Early Workouts: What I Learned

About a year-and-a-half ago I became employed at a local gym and, for awhile, that was motivation enough to consistently workout. But, working all day (sometimes at both jobs) and then holding myself to working out afterwards got old really fast. I find that, when life gets busy or stressful, my drive to keep a consistent workout routine waivers. Heck, even a new relationship or the weather changing to colder temperatures can be enough to make me temporarily forget my fitness goals!

Before this school year, I never really considered waking up before work to workout as an option for me. Sure, I tried to force myself to wake up early to workout here-and-there. But,  I have a teaching career with a 45 minute commute. Five AM workouts seemed like a lofty goal. That is, until I noticed quite a few people at my school were regularly waking up early to get their exercise in for the day.

When I first got my smartwatch I shared my Activity report with some of my friends. I didn’t realize this meant I would also be receiving information about the start/end times of their workouts. I don’t mind them seeing when I workout, and I don’t mind seeing when they workout. It was just a surprise! Each day I would put my watch on, and it would vibrate to tell me who all had already completed a workout that morning. I was shocked to see how many teachers were regularly working out before work. My coworkers don’t know it yet, but this is what gave me that kick in the butt to try to make morning workouts stick.

How it Went: 

Day 1 was one of those mornings where I felt like my alarm went off as soon as my head hit the pillow. I remember shutting off my 5 AM alarm, and telling myself I would just workout in the evening after work. Then, I reminded myself of my goal to workout early ( and to write this blog post), so I hopped out of bed at 5:10 and made it to the gym. It was a weak workout, but I got it done. I slept in on Day 2. I set myself up for failure by not setting out my workout clothes the night before, which allowed me to talk myself out of going when that alarm went off. I actually made it on Day 3, and I had a better workout than the Day 1 workout. Promising myself coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts got me out of bed pretty quickly. I failed at heading to the gym on Day 4 and Day 5, which means I only made it twice this week to the gym. There were reasons that, at the time, seemed like good reasons to not go to the gym. In reality, they were excuses. After a week of setting my alarm to 5 AM and sometimes working out and sometimes sleeping in, this is what I learned: 

  • Prepare: Set yourself up for success by preparing the night before. Set out everything you need. Everything. Put your shirt, pants, socks, shoes, and underwear all somewhere easy to locate in the morning. It would be even better if you could stand to sleep in your workout clothes. This way, you could just roll out of bed. Fill up your water bottle and put it in the car the night before. Locate your headphones or earbuds and put them somewhere easy to find. And, if you like me and heavily rely on music to workout, make sure your devices are charged!
  • Get Sleep: Turn the TV off. Mute your phone. Do whatever you can to go to bed early enough for a good night’s sleep. Do you need a full 6-8 hours of sleep to function the next day? I do. If you only get a few hours of sleep you still have to wake up and go to work. But, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll probably talk yourself out of going to the gym.
  • Shit Happens: There are going to be extra long days at work. Exhausting errands will pop up every so often. Shit happens. But, you can’t let the thought of those daunting tasks keep you from your goals. If you know a long day of work is ahead of you, maybe give yourself an extra 1-2 hours of sleep to make you feel better about waking up early. And, don’t believe yourself in the morning when you wake up and think: Today is going to be so long. If I workout now I won’t make it until the end of the day. That’s an excuse. You know it, and I knew it when I fed myself those exact line this week. Promise yourself coffee, and go lift some weights.
  • Forgive Yourself: I only made it to the gym two times this week. I didn’t meet my goal of working out every morning. That’s a bummer to admit to myself and to anyone reading this post. But, the point of me starting this blog is to try new things and fearlessly report on my experience. My plan is to forgive myself for this week and to try harder next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

19 thoughts on “Early Workouts: What I Learned

Add yours

  1. 💪💪 great things to point out! I struggle with the motivation. For the exact reasons you pointed out haha.. the ONLY time I have to workout is in the mornings. I feel once I start, it’ll be a breeze! But being a night owl doesn’t help either 😳😳

  2. Thanks for your honesty! It’s refreshing to read about someone’s journey who also, for lack of a better word, “failed” to meet a goal. It’s relatable and helps the rest of us feel more ok about being human. And the best part is that you still experienced growth and gained insight that will enlighten you personally and help you be even more prepared to reach goals next time!
    Love you!

  3. Awesome Mandy!! Well said!

    I am getting back into working out in the mornings now that I am in KC! Seems logical with the 5pm traffic going home!

  4. At 5 am I’m usually already at work lol. I’d have to be getting up at 2:30am instead of 3:30 to do any before work lifting. I have to do my workout after I get home. I’m not a gym bunny, once I leave work I’m done for the day.Not to mention my uncoordinated attempts to use the equipment would probably result in higher insurance premiums for both the gym and myself.
    I do get the struggle of talking yourself out of a workout, “maybe tomorrow” tends to turn into “maybe next week”. I try to at least do 20 min on the bike or a short set of exercises on the tough days, so I dont fall too far out of the habit. But some days walking from my car into the house and doing the single squat necessary to center my butt on the couch takes all the energy I have left. We all need days off to rest, and that’s okay too. ❤

    1. Two-three AM would be pretty extreme. I only became interested in morning workouts when I saw coworkers successfully going every morning. It’s doable. At this point in the school year, it is probably the only time I’ll be able to consistently work out. Whatever you’re doing is working! You look great and always have!

  5. Thanks for the post Mandy, o’dark thirty workouts are very difficult to integrate into a habit, takes a hell of a lot of discipline. Psychologist say you have to do something 21 times to make it a habit, same goes for un-doing a habit you want to break, 21 times. After that plateau, things get easier and then your body adjusts its’ rhythm. But there are several factors involved in getting up for early work-outs as you have pointed out. I gotta say, living in an environment where you have snowy, cold winters, makes it really difficult to get out of a warm and toasty bed to get on an icy road and head to the gym for a work-out. I think at times, that is above and beyond the call of duty. Two suggestions for those kinds of days and when you talk yourself out of going and want to sleep in. First of all, doing anything is always better than doing nothing. On those hard mornings, get your coffee and do a 10 to 15 minute yoga routine, they are really great and they do get you going and you feel like you worked out cuz you did! There are some on YouTube. The other thing to consider doing is start buying some equipment to keep around the house, start building a small home gym. On those brutal cold mornings, you can just get up and work out at home. I like going to gyms to see other people working out, it is a motivator for me, so home gyms are great but sometimes you need the energy of the other folks too! Also diet play a critical role in this life style. Below is the diet of pro football player, Russell Wilson. Moist of us could never do this type of diet but it is possible to gain some insight on how to make yourself more energetic in the morning! Peace ya’ll!


    1. You’re right, there are a lot of factors that interfere with waking up super early in Missouri to workout! That cold definitely takes a toll on me.

      I’ll check out the link you sent!

  6. Love this Mandy! I constantly allow myself to believe my excuses or never even have an excuse. I simply just say I’m not going because I don’t want to. I use work and school a lot as an excuse. However, I’m a night bird. If I could sleep during the day and work out at 9 pm, my life would be full of workouts. I do notice as I age how greatly important it is to workout even if for 30 mins, it’s the least I can do for my body putting up with all the abuse. Hope to see more from you love!

  7. I remember i used to never think i could work out early AM. But once i started it really made my days a lot better. Get it done, feel good all day… win/win

      1. Lol.. I agree, the cold is a serious obstacle.. But you know what? 5 minutes into working out you have already forgotten about it. You got this 🙂

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: