Egyptians aren’t exactly morning people—we’re more the stay up till 2AM and sleep in till noon type of people. Which is why we have a special kind of grudging respect (perhaps tinged with hate?) for those perky early birds who actually want to get up at the break of dawn to break a sweat. Their commitment deserves high praise, and let’s faces it—we should be more like them. They’re crazy-productive, meet every goal, and generally master the universe. If you want to be more like them, just follow these tips.
Most people I spoke with said they started exercising in the morning because they’re genuinely busy—they have careers, families, and social commitments that keep their schedules packed. They found if they didn’t exercise in the morning, it was too easy to get distracted and pulled away later in the day, and exercise was a priority in their lives. Time is limited. Early mornings make days feel longer. You don’t have to worry about trying to get in a workout after a long and stressful day.
Here’s how to actually get up early. The mechanism is the same one that ensures you wake up to take an early morning flight. You just do it! If you have something big to accomplish, and you’re determined to meet your goal, you’ll put aside the awfulness of the early morning wake-up call and find it in yourself to roll out of bed.
Morning exercisers don’t go to bed after midnight. They just don’t. Preparation for their morning workouts actually starts the night before. In fact, ditch your workout if your regular sleep schedule is thrown off track. Sleep deprivation compromises your immune system and hinders your workout. If you’re up late, trade your workout for sleep. In other words, if you’re serious about committing to a morning workout routine, you also need to be serious about getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
Set a Routine
The less you have to ask your brain to function in the morning, the better off you’ll be. That’s why pretty much everyone that does this do as much prep work as you can the night before. Obviously, routines vary based on workouts and goals, but here are somethings you should get into the habit of doing:
- Set out your clothes and anything else you’ll need the night before.
- Set an alarm and refuse to hit “snooze.”
- Get moving immediately—don’t lie in bed or relax on the couch.
- Know what you plan to do for your workout and have it pre-scheduled into your calendar.
- Use tools like coffee, lemon water, and a small meal to help kick-start your morning.
- Have these things ready to go the night before.
Accountability comes in many forms: trainers, workout buddies, or a prepaid class you’ll lose money on if you choose to sleep in. Regardless of where the accountability comes from, you’re more likely to stick to a routine if there’s something or someone out there ready to hold you accountable when you don’t show up.
Ease into It
If you’re not a morning person, and the thought of rolling out of bed earlier than 10 AM makes you physically sick, why would you actually commit to a 7AM wake-up call? Don’t throw yourself into the pit of failed goals and inevitable guilt. Give yourself four to six weeks to transition to an earlier bedtime, with a corresponding earlier wake time. Start setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier every other day. This slow-and-steady approach helps you adjust.
Start with Short Workouts
It’s not just the early mornings that can be a jolt to your system, it’s also the act of working up a sweat first thing in the morning. So first, keep it short. Try a short HIIT workout, 10 minutes on the exercise bike, a set of push-ups, and jumping rope. It doesn’t have to be an hour. This is especially true when you’re new to early morning exercise. Instead of getting up suer early to do an hour-long workout, you can get up just 30 minutes earlier than usual to squeeze in a quick workout. Do that for a couple weeks, then change up your timeline, waking up a little earlier each day while extending your workout slightly more each day.
Make It Happen
When you’re developing a new habit, consistency is key. Typically, you should aim to not miss more than two planned days in a row, but when you’re trying to create this new habit, push for every day. Shorter workouts, but more often. The key is learning how to go to bed and fall asleep on time. If you’re planning a Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout, chances are you’ll be fine Monday, then stay up late Monday night because you can sleep in, then you’ll have a hard time falling asleep Tuesday, which means getting up early Wednesday is more difficult. In other words, you’ll have a really hard time getting into a consistent schedule. Instead, wake up early every morning and plan to do something, even if it’s just a 20-minute yoga practice. The point is to develop the habit.
By: Hana Kotb