Waking To Workout: Tips To Become a Morning Exerciser

by Lauren on October 4, 2012

I’ve always been a morning person.  My body seems to operate well first thing which sounds like a good thing, but that only means the reverse for me towards the other end of the day.


So I may be able to pull myself out of bed at an ungodly hour, tap into my energy stores and bust out an hour workout like its nothing but ask me to go out past 7:30pm and I turn into one lackluster grump.  It has its pros and cons.


Regardless, I often get asked how I manage to find the motivation to complete my exercise before I really even start my day, just about every day.  Truthfully, I enjoy it and I’ve developed such a routine around this type of daybreak schedule that it has become habitual.


Initially, when I decided to work from home, I thought I might want to begin playing around with different workout times since my schedule was a bit more flexible.  I spent two weeks adjusting to see if I could adapt to a different time and to be honest, I hated it.  I missed the early hour workouts and put myself right back into the old schedule.


So what does my current schedule look like? Here is an example of this week in workouts:


Monday– 5:30am – 8 mile Run + 20 min Strength

Tuesday– 5:30am- RPM + 2 mile run

Wednesday– 5:30am- 8 mile Run + Abs

Thursday– 9:00am- RPM + 20 min strength

Friday– 5:30am- RPM + 2 mile run


The only day that I get a later start is on Thursdays when I teach a 9am class.  Other than that, 5:30am has been an ideal time for me.


You may ask yourself, what in the world would make one want to get themselves out of bed that early to sweat?  Well, the feeling of accomplishment for one.  Knowing you’ve already rocked a workout no matter what the day brings because we all know, as the day progresses, there’s only more opportunity to deter us from hitting the gym.


So if you’re not a morning exerciser but would like to start, here are my top 5 tips for getting your workout mojo before the sun comes up.


5.  Lay It Out

Working out in the morning has to be as painless as possible, and you want it to be as easy as possible to get out the door. So lay your workout clothes out the night before, have your bottle of water ready, brush your teeth, lace up your running shoes and get going. Do nothing but the bare minimum. Ideally, it should only take you 5 to 10 minutes to get ready. Also, make sure you know your workout plan!  If you’re set to run, know your route, set a distance goal and so forth.  If you are hitting the weights, have a plan in mind. Our brains don’t operate as sharp fist thing, so don’t waste your energy on thinking of what exercise to do.

4. Make Waking Up Fun

Since when is waking up fun? For me, when I know I have something to wake up for, it’s much more attainable.  On the mornings I run on my treadmill, I plan to catch up on one of my favorite shows.  Before I head to the gym to teach, I grab a snack to eat on the way there.  As soon as you wake up, blast an energizing song on your iPod.  Dance around for a few minutes, shake it out and get moving.  Do whatever you need to do to tap into those endorphins.

3. Bribe Yourself With a Rewarding and Tasty Breakfast

This is probably one of my favorite tips.  I often feel like I’m able to complete a killer workout knowing I’ll reward myself with a big plate of delicious food.  2 cups of coffee always tastes so much better to me when I feel like I’ve earned it.

2. Make It a Non-Negotiable

The hardest part about working out in the morning is getting out of bed.  This is essential and probably the hardest part for most, but DON’T and I repeat, DON’T hit the snooze.  Don’t even give yourself a second to think about it, just do it!

1.Ease Into It

If you’re body isn’t use to stress at this hour, it may take some time to actually feel good about it.  Start slow.  Try one or two days a week and as you get more comfortable with the new wakeup time, increase your days.  And if you skip a day, don’t beat yourself up.  The sun will come out tomorrow!

That gives you an idea of how I do it, but I also want to note that I really do enjoy it.  There are some people who are just not built for morning exercise and that is 100% okay.  I know I reach my maximum potential when I workout before anything else but for you, that may not be the case.  If the dread of getting out of bed is enough to make you hate the thought of exercise, please don’t force yourself into it.  Whatever you do or whatever time you chose to do it, you should always enjoy it.


Are you are morning exerciser? Do you have any tips for getting out of bed to workout in the am?  Feel free to share! 

20 thoughts on “Waking To Workout: Tips To Become a Morning Exerciser”

  1. Erika says:

    I love morning workouts! I use to get up at 5:30 to workout but after becoming a mom I had to change things up a bit and now I get up at 4:30. There is an adjustment period but after about a week my body was use to it. I did start slower though with less intensity but now that I’m use to it I can knockout a hard workout right away.

  2. Ellie says:

    “but ask me to go out past 7:30pm and I turn into one lackluster grump” – ditto! More people should eat dinner at 6:00, haha!

  3. I’m up at 5:15 every day to workout – I love it! If I have to take a rest day I feel so ‘blah’ and miss my energy boost.

    So – what is RPM?

    1. Lauren says:

      It’s an indoor intense cycling class. Think speed, intervals, hills, all to high energy music. It’s my passion!

  4. Krystal says:

    I get up every weekday at 5am to work out and I love it! One thing that has helped me recently is looking at the fitness section on pinterest on my iphone right when my alarm goes off. There are always plenty of motivational pics and sayings that help get me excited for my workout!

    1. Lauren says:

      That’s a great tip! Pinterest is so versatile. 🙂

  5. I wish I could work-out in the morning — I’ve tried, and failed — although I can’t say that I tried consistently or tried to ease into it! I usually work out when I get home from work around 4:30. There are many days when I feel stressed about the other “stuff” I’d like to get done then! I think part of the problem about early AM workouts is that I workout at home, in my “sunroom” (in NY – with no insulation) and it’s freezing most of the year!! I also don’t get my butt in bed early enough either

  6. Lindsay says:

    I’m more of an evening exerciser lately, but it’s much easier to talk myself out of workout after a long day at work! I’ve been trying to get back into working out in the mornings. Looking forward to trying out your tips!

  7. I workout in the morning but still struggle with the snooze! Ugh it is a killer to not hit that button!

  8. I would definitely prefer to be a morning exerciser, and I am when I’m on summer hours. But during the school year I just can’t seem to wake up at the required 5 A.M. That’s just a little too early for me.

  9. i was a morning exerciser for a solid 5 years… until i got pregnant and mornings in my first trimester were reserved for sleeping 🙂 i’m back to morning workouts now – most of the time. i agree, though, this sounds crazy but getting up at 5:00 does get relatively easy after you get into a routine.

  10. I have recently starting morning exercise due to changes in work commitments and I am liking it so far. I agree with all of your points! Plus it is awesome to be able to come home at night and be able to do whatever you want knowing that your workout is done and dusted!

    xo Emilie @ Hungry Delights

  11. I need to get back into my morning workouts. You are totally right about how things will come up in the evening that -typically- sound better than a workout. I miss the feeling of accomplishment after a morning workout. It helps me stay on track with my daily food intake as well!

  12. Jillian says:

    You won’t see the likes of me before 8am unless there’s a REALLY good reason for me to be out of bed. I’d rather fill my evenings with exercise and grab all the zzzzz’s I can in the mornings 🙂

  13. I’m definitely a morning exerciser, it just starts my day on the right foot. With my new part-time job I’m often working at 5:45am which means I can’t get to the gym before but then I always pack my stuff so I can go right after work before getting home. I have the same mind set at noon that I do for my early morning workouts. And since I have to be up so early, I do all of my packing and planning the night before and grab a granola bar to eat on the drive over.

  14. Brittany@Proteinandpumps says:

    I’ve always been a morning exerciser! The gym is practically empty, you start your day off on a positive note, and it gives you energy throughout the day. One thing I struggle with is getting enough sleep. The drawback, like you point out, is being so tired in the evenings. I think it’s a more than fair trade off.

  15. Good for you for just breaking out an 8 mile run on a typical week day! I will always be a morning exerciser. I also just changed jobs and thought my routine might change, but it worked in my favor because now I actually get to go to all the 6AM classes at my gym-they were too late for me before! If people knew how good you feel throughout the whole day, they could be easily converted

  16. Floey says:

    Hahah I love your top bun 🙂 !
    I’m definitely not a morning person 🙁 I’m a night owl and I always feel like my brain works better and that I’m more creative at night. The closest I’ve gotten to moving around in the morning is an early afternoon walk.

  17. These are great tips! Especially for someone like me who can’t seem to get in the groove of early morning running.

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