It’s cold outside. Your blankets are extra soft. Your pet is extra cuddly. You stayed up extra late to catch up on your DVR. You are having an amazing dream that you can eat whatever you want and never gain weight. [Insert cheesy tropical ringtone.] All of the happiness and comfort you were experiencing just a moment ago is gone as you consider getting out of bed to exercise.
If you are like me, this scenario is all too familiar. My Endocrinologist prescribed me 20 minutes of exercise each day to truly fight Insulin Resistance and PCOS, but none of that seems to matter in the epic battle between morning workouts and my snooze button. After a few minutes of negotiating with myself, I determine that I will likely be late if I workout and that work has been extra challenging this week and I deserve the extra sleep. The snooze button is activated and I am reunited with the comforts of bed.
While lunchtime workouts are an option for some, my curly hair tells me that unless I want to look like I stepped out of a 1980s music video that was running short on hair product, lunchtime workouts are not an option for me. Every time I think I can squeeze in a lunch workout, I am reminded of the following: 1.) If even a drop of sweat comes in contact with my hair, major frizz is activated leaving me looking unprofessional and like I traveled to 2015 from 1985. Tying my 1980s quaff back only seems to make both of these statements even more true. 2.) My boss surely would not appreciate me taking a 2 hour lunch. All these things considered, lunch workouts are out for me.
Evening workouts have been something else I have considered, but since my work hours can be late and I have to brave a 45-60 minute commute in LA traffic, consideration has dwindled. Once I get home, working out is the last thing I want to do especially if PJs have been activated.
With morning and evening workouts ruled out, I am left with my battle of morning workouts vs. snoozing. I will admit that putting in writing that I cannot drag myself out of bed 20 minutes earlier to get healthier sounds ridiculous, but I assure you…THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. Research suggests the early morning hours are the best time to get your sweat on—fueling your metabolism, energy level, and mood all day long. So balancing research with doctor’s orders really seem to be great weapons to battle that snooze button.
My hope is that blogging about exercise will hold me more accountable. Tomorrow shall be the day that morning workouts triumph over the snooze button! It is documented now on the Internet, so it must be true.
Knowing the challenges I have waking up in the morning, here are some tips that I will hope help me (and maybe even some of you) wake up tomorrow morning. May the force be with us all:
1. Prepare your gear the night before. This has two benefits – the obvious one being that you’ll free up another ten minutes of sleep the next morning. As you can tell by this article, I am all about that sleep, so I will take any extra ZZZs I can get. The less obvious benefit is that the feeling of preparedness should make you fall asleep a little better. You won’t have the, “I still have to get my stuff ready tomorrow” thought gnawing at the back of your brain as you lay in bed.
2. Stash Mints in Your Nightstand. Brett Hoebel, founder of Hoebel Fitness and trainer on NBC’s Biggest Loser season 11, suggests grabbing a mint the second your alarm goes off. The sugar in the mint will excite and your brain, and the mint itself will liven up your tongue’s taste buds and nerve endings, says Hoebel. “You can completely fool your body into thinking food is coming,” he says. The gist: You’ll get rid of morning breath and wake up your mind and body for a sweat session.
3. Get a blast of sunlight. When your eye senses light, it sets off a chain reaction in your brain that leaves you feeling alert and energized, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Soak up rays by standing near an open window, or position your bed so it faces east and natural light will wake you.
4. Hydrate. Did you know that you can lose up to a litre of water while you sleep? True story. Start every morning off with a big glass of water and return your body to hydrated-status.
5. Have a Pre-Sleep Ritual. Getting up is exponentially easier when you have had a good night’s rest. Insure a solid 7-8 hours by having a pre-sleep ritual. Caffeine has a pretty big impact on me, so I try not to drink any caffeine after 3pm to help me get a better night’s sleep.
6. Have a set of cues for when you wake up. Habit is an extremely powerful thing. Use it to your advantage by creating a set of cues that will make getting up a habit instead of having to rely on willpower. Here is an example–
Turn off alarm.
Go to the bathroom.
Drink a full glass of water.
Watch the news for 5 minutes.
7. Coffee!!! You know that drinking coffee stimulates your brain, but one study found that just the scent of java can ease stress caused by sleep deprivation, potentially coaxing you into workout mode. If your coffee pot has a timer, set it to brew a few minutes before your alarm clock for an amazing smelling wake-up call.
8. Tell the world about your plans. Well, here’s to hoping this one works. But seriously, tell your family, friends, Facebook, Twitter, co-workers…anyone who will listen! By spreading the word you are starting a morning exercise, it holds you much more accountable. So go post on social. And maybe tag #MyCarbBreakup. Because that would be cool.
Here are some great articles I referenced on helping you wake up for a workout:
Do you have any tips on what helps you wake up in the morning? Share your advice in the comments!