Everyone wants to start exercising during the golden hour. But then again, if it were easy, everyone—including you hardcore night owls—would do it. There are the obvious solutions to slating in a morning workout: re-programming your day to accommodate eight hours of sleep and setting an army of alarms, for example, or creating a high-energy playlist and keeping your gym bag packed and ready to go with minimal fuss while you’re fighting the morning fog. And yes, these are some of the steps you should take.
But Vanessa Martin, the CEO and founder of SIN Workouts, thinks you can do more. A lot more. In fact, she has a surefire plan to ensure that you’ll get your sweat on and be at your desk before your colleagues have even hit the snooze button. All you have to do is follow these five simple steps. Of course, if you’re having trouble getting to the gym at any time of the day, be sure to check out our primer on how fit people motivate themselves to exercise.
Track down a reliable partner.
“When you’re showing up by yourself, it really is you versus you in the morning, playing [a] competition with the snooze button on your alarm,” says Martin. The simple solution: grab a partner. Martin has found that, when her and the other trainers at SIN pair up clients, those clients are nearly twice as likely to show up to classes than their stag counterparts. “If you know that Bob or whoever is going to show up,” says Martin, “if you’re not there, you’re kind of letting somebody else down.”
Plan out the week in advance.
“If you know you have a gala or something on a Monday night, then you know that planning a morning workout for Tuesday is not going to be the most efficient use of your time and energy,” says Martin. So confer with your partner and pick a few mornings that work best for both of you. If, at the beginning, you can only get 2 or 3 days, that’s totally fine—you’ll build it up eventually. “The key is to set your lifestyle up around your workouts rather than your workouts around your lifestyle,” says Martin.
Optimize your fuel.
Some people start with a protein shake. Others may spring for the classic combo of a coffee and a banana. (And some people simply go with nothing at all.) “Once you find what feels good with your system, stick with it,” says Martin. “It will make some of those early morning aches subside,” which will, in turn, make your morning workout a more enjoyable—or at the very least, less intolerable—experience. For ideas on what to eat, try one of the 5 best high-protein snacks on the market.
Pick a workout you actually enjoy.
“Any time something is forced, it becomes a negative, rather than what fitness should be—which is a positive,” says Martin. So make sure you love the workout you’re doing. Whether that’s crushing heavy sets on the bench, cruising through a high-octane spin class, or slowly waking up during a rejuvenating yoga class, there are too many options out there right now for you to be wasting time on a workout you can’t stand. “At the end of the day, movement is movement,” says Martin. “There is beauty behind any effort that you’re putting into in this diverse fitness world.” For example, you certainly couldn’t go wrong with any of the 5 luxury exercise classes everyone needs to try.
And finally: Don’t give up.
“The first thing people say is, ‘I can’t.’ So they lean toward 6:30, 7:45, 9:00 pm workouts, and that’s damaging. You have all day to tell yourself, ‘I don’t want to go. And I’ll be honest, it takes about three months for the transition to happen from, ‘I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired,’ to true enthusiasm,” says Martin. “But once that gap is bridged, it’s a lifestyle changer—one hundred percent.”
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