not wear contacts, but I have extremely dry eyes. In the morning I use eye drops, then apply Kate Somerville’s Eye Depuff balm. It’s gentle and sensitive ingredients make the under part of your eyes calm and tingle in all of the right ways, which help you feel refreshed and awake. Strong chance you’ve already heard me rave about this product on Instagram!
5.Think of the Reward
Besides getting ready for the rest of your day, what do you enjoy after your workout? Always wake up knowing there is something to look forward to. For me, it is DEFINITELY seeing the sunrise, and the food. For others, like my girl Megan (@tiu_decbride) it may simply be coffee. That fresh brewed cup or fresh stacked of pancakes is calling your name, as soon as you push through that final rep.
6. Listen to Your Body
Even if you’re the biggest morning person of them all, it is important to wake up and listen to your body. Sore, achey, or just feeling meh? Don’t hit snooze, but rather, set your alarm back an hour and enjoy the rest. If you feel up to it, you can always work out later. You won’t ruin your routine by taking one day to give your body the care it needs and deserves.
Overall, it is great to just get your metabolism revving and move in the morning. Crawl out of bed, turn on the lights, wash your face and get active. Even if it’s a walk to get coffee, you will start to appreciate the me-time and the extra energy, along with the obvious physical benefits! Have any additional tips, tricks or questions? Leave in the comments below!