Most people make resolutions about fitness in the new year, but many have a hard time keeping them up for more than a week or two. Do you fall into this category? I know I certainly did before BionicGym. And honestly, even with BionicGym, fitness isn’t always an easy thing to stay on top of. When I really take a good look at what is holding me back from reaching my goals it is that I have a hard time getting up in the morning.
There are a lot of reasons why I like to do my fitness in the morning, but the biggest reason is that it just makes the rest of my day go much more smoothly. However, if I can’t wake up in the morning, then my goals never get met. So throughout the past year, I’ve been working extra hard to overcome this challenge and I came up with a list of how to wake up earlier.
The Night Before
If you’re a night owl like me, then you have a much easier time staying up late than waking up early. But often even night owls aren’t very productive at night, so I end up spending a lot of time just relaxing, which is fun but doesn’t help me wake up. If you like staying up late and you find that your time is not very productive, do these easy things that will help you in the morning!
The first thing I do is a brain dump. I write down all the things I need to accomplish the next day. This helps me wake up in the morning for a couple of reasons. If I don’t write all the things that are nagging at me then I constantly think about them over and over as I’m trying to fall asleep. I don’t end up sleeping as deeply or as long as I want to. If I write them down then I am allowing my brain to relax and forget about them because I know I have them all written down and I’ll get to them in the morning.
It also helps me wake up earlier because I know exactly what I need to get accomplished in the day. If I wake up to a day where I don’t have a distinct direction, then I drag my feet getting out of bed and I wander around without a purpose until I realize that I lost a lot of precious time doing nothing.
Go to Bed Earlier
Of course, this is the biggest challenge of all to waking up earlier. Going to bed early is the first step in being successful at waking up earlier, but it is one of the hardest things to do. We have our winding down processes and sometimes these routines are good habits and some of them actually extend our waking period.
For example, if I watch tv before bed, then I will stay up until the wee hours of the morning binge-watching a show that really isn’t all that interesting in the long run. Shows have purposeful cliffhangers but they do very little to improve my well-being or make me happy. So I try to avoid watching tv at night. I do like to wind down though, so here are some things that will help you feel sleepy rather than keep you awake:
- Have a hot beverage
- Read a book
- Warm bath
- Relaxing podcast
It might be tricky the first night to go to bed early, but if you wake up early the day before, then you will be much more likely to want to fall asleep a few hours before your usual bedtime. So though the first day will be painful, it will set you up to be more tired and ready for bed earlier at night.
Pick Out Clothes
Some people swear by wearing workout clothes to bed. They say the only way to work out in the morning is to be already in the clothes you want to wear to work out. But I’m not one of these people. I like to wear tight compression clothing for working out and I like to wear loose clothes to bed. If I try to wear my workout clothes, though they are comfortable to wear during the day, I will toss and turn all night long.
What does work for me, however, is to set out my workout clothes ahead of time on my dresser. Then it’s more mental work for me to pick out my day clothes than it is to get my workout clothes on that are ready and waiting for me. This makes it much more likely that I will wake up ready to do the task that I already thought of before going to bed.
One of my friends has young kids in school and every morning they have what is called a “soft start.” If there are kids that need to have breakfast, then this is the time for them to do it. The rest of the class has a few minutes to settle in, chat with their friends, organize their desks, color, or do an assignment that they had left undone the day before. It’s only about 15 minutes long but it allows the kids to get ready for the day without just jumping in.
I loved this idea! I have a hard time with transitions too, but the hardest transition of all is to get out of bed and ready for my day. So I do a similar thing and call it my soft start. Some people swear that they have to just jump out of bed and rip it off like a band-aid, but I find that I am much more successful when I do my soft start.
What Does It Look Like?
- Go to the bathroom with the lights off
- Pull up a TED talk, spiritual talk, or meditation and listen to it in bed
- Pray/ meditate
- Look over the brain dump from the night before
- Get up and start my exercise!
Now I know a lot of people would say that that would just make them fall back asleep, but if I go to the bathroom first and I move around just a little bit without requiring too much of myself, I’m awake enough to stay up for the talk. This is especially easy if I’m really interested in the subject. So make sure it’s something that you need guidance or help on.
I really look forward to these small moments of quiet in the morning. It feels indulgent to take the time just to focus on myself and my own personal growth so I don’t even mind waking up early for it.
Meal Prep Breakfasts
Another really important part of fitness is diet. If you eat sugary food in the morning, you are setting yourself up for craving sugary food all day long. But it’s so convenient to toast pop tarts or fill up a bowl of cereal. Eggs are quick, but they take more time than cereal and they are messier. But if you were to meal prep ahead of time, then you could have healthy breakfasts all week long.
Prepare some of these ahead of time:
- Overnight oats
- Breakfast casserole
- Breakfast burritos
- Egg sandwiches
- Homemade granola
If you have a plan before you even get out of bed, then you won’t be tempted to reach for the cereal boxes. Also, if you make food that you are excited about and you know you need to use up, then you are more likely to enjoy your morning and be eager to wake up.
I would never consider myself a morning person because I don’t leap out of bed at the crack of dawn full of energy. But I do feel better about myself and I’m more productive when I wake up earlier in the day. Everything seems to go more smoothly and I get my BionicGym workout done. So if you’re wondering how to wake up earlier, these are some really great tips from someone who hates waking up early, but who loves how it feels afterward.