I asked my Remix AM clients how and why they became early-morning exercisers.
Their answers were full of wisdom and tips. Many clients tried for years to fit it all in a day. Here are their tried and true tricks for success!
“I am a night owl but learned quickly the value of getting my workout done early. I also learned, by trying, that I have a better day when I've started it with exercise. And since I roll out of bed and go straight to class, I don't have time to come up with excuses like I would if I waited until after work.
To help me be successful, I lay out all of my clothes the night before and place them right by my bed (sometimes I even sleep in them). I make sure my weights and mat are by the front door or already in the car. Carpooling is another motivator - making me accountable to someone else.”
“I became an early exerciser because that was the only way to guarantee nothing got in the way of me getting a workout. If I could get out of bed - which is something I could control - nothing else got in the way - no traffic or late work appointment or kid after school thing... After a while, it became something I don't really think about, I just do it, unless of course, I don't - there is always that danger of slipping lurking in the background! That is where your leadership and the camaraderie of the class make the difference!”
“As a full-time working mom, I had to find non-family and work time to exercise.”
“I always considered myself a night owl, but couldn’t get on a regular exercise schedule. I started taking a 6 am yoga class probably 8 years ago and after about two years my body got used to getting up early to exercise. Of course things change as you age, but now I easily wake up to exercise and it is part of my routine. For me I seldom wake up and think –“oh I just want to sleep in” because it is important to me and I feel better – even if I am tired.”
“Why in the world did this night owl start waking up at 6AM to exercise? Well, it came down to children, home and volunteer duties taking over my days and even when I wanted to exercise (either on my own or at gym/studio), I always let something else take priority. Exercising in the morning didn’t allow me (as many) excuses. Nights before class, I even get to bed a little bit earlier which has also proved to be beneficial. Who says Night Owls can’t learn new tricks?”
“I exercise early because I have a commitment with the other ladies to carpool. I exercise early because by the time we are finished I am fully awake and ready for the day. I am not an early person by nature but once I'm up I love the mornings. I continue to come to class because I see results. (First, I discovered I had calf muscles, then the waist shrunk a little, then the first 10 lbs I had been battling stayed off, then my pants started falling down, then I went down a size, then I realized I could fit into pants that were too tight when I was 15 lbs lighter, now pants in my new size are starting to feel loose, and I found new muscles in my back. So I keep going because I want to see what will change next.)”
From these testimonials, it seems like one of the best way to become an early-morning exerciser is to create a new habit.
What if you want to do it alone? Without a class, without the commitment to others (carpool duty or an instructor). What if you only have 30 minutes? Or 15 minutes? What if you are the “most unmotivated” person in the morning? How do you create a sustainable early-morning exercise habit when you are on your own? We will discuss this topic in our next blog post.
HYGIENE: Conditions and practices that serve to promote or preserve health.
Exercise fits the description and should be part of your hygiene routine (like brushing your teeth). When people purchase a series of classes (a fitness app or an exercise bike), they are happy and excited to get their fitness goals going. Then life often gets in the way and they can’t exercise frequently enough to see results from their efforts. They are always RE-starting getting fit. One of the keys to sustainability of your fitness adventure is to schedule your workouts, treating them like you would treat business meetings or dentist appointments.
It helps to know yourself. Do you have a tendency to “postpone” your workout to later and later in the day, and then just end up not working out at all? Then you need to exercise early in the morning so nothing else gets in the way. (We will discuss this topic in an upcoming post.)
Make your workouts non–negotiable so that nothing can make you skip them. At the beginning of the week, add your workouts to your planner, like you would write: pay bills. Fit your workouts into your week. Be realistic. If you really want to get in shape and change your lifestyle, that’s how it starts.
To make this work takes determination and self-discipline. It is not selfish to take time to exercise and preserve your health and wellness -just like it is not selfish to take time to brush your teeth. For fun, do the test and stop brushing your teeth and see how you and people around you react!
Can we get a good workout even if we have an old injury, a new body part, or chronic problems along with plain good old aging? I have worked with people with a wide variety of issues. After being cleared to exercise by their health care professional, they come to me because they want to get “unstuck” and find ways to work out with their new knee, new hip, or their broken foot. We work together to build their “move vocabulary.” This creates a customized library of exercises that they can perform and build upon. My clients can still reap the benefits of a thorough workout. To help in the process, I apply three rules to create plans for people with different abilities. These rules were actually the guidelines of conduct at my children’s elementary school. They can apply to a lot of scenarios but here is how I apply them to exercise.
Rule 1: Be safe
The goal is to maintain our good health so we never do anything that could be unsafe. That is why I modify exercises to adapt to clients’ fitness level and abilities.
Rule 2: Show respect
Show respect to your body and it will serve you well. Respect that new body part or that knee with arthritis. There is a difference between a nice burn and pain. Respect your limitations and work hard within your limits by using moves that work for your body. It might make you angry to not have full range of motion or to not be able to jump but the idea is to adjust NOW to protect your assets, still get a challenging workout, and continue to progress. Be proud of what you CAN do instead of being mad about what you CANNOT do. This simple change of attitude will lighten up your heart.
Rule 3: Take responsibility
Yes, you need to take charge and be the boss of your body. You have to implement your plan because no one can work out and do the hard work for you. You have to SHOW UP to create the wellness/fitness you wish for. That takes time and consistency. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but I can guarantee that you will be extremely proud of yourself.
What if you made the conscious decision to think differently about yourself?
Imagine that now that you started working out regularly you also begin to consider yourself as athletic, even though you were not the sporty type in high school, never got picked on teams, and always felt inadequate in P.E. class. What if you changed your attitude? What if you trained your mind to take a different route? What else would that simple thought: “I’m an athletic person” influence in your daily activities?
Your inner monologue would take a different flavor. That I can guarantee. At first, it might feel forced and very unnatural, but it would soon become second nature and help you make healthier choices in your life.
You can use this simple trick even if you are just “contemplating” starting to exercise regularly. It will push you over the hump. You will never say again: “Looking at a glass of water makes me gain weight!” You will say: “Looking at a glass of water makes me want to go swimming! What’s the pool schedule?”
A lot plays out in our mind. Time to switch track. Think about it and flip your attitude!