So, I gotta get up!: How to become an early morning exerciser


In a recent blog post, I convinced you that working out in the morning is the best time to sweat it out, right? But I left you hangin’, wondering how you can accomplish that pre-7 a.m. goal in the dead of cold, dark, dreary winter (or in any season!). Here are my recommendations for making early morning workouts a reality.

Prep Before Bedtime

To wake up and roll out for your pre-breakfast workout, you’ve got to get ready before your head hits the pillow at night. With more prepped in your final moments of the day, you can accomplish those fitness goals bright and early. I’d push you to put your house in order in the evenings to help you become committed to early-morning exercise.

Select Your Sweats

Just like you might plan a workday outfit ahead of time, put your workout wear out before you fall asleep. That way you’re not riffling through drawers bleary-eyed looking for your favorite pair of Athleta’s before sunrise. And, hey, if you really struggle in the morning, why not wear your workout wear to bed? I’ve had a few boot campers do that to save time in the morning.

Time Your Cuppa Joe

Is coffee the key to starting your day? Instead of fumbling in the kitchen or speeding to Dunkin’, set your coffee maker’s timer before bed. For an extra time savings, put milk in your travel mug and store it in the fridge overnight. Awesome! Now you’re up and out of the house with a cup of coffee in your hand in five minutes! No pacing your kitchen while you wait for your favorite blend to brew.

Stash the Smartphone

To become an early riser, you need sleep. Most adults need AT LEAST seven hours every night. Don’t let your gadgets and TV get in the way of your ultimate goals. Turn off screens 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. Say good-bye to Twitter and Instagram well before you turn out the lights. Record your favorite shows to watch over the weekend. Remember, Netflix will always be there. You need some shut-eye!

Find Your Happy Hour

Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Don’t think that just going to bed earlier will magically make you a morning person. Establishing a routine that puts you to bed at a time that allows you proper rest will help your morning get off to a better start.

Get Out the Door

So you’ve followed all my helpful nighttime tips, but you still need to wake up and get moving. Here are some tips to make sure you commit to that desired morning workout instead of frittering away those valuable morning hours.

Banish Snooze

That snooze button isn’t doing you any favors. Hitting it once may feel like you’ve gained another seven minutes of heaven in your warm bed, but you are actually confusing your body and making it much harder to get up when that “beep, beep, beep” starts again. To avoid the awful, groggy feeling you experience after hitting snooze a few times (which can last up to an hour and a half!), try a new routine. Get up at the same time everyday. Change that jarring beeping to something more mellow and gentle. I’ve used the “Slow Rise” tone on my iPhone, which I could have sworn would not be powerful enough to get me going in the morning, but it’s perfect—gentle, graduated, and uplifting! Side note: I tried waking up to “Good Day” (What could be a better tone setter than children singing about having a good day?) but in the end, this song turned about to be almost as jarring as the beeping alarm!

Find a tone and time that works for you.

Forbid Facebook

Wait to read your old college roommate’s status update or to answer the 4 a.m. email from your West Coast bestie until after you’re soaked in sweat. Social media and email are huge time killers that will make you late and cause you to miss a class. It. Can. Wait.

Say “Om”

Center yourself and transition to the new day with a one-minute meditation. Consider a wake-up mantra to start your day out on the right foot. Or just listen to your breath as you get ready to take in the new day. Namaste.

Get Up and Go!

In the grand scheme of things, you want this morning workout. You know it will make you feel better and put you on track to achieve your fitness goals. Put on those clothes, get your coffee and pre-workout snack (if that’s your style), and go! Don’t unload the dishwasher. Forget the quick load of wash. These are just delay tactics. Get moving and start your day out right!


Once you become a master of the morning, you’ll get to bask in the glow of an early workout and say good-bye to the guilt, frustration, and exasperation of trying to fit that exercise regimen into the later part of the day.

Michelle’s Tip: If you are really committed to good sleep habits and early-morning productivity, you might want to put this Sunrise clock on your Amazon Wish List. I started looking in to this clock after reading an article on Nerd Fitness, but balked at the price (currently $184 on Amazon). So, it sat on my Amazon Wish List until I got my Christmas money from Mama Claus. It has been the best investment EVER!