Becoming a morning person
A couple of years ago, if you’d told me I would be a regular 5am workout person, I would have laughed in your face. To be honest, I’ve always fallen somewhere in the middle – while I was never the teenager who slept until noon, I also wasn’t overly excited by a 4am alarm setting.
Somehow, I always managed to end up in jobs or sports which required early start times. Figure skaters often get obscene ice times (prime time is reserved for hockey, apparently), which saw us on the ice at 6am numerous times a week. I had a few jobs at golf courses which came with 6am shifts, and even the spa I worked at within a hotel had me starting at 6 (complete with a 45 minute drive to get there). I guess I was destined for early mornings.
When I started teaching fitness classes, I reluctantly took over a 6am time slot, but quickly grew to love it. The people are terrific – and it’s always the same crowd so you actually get to know them, which is a huge bonus. They’re a loyal group and are usually livelier than some evening classes I’ve taught! Over time, waking up just got easier and it’s a great feeling to be so productive that early in the morning.
This past year saw us shifting our whole training plan to the morning in order to be more productive around the house with renovation work. However, in order to get our full workout in, get ready, and be at work on time, we needed to be at the gym by 5am. It definitely took some adjustment, and the occasional grumpy workout, but now that I’m adjusted to it, it’s one of my favourite times to train.
The most common excuse people use for their lack of activity is that they don’t have time. Obviously, most people are sleeping between the hours of 4 and 7 am, but why not use it productively? I know it’s hard to get used to, and I know it’s challenging to do this with children in the house, but if something is important you make it happen. Here are some tips which helped me:
- Pack everything the night before. I make sure to have everything packed and ready to go before I head to bed –all my meals for the day, my work clothes and makeup, pre and post-workout shakes, and sometimes even my gym clothes are set aside. This helps me make sure I don’t forget anything for the day, and gives me a little extra time to sleep.
- Set two (or more) alarms. I always have a backup alarm set to make sure I’m really up, usually with a motivating or fun note attached to it. My motivation:
- Fuel your workout. A lot of people say they have a hard time eating so early in the morning (I don’t understand this, for the record). If this is the case, prepare a pre-workout shake to give your body what it needs to be productive. My shake pre-workout shake always has glutamine, BCAAs, and a small amount of pre-workout for energy. If I’m training in the morning, I add half a scoop of protein powder to it, as I haven’t eaten anything yet – this is just what works for me, though.
- Judge your time by working backwards. If you know you need to be at work at 9, and it takes 30 minutes to drive there, you need to be ready to leave the gym by 8:30. If it takes you 30 minutes to get ready, you need to be done training by around 8, telling you to get to the gym just before 7 to get a solid hour session in. So, get out of bed just after 6 to have enough time to get up, ready, fueled, and out the door. You don’t need to spend a ton of time at the gym – an hour is plenty to get a good workout in.
Trust me when I say that your body WILL adapt to the morning routine if you stick with it for two weeks or so. This adaptation will be slower if you constantly change your schedule – it’ll be harder to get up early if you only do it once or twice a week. Just like everything else in fitness, consistency is key here. This will get your body into the proper cycle, and before you know it, you’ll be a morning person!