“Rise and Grind.”

I consider myself a morning person. I enjoy waking up early. On the weekdays, it gives me a chance to have some quiet time before everyone else gets into the office and on the weekends it makes me feel like my day is off to a productive start. Waking up early to work out – now that’s a different story.

As much as I love working out, I don’t love super early morning workouts. When I talk about how I enjoy getting up early, let me clarify – I enjoy having coffee and breakfast, watching Golden Girls for an hour and relaxing before the day begins. I don’t necessarily enjoy changing out of my pjs and getting my ass in gear so early.

Additionally, I get a ton of stress relief from working out. Especially on tough days, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a hard run or heavy lift right after work. I have more energy and push harder during evening workouts.

But, I’m not immune to unexpected late days at the office, after-work plans with friends or other commitments that sometimes prevent me from making it to the gym in the evening. Thus, morning workouts are something I need to make happen on occasion.

Waking up is hard to do.

Waking up is hard to do.

Let’s not try to bullshit here, most people don’t really enjoy setting their alarm for 5 a.m., dragging their ass out of a nice, warm bed and schlepping off to the gym before the million other things they have to do that day. I’m not going to pretend I bounce into the gym, ready and rarin to go. Most of the time, I drag my ass out of bed, shuffle half-awake to the gym and heave my body onto a treadmill. It’s okay if you feel the same way. But when you need to make that morning workout happen, I’ve found there are some surefire ways to ensure it does.

1. Buddy Up
I often make plans with my friend Heidi to meet for an early morning workout. We enjoy taking classes together and it’s a great way to see each other amidst the busyness of jobs, dogs and life in general. This is also probably the best way to guarantee I’ll get in a morning workout.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of getting up for the gym when the alarm goes off at the ass crack of dawn. But knowing that someone else is there, waiting for you, holding you accountable – now that’s some good motivation. It’s tough to disappoint ourselves for missing a workout but it really sucks feeling like you’ve disappointed a friend by skipping out. Side note: this works really well with dogs too.

2. Set Two Alarms
Especially if you’re one who has trouble falling asleep after waking up, this is a great way to make sure you get up and out the door. Set one alarm for five minutes before you should get up. While you lay there, trying to fall back asleep, you’ll also have some time to convince yourself that you really should get up.

“By the time I fall back asleep, I could have already been to the gym.” “Even if I do fall back asleep, it’s only an hour more I’m going to get.” “When it’s finally time to get up for the day, I’ll wish I had gone to the gym…” BEEP BEEP. There’s that second alarm. Pretty clever, huh? Now get up!

3. Have A Plan
Whether it’s at the beginning of a week or even the night before, make a plan for your morning workout(s). Knowing what you want to accomplish will give you a boost of motivation to actually get it done, plus you can be more of a zombie that morning since you won’t have to decide, “What do I want to do at the gym today?”
4. Play Favorites
Lap swimming and EFX. BodyPump and Insanity. Upper-body. These are the cardio workouts, classes and lifts I enjoy tackling early in the morning. Running and biking. Spin. Legs. These are the cardio workouts, class and lift I may love at 5 p.m. but I dread at 5 a.m.

Make that morning workout a million times easier to tackle and more enjoyable by choosing one of your favorites.
5. Just Press Play
If all other methods fail to get you to the gym early in the morning, take something out of the equation – the gym. There are a ton of workout DVDs and things you can do at home to get your sweat on. Whether pilates, Insanity or a bodyweight routine you build on your own, find a couple things you like and rotate to keep it interesting.

What tips do you have for making those morning workouts happen? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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