Let’s face it. For most of us out there, getting up at the wee hours of the morning to workout may seem like an impossible feat to accomplish. At least that’s how I feel!
Now of course there are those select few who can run on only a couple hours of sleep and still manage to grind out a morning workout before their job, but even so, you can only do that for so long before your body starts to shut down. You need SLEEP!
But to truly get ready for a morning workout, you should already be thinking about it the day before. In fact, this is a great point to start this article on…
1. Prepare yourself mentally the day before your morning workout
If you’ve never tried this before, you’re definitely missing out! All it takes is spending a small amount of time the day before, or even the night before (while your in bed) to consciously remind yourself that YOU WILL wake up early to workout and go through the exercises in your head that you plan to do for that individual session.
Walk through the workout in your mind and carry with it feelings of enthusiasm and vigor. These are very important factors to consider and should not be overlooked.
2. Eat a macronutrient smart meal the night before
Try making your last meal of the day one that is rich in complex carbs and proteins. As with most people, some just skip dinner all together or eat and then go to bed 4-5 hours later. I’m not saying that you will want to go to bed immediately after you eat, but at the same time you don’t want to wait too long because if you’re going to wake up super early, odds are you won’t have enough time to digest a big carbohydrate dense breakfast the morning of.
So, if you wait too long to go to bed after you ate you’ll probably be starving in the morning. But don’t worry, we’ll go over what to eat the morning-of a little later on.
3. Get enough sleep! Don’t unintentionally sleep deprive yourself!
Ok, so you’re almost there. It’s almost bedtime when you notice that there is a late night marathon of your favorite show starting. Your eyes grow larger and your heart starts to beat faster. Then, you hesitantly glance at the clock to see what your fate will be… It’s already 10pm and you have to be up at 5!
You’re already behind on your recommended 8 hours of sleep. So, what do you do? DVR it of course. But let’s pretend that you don’t have that. If this is the case then you must simply, or perhaps not so simply decide which one means more to you. Which action would make you more satisfied overall in the big scheme of things. Hopefully you see where I’m going with this.
4. Put your alarm across the room. Forcing you to literally get out of bed when it goes off
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we have all been late or even completely missed an event or work shift at some point and time due to pressing the snooze a couple times and then just ending up sleeping through it.
Even if you’ve never experienced this before, multiple snooze pressing just confirms that you’ll most likely end up lethargically fumbling out of bed unenthusiastic about anything in front of you, especially an intense morning workout.
Mentally preparing the night before and getting a good night sleep should have you not necessarily jumping out of bed in joy as soon as the alarm goes off on the other side of the room, but at least you should have that “Ready to take on the day” attitude.
5. Out of bed? Now jump in the shower!
This may be no surprise to most of you, but I can’t skip it due to the mere lucidity of it. Taking a shower in the morning is a fantastic way to wake up your body and have you feeling fresh and ready to head out of the house! It doesn’t have to be a cold shower like some people may recommend.
The goal here isn’t to torture yourself awake. We just want to get the body moving and feeling good, which is how you should feel after a nice shower anyways.
6. Now, what to eat? Hmm…
Well, as I mentioned before, if you timed your meal correctly the night before, you shouldn’t be starving. However, of course you may still be a little hungry. So, depending on when you plan on eating and when you plan on working out, you will most likely want to eat a relatively small, lean meal.
Make it predominantly carbs with some protein of course. Greek yogurt is a good choice for a quick pre-workout early morning breakfast. As you can imagine, you don’t want something that’ll be too heavy on your stomach.
7. Pre-workout anyone?
Now, I’m not big on supplements, but if you take them, make sure you don’t forget to! When I used to take them, I can’t tell you how many times I pulled up to the gym, and then it would just hit me that I forgot to take my pre-workout, ugh. It definitely deflates you somewhat mentally at least.
So, make sure that you don’t allow this to happen! Also, there is nothing wrong with just drinking a cup or two of coffee as your pre-workout. Caffeine is caffeine, right?
8. To ensure things go smoothly, make a checklist before you head out
In the morning, especially if you happen to be short on time and rushing, you tend to forget things much more easily than if you weren’t so time constrained, and well, groggy. So, having a written down checklist can be extremely beneficial to you, especially if you’re a forgetful person. Your checklist can be as simple as this:
- Music (iPod, mp3, etc.)
- Post-workout shake
- Workout notebook
9. Get yourself pumped up on your drive to the gym
Do yourself a favor and don’t make the mistake of driving to the gym in silence because you are still a little sleepy. This is a perfect opportunity for you to liven up your psyche and get you pumped up for the gym!
Some people like to turn the music up as soon as they get out of bed. This is also a great option. Nevertheless, go ahead and turn up your favorite gym music to get you morning workout ready so you can perform at your highest level!
10. What more is there to say? Get in there and DO YOU!
All that’s left now is for you to get in your zone and perform the best that you can! You’ve done virtually all that you can do to mentally and physically prepare yourself for a successful morning gym session.
So, on a final note, remember why you are there in the first place. Remember why you even exercised such discipline to get you to where you are now.
Envisioning the desired end product that you aspire to attain is fitness motivation 101. Keep in mind of your purpose and have an amazing workout. You’ve made it this far!