wellness work

How I’ve Mastered the Early Morning Workout

I hate when people profess that they’re “not a morning person.” 

No one is truly a morning person. Sure, some people have a harder time in the mornings than others. But mornings are naturally some level of hard for everyone.

So while that’s a reason, it’s also an excuse.

I was super active in college — always keeping fitness at the top of my priority list and hitting the gym on a regular basis (in between $1 you-call-its at the bar, of course).

Fast forward to my first post-college internship in PR — I barely made it to the office on-time each morning. Long hours at my job had me absolutely exhausted, and that left zero time (or motivation) to hit the gym. At that point, I’m embarassed to admit I was barely hitting the gym once every two weeks.

Two things changed this for me.

First, I had an epiphany while out to drinks with my now-husband. I was telling him about this new fitness app I had been pitched for my then-blog, “you know, because of my focus on healthy living.” He responded with, “what focus?” My jaw dropped at first, but after discussing further, I realized the man had a point — and I appreciated it. I had lost the thing that had once given me so much pride.

A few months later, while trying struggling to get back into regularly working out, the second thing happened. I was at a PR industry luncheon (you know, those “industry mingling opportunities” where they awkwardly sit you with people you dont’ know). Somehow, the table topic transitioned to fitness, and a woman at my table divulged that she hit the gym at 5 a.m. every morning before work. “HOW?!” I blurted out, dreary-eyed and exhausted. “Oh, it took me years!” She admitted. And as someone who can get frustrated and quit easily, I appreciated that — it made me realize that I needed to make a real long-term commitment to getting my fitness swagger back.

Today, I’ve got it down. Nearly everyday, I’m up and at the gym before 6 a.m. But it wasn’t easy — and still isn’t. It sucks, and then it’s easier, and then it sucks again. But it’s SO WORTH IT to feel comfortable in your own skin (and in them jeans!) I’ll never be a size 0, or have a perfect, crop-top worthy tummy. But I feel strong and healthy, and that’s enough for me. (Also, I’m not giving up nachos.)

Because I do frequently get asked, here’s my weekly workout routine: 

  • Two Days: Cardio (35 mins on the treadmill or elliptical)
  • Two Days: Cardio/Weights Combo (25 mins on the treadmill or elliptical + 15-20 minutes of biceps, triceps and squats reps)
  • One Day: Wildcard. For the past five months, it’s been Pure Barre (I’m OBSESSED). But for awhile, it was Hot Yoga Sculpt or Spin Class. Something different to mix it up!
  • Bonus Day: When I’m really in it to win it, I’ll add an extra day of one of the above. This is rare, but sometimes needed (hello, bikini season).

If you, too, have mastered the work-week workout, I’d love to hear you routine. And if you’re not there yet, here are my tips:

  1. It won’t happen overnight. As my newfound friend at the PR luncheon said, it takes time. And it’s true. It’s not you – it’s the mornings. It’s hard, and it’s going to be hard for a little while. But the more you do it, the easier it will get – I promise!
  1. Set a schedule. Every week, I take a look at my schedule and figure out when I’m going to get my workout in. Some weeks, I base it on a morning class I want to take – others, a business trip. When I plan a super hard workout, I give myself the next morning off to be sore (and sleep in!) Planning ahead ensures you have no excuses.
  1. Be accountable. Even now, as I write this post, I realize that by sharing my workout routine with all of you that I’m officially held to it. When I wake up tomorrow morning and want to sleep in, this blog post is just one more reason I’ll get out of bed. Sharing your commitment to working out with those around you – whether family, friends or coworkers – will make you feel like you have to stick to it.
  1. Reward yourself. When I work out at least two or more days in a row, I entitle myself to a treat in the morning – whether a Starbucks latte or my favorite-ever Peanut Butter Banana Power Smoothie. But if I didn’t work out that day or if I had the previous day off, I forbid myself from a morning indulgence. Why? Because the second or third day you get up in a row is always the hardest, and promising yourself a short-term reward can be just the extra boost you need to make it out of bed.
  1. Find a buddy. Teaming up with someone who has your same fitness ambitions will only help your commitment to morning fitness. For the past few months, I’ve been going to Pure Barre with a friend. Having that routine each week and feeling like I’m in it with someone else has only motivated me more (and ensured I don’t bail.)

If all else fails, screenshot your fitness inspiration (*cough cough* Katrina from TIU) and make it your phone background. Yes, it’s totally pyscho. But it just might do the trick.

Good luck, fit friends!

This post was inspired by/adapted from a post I first wrote for my agency, Zeno Group.

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