I cannot be trusted to make good decisions first thing in the morning. As soon as my eyes open, my brain starts looking for reasons to stay exactly where I am – warm and snuggly in bed. I’ve learned never to allow myself to make decisions for the day before I get out of bed. If I did, I’d cancel every plan and spend the rest of my days under the duvet.
I have, however, managed to succeed in creating a morning workout routine. I get 20 minutes of Tabata Yoga in (almost) every morning first thing before my day gets started. I’m a firm believer that how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Getting 20 minutes of yoga under my belt not only benefits my health but mentally prepares me and gives me a win all before breakfast.
Early morning workouts are the stuff of Instagram legend. Follow any fitness/wellness/health guru online and they’ll regularly post photos of their super-early morning workout on the beach or running miles before the sun comes up. In fact, anyone and everyone with a success mindset is posting photos of themselves at 6am, post-workout, downing their protein shake and extolling the virtues of their dawn workout sessions.
So HOW exactly do you get your butt out of bed and onto your workout mat when your brain is trying SOOOO hard to convince you to stay snuggled up and catch a few more ZZZZZs?
Here’s what I’ve found works for me….
I must get to my mat before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
For me, it’s actually easier than it sounds because I’m half asleep for quite some time after getting out of bed. I’m not one of the lucky ones that can bounce out of bed all bright and breezy and ready to attack the day. Usually I’m in a sleepy haze (I’ve actually fallen down the stairs before because I wasn’t quite awake yet). I’ve discovered I can use this not-quite-awake-yet state to my advantage to start my workout before my brain fully registers what is going on and has a chance to talk me out of it.
I’ve set up a system to make getting to my mat as easily as possible and without having to think too much. I need to avoid engaging my brain in any kind of real thought processes, otherwise it might start to realise what I’m up to. I use my phone as my alarm and keep it half way across the room, which forces me out of bed to shut it off and gets me halfway to the door. I keep my workout gear next to my phone so I can pick it up easily without having to think about it, then go straight downstairs and roll out my mat.
Some people suggest sleeping in your gym clothes so that you are ready to go immediately. I’m not a fan of this (I like to be comfy when I sleep) so instead, I work out in my pyjamas! Works just as well for me, and as I work out at home there’s no-one to see how silly I look. I also do not have to contend with getting to the gym or the hassle of packing a bag to shower and get ready for work in the locker room afterward (which sucks). The key for me is making it as easy as possible and minimizing the number of steps between getting out of bed and getting on the mat.
I have also discovered that a 20 minute workout is ideal for me. It’s long enough to feel like I’ve actually had a workout, but not so long that my brain could convince me I don’t have time and will be late for work. My workout also needs to be something I enjoy and can do without pushing myself too hard. After all I’ve just woken up, haven’t eaten yet, and don’t want to hurt myself. 20 minutes of Tabata Yoga gives me the right balance of yoga stretching and short bursts of HIIT to raise my heartrate and energize me for the rest of the day.
(Always check with your physician before beginning any kind of exercise program to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you.)
My final strategy is DO NOT SIT DOWN! As tempting as it might be to sit down for just a moment to check Facebook (or your regular social media distraction of choice) before you start don’t do it! You’ll give your brain too much time to figure out what you’re about to do and try to talk you out of it. Momentum is key – keep moving until you get to your mat and are ready to get that workout done!
Getting yourself to workout first thing is not about glamorous Instagram photo ops (unless you want the world to see you work out in your PJs!) It’s about getting your morning started with a win, doing something healthy for your body, and setting yourself up to own the day. I’ve found that I struggle to motivate myself later in the day to work out and that getting it in first thing means it not only gets done, but that I carry that positivity and feeling of accomplishment into my workday. As DDP would say, I owned it on the mat this morning!
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Thank you! Louise xxx
This article is for educational and informational purposes only. Always consult a qualified physician or mental health professional if you have concerns regarding your own physical or mental health.