Happy Friday, Friends!
Who’s super pumped for the weekend to get here? I know I’m certainly counting down the hours! All week, I’ve been a day ahead of myself mentally and that can be really disappointing when you wake up on a Thursday thinking it’s Friday! Anyways, now that it really is Friday, I can’t wait to enjoy some chill-out time after work. Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?
Last week I received an email from a reader asking about how I manage to get my butt out of bed and to the gym so regularly in the morning. As I’ve mentioned before, my usual wake-up time is about 4:40am, and you can typically find me at the gym between 5 and 7. This certainly isn’t a habit that I developed overnight, but it is one that I’ve maintained since I was about 16. I think part of my ‘morning person’ tendency comes from my mum, who has been getting up for 6am to enjoy her morning swim for as long as I can remember. Like mother, like daughter I suppose!
If you’ve read my weight loss story (either on my About page, or in this post) you may recall that I became fairly overweight in my mid-teens when living in Bahrain, and in order to get things back under control, I combined healthy eating with exercise. One of my favourite things to do was to jump on the elliptical trainer that we had in our living room first thing in the morning before showering and getting ready for school. I’m not quite sure how long I did this for, but I’m estimating at least 2 years. When I moved back to Canada, it was just second nature. A day that didn’t begin with a little cardio (or a lot) just felt off – well, except for the once-weekly rest day that I take very seriously!
Throughout the 4 years of my university career, and to this day, I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to a gym nearby where I can get my daily workout fix. The reader that wrote to me said she also has gym access, and she’s a member too. The problem is that she just can’t get herself out of bed in the morning! Sound familiar? In order to help, I brainstormed all the advice I could come up with for “becoming a morning person”. Like I said, it’s certainly not something that happens overnight. I got into the habit when I was younger (not that I consider myself old at 22 or anything!), so it’s just what I do now, but I totally get how it can be difficult when you’re used to getting up at 7 or 7:30am each day. Without further ado, here are my top tips:
1. Set your gym clothes out every night.
And if you’re not going to the gym, but just want to be able to have more time to get ready for work, set out your work clothes. Before bed, I always make a pile of my gym clothes on the floor next to my gym bag.
This way, I can throw them on without worrying that I’ve put my shirt on inside out, or having to dig through my dresser for a clean sports bra or matching socks. (Side note – I often don’t wear matching socks, but that’s another story for another day.) Making these decisions at night means fewer to make in the morning, and that means more time for you to work out, enjoy your morning coffee, or whatever it is that you do!
2. Realize that you’ll need to go to bed earlier (and do it!).
Actually, let’s back up – make sure you’re going to bed at a reasonable time in the first place! I can’t stress this one enough. I know everyone has their own unique sleep needs, so mine might be very different to yours. Through trial and error, I know that I function best when I’ve had between 8 and 10 solid sleep hours. I once read that every hour of sleep that you get before midnight is comparable to a single hour after midnight. Why? I have no idea, but I really do believe this! For example, say I go to bed at 9pm one night, and wake up at 5am the next morning. I actually feel more rested than if I were to go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am, even though both nights add up to 8 hours of sleep each. Try it out for yourself!
Back to that whole getting to bed earlier thing… if you’re going to be getting up earlier to work out, walk the dog, or just make more time for yourself in the morning, realize that you’re going to need to get to bed a little earlier if you want to avoid feeling like death when you get up! Call me a baby, but I usually aim to be in bed between 9:30 and 10:30 each night. If the alarm is set for 4:30, that leaves me a little short of my 8 hour optimal sleeping time, but an 8:30 bed time is pretty hard to make – as much as I’d certainly love to on some nights!
3. Baby Steps: Ease into it.
Say your goal is to wake up at 6am instead of your usual 7:30. Each day, set your alarm for a few minutes earlier. Maybe it’s 5 minutes, maybe it’s 10, maybe it’s only 2. Over time, those minutes will accumulate and before you know it, you’ll be up with the birds!
4. Have someone waiting. A workout buddy, a dog, a trainer, etc.
Just like other commitments, if you’ve got a buddy working towards the same goal, you’re less likely to bail on them. You wouldn’t just stay in your bed, knowing that your friend is all dressed, laced up and ready to run with you, would you? Of course not! The same goes for personal trainers. If you’re going to pay the pretty pennies and hire one to train you, you’re not going to just waste that money by staying in your bed, right?
5. Have something to look forward to.
Maybe it’s the chance to catch up with a friend on your morning walking date. Maybe it’s a longer-than-usual shower – you know, not those typical weekday ones where you jump in, lather up your hair whilst simultaneously speed shaving your legs, rinse, and hop out. I’m talking about the kind that you’d usually reserve for the weekends, where you set out the fluffy towels and the yummy-smelling shower gels, the deep conditioning treatment, and the face scrub, and stand under the shower head till your fingers are wrinkly like prunes. Wouldn’t it be awesome to enjoy a weekend shower on a weekday? Or maybe it’s a freaking delicious breakfast. Or maybe it’s all of the above!! My point is that if you have something exciting to look forward to, you’ll be more motivated to throw off the covers and get out of bed.
6. Be consistent.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s key: Try to maintain the same bed time/wake up time each day. Now obviously, I don’t get up at 4:30 on the weekends – that would be crazy. But I don’t sleep in very late either because my body just doesn’t do it. I naturally tend to wake up around 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday, but I force myself to stay in bed until at least 7 when at least a few other people in my timezone are likely to be awake. By being consistent, your body gets used to the sleeping pattern and eventually, getting up early isn’t quite as difficult as it used to be.
Alright, those are my top 6. Now here’s where you come in!
- Are you a morning person too? Do you have any tips to add to my list?
- Are you a converted morning person – as in, did you go from being a sleep-in-all-morning type to an up-at-the-crack-of-dawn type? What made you change? What strategies helped?