tips to become a morning exerciser


I’m going to give myself props today. I’m 5 for 5 morning workouts this week! Over the years I’ve grown to love morning workouts but don’t think for a second though that I jump out of bed at 5:30am with a smile on my face, overzealous about the thought of running in the pitch black or being the first person on the elliptical machine at the gym. I really don’t love sleeping in any less than anyone else.

I prefer morning workouts for a few reasons. There are many proven benefits of morning exercise such as increased energy & acuity at work, a higher percentage of calories-from-fat burned, it jumpstarts your metabolism and helps you sleep better. Mostly though, I love morning workouts because it means:

  1. I only shower once that day.
  2. My evenings are free for blog reading & writing, cooking dinner or date nights with the girls or my fiancé.
I also joke that my morning workouts are usually over before I fully wake up enough to realize what I’m doing.

While busting out an arm sandwich workout yesterday morning, I got to thinking about my usual routine – the mornings I actually get out of bed to exercise versus the mornings I blow off a workout for another hour of sleep. I came to the conclusion that it’s all about preparation.

The more preparation you put into your morning workouts, the more likely you will be to get out of bed for them.

If you’re wanting to become more of a morning exerciser, here are some tips that really help me get out of bed for a morning workout:

The day(s) before:

  • Write a workout schedule for the week. Consider work deadlines and having your really busy days be rest days. I do this on Sundays while I’m also plotting the week’s meals.
  • Enlist a morning workout buddy to meet you for at least one early workout per week. Anne was mine all throughout grad school!

The night before:

  • Decide exactly what morning workout you will do.
  1. This dramatically increases the likelihood you’ll follow through. For example, instead of saying, “I will exercise before work tomorrow,” say “I will run 3 miles and do 30 pushups before work tomorrow.” Suddenly, you can determine how much time you’ll need to exercise and have a game plan should you wake up in a fog when your alarm goes off. Check out my workout schedule from this week and you can see how specific I am. Guess what? I got up for every single one because I woke up with a plan!
  2. It also prevents you from dozing back off to sleep while pondering what type of exercise you’ll do.
  3. Workout agendas maximize efficiency by eliminating wasted minutes spent debating which piece of cardio equipment to hop on or which strength moves to do next.

TIP: Pin some fun or challenging workouts onto a “workout” board on Pinterest & you can pull them up on your smartphone at the gym. No printing or thinking required!

  • Lay out your exercise clothes. 
  1. This gesture alone is a sign you’re committed to getting out of bed for exercise in the morning.
  2. It takes the guess work out of dressing for the weather which can be overly complicated if you’re groggy from a good night’s sleep.
  3. It saves time which means you can sleep 5 minutes longer.
  4. Your still-sleeping significant other will appreciate not hearing you fumble around in the dresser drawers and closet.

TIP: Check what the low temperature will be overnight and plan your workout attire accordingly. If your workout is fairly early, chances are the temperature will be at or near the low temperature for the night.

  • Pack your gym bag if you plan on a post-sweat session shower. You’re much less likely to forget critical belongings like deodorant and underwear.

TIP: Write down a list of your essential “getting ready” items such as shampoo & conditioner, towel etc… and keep it close by such as in a medicine cabinet, bedside table drawer. Take a quick peek at it as you’re packing your bag so you don’t forget any of the essentials. Eventually, you’ll have it memorized.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. No explanation needed.

The morning of:

  • Use the power of positive thinking to your advantage. Don’t dwell on how much you’d rather fall back asleep. Instead, focus on what you’re excited to do with your free time after school or work.

Obviously, the best time to work out is a time that you’re most willing to commit to but if want to become a morning exerciser, hopefully these little tricks of mine will help!

Questions of the day: Morning or afternoon? | What helps you early exercisers get out of bed for a workout?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Greetings I am so glad I found your blog, I really found you by error,
    while I was looking on Bing for something else, Anyhow I
    am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and
    a all round interesting blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

  • Definitely a morning person! There are about a million excuses that turn me away from excersiging in the afternoon….shoot, someone can ask me to go with them to get their oil changed and I’d gladly blow off a workout for it! I always tell myself that 45 more minutes of sleep REALLY isn’t going to make that big of a difference in my overall energy level, and the workout actually wakes me up more! It allows me to mentally wake up longer and prepare my thoughts for the day ahead. I am a much better person when I’ve bad a morning workout, but I agree it stinks running alone in the darkness.

  • Definitely a morning person! I’ve sort of forced myself to shift my workouts to the morning since starting grad school, since I get my best studying done in the evenings, and am too sluggish after 4 to do any exercise. I do have a question though- do you eat breakfast (or any sort of food) before your morning workout? I’ve heard both that not eating breakfast before working out burns more fat but also that not eating breakfast just burns muscle. Do you know which is true?

  • No doubt getting up earlier is tougher but I definitely feel a great sense of accomplishment when I get my workout done in the morning. It also sets me up for more energy and a better mood all day long. Great tips! :)

  • Love this post, Elle! I am not really a morning exerciser, but I wish that I were – sometimes. When I do work out in the morning, I feel fresher, only have to shower once, and LOVE having the free time later in the day. However, a morning yoga class is usually only an hour and not as challenging as I’d prefer. What’s a gal to do?

  • Great post! I workout in the morning as well and actually wrote a post similar to this not too long ago! I’m a morning person, but sometimes I have to work to get up at 5am to hit the gym. Definitely worth it though because I feel so much better when I do!

    I like your tip for using Pinterest! I don’t think I’ve pinned any workouts but it’s a great idea to keep things fresh!

  • I just can not get myself out of bed in the morning, and I’m realizing that I’m OK with that. I have a flexible-ish work schedule, so I go in early enough to be done by 3:30. I can still get in a workout afterwards and be done before lots of people are done with work for the day. I also find that early morning workouts leave me really hungry and tired all day, afternoons work for me.

    Although on the weekends, I workout in the morning – but it’s 9 or 10 am, not 6!

  • This is a great post! I am also a morning exerciser, dating back to my years in high school with 6am swim practice 3x/week. All of your tips are the same ones I use, and they really work :) Props to you on 5 for 5!