I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it too. “Oh, maybe she can work out in the morning, but I could never do that. I’m a night person.” Well, my friends, I am here to tell you it is possible.
Last year I was so frustrated with fitting in my workouts. After being on my feet all day, I would absolutely DREAD putting on my running shoes and heading to the gym after my kids were in bed. There were constant conflict with school activities, events with friends, working late, etc. I had been debating the idea of working out in the mornings before work for several years, but always nixed the idea because I love those late night hours so much, and I just cannot seem to get myself to bed before midnight.
Finally I turned to my trusty decision-making logic of comparing myself to other people. Whenever I come to something I don’t think I can do, I ask myself if other people do it, and if so, how. So I asked myself, “Do other Night People work out in the mornings?” Of course the answer is yes. “So how do they do it?” And the answer, sadly, was just sheer willpower.
I started my morning workouts one year ago. My best workout buddy (my aunt) and I decided to work out 4 mornings a week, two days of cardio, and two days of strength training. I knew I would HATE getting up in the morning. I knew I would be exhausted all day. I knew it would be torture to drag myself out into the freezing, winter mornings when I could be sleeping. And did that happen? Of course – sometimes. But to my amazement, I also came to love my morning workouts. Me. The person who absolutely hates starting my day before 8am, and would prefer to get up at 10am if I had my way. If I could do morning workouts, you can do morning workouts.
So here are my top 5 reasons why I am now a complete convert to morning workouts. Next week I’ll share some of my best tips for maintaining the habit.
1. There are no conflicts.
In the hour before you normally wake up, you do not have any other obligations. Whereas workouts during the day or evening can be derailed by any number of legitimate distractions, you most likely haven’t scheduled anything while you’re supposed to be sleeping. If you eliminate “I’m tired” as an excuse, there really aren’t too many others at that hour.
2. Better sleep.
I have always had a hard time putting myself to bed at night. I cherish the night hours, and even though I’m exhausted, I have a hard time actually going to bed before midnight. When I get up at 6am and exercise, however, I really have no choice. My eyes are closing by 10:30 at the latest, whether I want them to or not, and I end up getting a full, restful night’s sleep every night.
3. More energy during the day.
Really. While sleeping from midnight to 7:30 and regularly drinking caffeinated soda, I was always exhausted. For some reason, just shifting my sleep to 10:30-6 (and mostly drinking water), has helped me to feel so much more awake and energetic during the day.
4. It’s precious alone time.
While I do cherish my family, from time to time I get overwhelmed and, honestly, annoyed by having another body next to me from sunup to sundown. Someone wants to follow me into the bathroom. Someone wants to look over my shoulder when I’m on the computer. One brave soul even wants to follow me upstairs at night and sleep next to me! But you know when NO ONE wants to touch me or talk to me? 6am, baby. Just me, in a quiet house. Me, getting ready in silence. Me, alone with my thoughts and able to actually complete them. It’s sacred.
5. It’s easier to make healthy choices throughout the day.
When I work out in the mornings, it’s easier for me to keep my fitness goals in mind throughout the day. I’ve already taken the first step and worked out, and it makes me want to stick with my goals the rest of the day. This actually only works sometimes. But every little bit helps. :)
I loved this quote from Michelle Obama in an article I read:
“I just started thinking, if I had to get up to go to work, I’d get up and go to work,”Michelle said in an interview for O Magazine in 2009. “If I had to get up to take care of my kids, I’d get up to do that. But when it comes to yourself, then it’s suddenly, ‘Oh, I can’t get up at 4:30.’ So I had to change that. If I don’t exercise, I won’t feel good. I’ll get depressed.”
So take it from Michelle, and take it from me. YOU CAN DO IT. Seriously. If I can, then you can. Give mornings a try.