As the summer months approach and our mornings start getting lighter, it’s the perfect time to switch up your daily routine and create an amazing new workout habit. Join the Rise and Shine Club...
Last summer I couldn’t stand coming home and having to do a workout when the sun was shining. I just wanted to lay in the park or read in my garden for those glorious evening hours. It’s funny how our minds can justify anything if we want to do it (or don’t want to do it) bad enough. As the summer drew on, I found myself making excuses not to workout. From: “it will be cloudy tomorrow, I’ll work out then” to “I need live my life and make the most of the summer! What’s one missed workout?” the problem was it wasn’t just ‘one missed workout’. As the summer weeks added up, my fitness routine was beginning to fly out the window.
In the back of my mind, and as my summer dresses started to feel a little tighter, I realised I needed to stop making the excuses and get on with it or change something.
As the mornings were light and warm, I decided, that perhaps I could fit my daily workout into my schedule before work instead of after, and in return have every single evening free to spend how I wanted.
I set my alarm for 6.20am, and woke up 40 minutes earlier to do my workout.
Old habits (like sleeping in) can be difficult to break, but it can be done. Equally, new habits, such as waking up early to fit in a morning workout or run can take time to cultivate, but it can be achieved. It takes roughly 30 daysto cultivate a new habit (but can take more or less depending on how big of a change to your routine it is). It took me about 45 days to make my early morning workout a habit – a natural thing I do as part of my daily routine, that I don’t have to give too much mental attention to.
At first, I was excited at the novelty of wakeup early. I revelled in the feeling of being up before the world began to stir. After a few days, that novelty began to wear off. As the days went on, I found it more difficult to wake up - my circadian clock (the physical and mental rhythm our bodies are tuned to, linked to light - for example sunrise and sunset) was set- I was used to going to bed and waking up at certain times and I had to gradually change that. But I persevered, and the benefits I felt and sense of wellbeing and achievement that stayed with me all day motivated me to keep going.
I work harder because I am in a better state of mind in the morning – I haven’t had all day for obstacles to get in my way (like having to stay at work late), and I haven’t had the chance to make excuses for not doing it.
I procrastinate less and just get on with it. I have to leave for work at 8 am, so I have to just get it done. There's no time for browsing instagram and wasting time. Because I’m not dragging my feet, I give less mental headspace to my workouts and they have stopped feeling like such a chore.
I definitely have more energy for my workout than I do in the evening after my commute and a full day of work.
I spend all day feeling great (and a little smug) that I’ve already worked hard and got my exercise for the day in the bag – gone are the days of dreading my workout, and a new sense of achievement has taken it's place.
I have more energy for the rest of the day. Yep – my 3pm desk-slump doesn’t hit me as hard since I’ve switched to morning workouts. Studies* show that regular exercise reduces fatigue, so it figures that morning exercise rejuvenates me for the day ahead rather than tiring me out.
I’ve got my evening’s back. Although I started in the summer to make the most of the long evenings, the real revelation was actually claiming back my cold winter nights. Waking up in the dark winter mornings were worth every extra minute of those short, cold, guilt free evenings under a blanket.
I’ve lost inches and toned up. The only thing that can get in the way of my morning workouts now are my own excuses. I sometimes miss my alarm but even if I don’t get to my morning session – I have no excuse not to workout in the evening. So I’m working out more often and more consistently. I rarely miss a session on my schedule and I’m far more dedicated to my health goals, from stretching to clean eating when I’m on track with my fitness regime.
I enjoy exercise. Really! Where I don't have the time to dread it anymore and I associate my new feelings of achievement with that post-exercise buzz, it's actually changed my mindset towards exercise.
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Next: 15 reasons (backed by science) why you should workout in the mornings