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SALT LAKE CITY — The sun is just peeking through the curtains of your window. You hear the familiar sounds of the morning as the world begins to stir along the Wasatch Front. You can see from bed that a few clouds hang in the sky, and you think to yourself, “I should really go for a run.” Before you know it, your alarm is blaring and it’s 30 minutes later. You jump out of bed, throw on some clothes, stuff something in your mouth and hurry out the door to try and beat the I-15 traffic and make it to work on time.
It can be really hard waking up in the morning and convincing yourself to get going. The most difficult part of starting an early morning workout routine is throwing off your covers and actually getting out of bed in the first place.
There are more benefits to early morning workouts than a simple sense of accomplishment. Studies show that when you work out, your body releases endorphins that give you a natural high. You might know this as “runner’s high.” Consistently working out in the morning and seeing the results in your mood and in your body will help drive further commitment. Once you’re on a roll, it’s hard to stop.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help get you going:
1. Set more than one alarm
Contrary to what you might tell yourself, the snooze button is not your friend. It is hard to break certain habits though. You can set multiple alarms to cover for yourself just in case you instinctively mash that snooze button and sleep through the first, second or third wake-up calls.
It’s not that you don’t trust yourself — it’s that you want to give yourself every opportunity to succeed. Here’s to hoping that you never need anything more than the first one.
2. Prepare the night before
The easier you make it for yourself the night before, the more likely you are to get up, stop making excuses and head out. Have your workout gear, water bottle, keys and everything you need laid out right next to you so you can see it right as you wake up. That way you can jump out of bed, throw on your outfit and get to your workout with minimal hassle.
3. Schedule a class
Try signing up for a group workout. If you make a commitment, it will be harder for you to back out at the last minute. Not only that, but you’ll see the same people every morning for your workout. You’ll make friends and have another reason to come to fitness class besides simply staying in shape.
There are so many different workouts to choose from nowadays, you can easily find one that you enjoy. Who knows? You might even find a new favorite hobby and make a lifelong friend.
4. Get to sleep early
If it seems a bit obvious, that’s because it should be. If you want to start your day right with an early morning workout, then you should make sure that your body and mind are getting a good night’s rest. The benefits of good sleep and fitness have been well documented. Save that extra episode on Netflix for tomorrow, and you’ll have more energy when it’s time to wake up.
5. Be realistic
Don’t be overly ambitious right out of the gate. Start small at first. Maybe it’s a simple 15-minute run around the park your first morning, or perhaps you do a small workout in your living room before heading to work.
Don’t be overly critical of yourself either. It’s only human to miss a day here and there. The important thing is that you’re trending in the right direction. You are pushing for long-term habits and results that will drive a positive change in your behavior — and last a lot longer than 20 more minutes of sleep.
6. Reward yourself
You are waking up first thing in the morning and deciding to work out. You are amazing. Be sure to reward yourself for sticking with your goals. Buy some fancy new workout gear. Treat yourself to a nice dinner. This should be an exciting time for you. Make sure that you recognize and reward yourself accordingly.
Start your morning routine, however sloppy it is, and focus on getting better every day. Try these tips out for yourself and see which ones work best. Stay focused on the long term and celebrate the small victories. Before you know it, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without your morning workout.
Alice is a health and wellness blogger at www.honestlyfitness.com. In addition to wellness, she enjoys writing about business, social media, tech and HR.