Should we be changing our sunset yoga sessions for sunrise salutations instead? Studies have proven that there are many benefits that come along with an early morning sweat session. Now, we’re not telling you to give up your favorite afternoon workout—after all, there is a beauty in finding a schedule that works for you. However, if you’re struggling to incorporate a morning workout into your routine, we may have the tips for you.
From creating accessible workouts (like finding one of the many classes on Aaptiv’s fitness app), to prepping the night before, we spoke with our trusted panel of coaches, nutritionists, and mental health counselors on the many ways to change physical and mental burdens to turn yourself into a morning workout person.
Your Morning Workout Starts the Night Before
Make sure your evening’s eats (and drinks) are fueling your body and brain properly before a morning workout. Eat a well-balanced dinner of lean protein, whole carbs, veggies, and healthy fats. Nutritionist Melissa Eboli suggests consuming a mixture of good carbs that can easily be converted to glucose, and protein, which will help with muscle building (due to the amino acids present in the protein). Looking for a creative outlet to consume healthy pre-workout meals the night before? Eboli shares her favorite dessert to indulge in.. “Create a protein energy ball consisting of oats, banana, vegan protein powder, coconut oil, honey, and hemp seeds—as all of these ingredients give you proper pre-workout eve nutrition.” Along with eating properly the night before, it may also be beneficial to avoid over-consuming alcohol the night before a workout. A study from the National Institute of Health measured how dehydration and alcohol consuming affected workouts and fluid retention.
Catch Some Early Zzz’s
If hitting the hay and settling in bed before midnight doesn’t sound like you, you may have to adjust your schedule. Shifting your sleeping routine can make being a morning workout person easier! Aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night, and on the days you want to wake up early, try powering down early. Some helpful tips to going to bed earlier include: turning down devices at least an hour before bed, reading, meditating, or writing a list of what made you grateful today, and what you’re looking forward to accomplishing tomorrow.
Aaptiv members also recommend altering your routine gradually: try fifteen minutes earlier to bed, fifteen minutes earlier to rise. These little changes can prevent major system shock.
You Snooze, You Lose
Getting up early means actually getting up early. Unfortunately that means no ‘five more minutes’ on the alarm. Find an alarm that wakes you up gradually, or one that requires you to physically get out of bed to shut it off. Try Alarmy, which asks you to take a photo to disable the alarm. Try making the photo one of your running shoes—instant motivation or guilt trip? We’ll let you decide.
If you can, let natural light be your guide. Open the blinds to give your body a natural kick in the morning.
Change The Mindset
To really become a morning workout person, get yourself excited about the idea of a morning workout. We know…easier said than done! We spoke with Licensed Health Counselor Rachel Relkin, LMHC, M.S.Ed on ways to shift your thinking to create a positive attribution to morning fitness. Try scheduling your workouts so that your early morning sessions are the ones you look forward to most. “As the day progresses, obligations can start to pile up—things like family or work can impact our decisions and daily schedule (so it may be easier or expected to skip your workout). By starting your day with a workout, it’s comforting to know that (no matter what happens throughout the day) you did something for yourself that day.
For an extra motivational hit, find an Aaptiv buddy to be your partner in crime. Knowing you’ve got a friend waiting to meet you on the mat for a powerful core class and post-workout, pre-meeting smoothie will put some much-needed spring in your step.
Create or Find Accessible Workouts
If the idea of getting up early and heading to the gym sounds like too much, try implementing morning workouts from the comfort of your own home. As it can be challenging to find motivation at home, try seeking outside assistance (like the various workouts from coaches on the Aaptiv fitness app). This way, you can focus purely on the workout instead of the logistics of getting to a gym or studio.