How to Work Out in the Morning

Buy one, get one free deals get me every time.

Thanks to a fantastic BOGO deal at Publix yesterday, I now have two packages of Toufayan thin bagels in the delicious “everything” flavor.

Everything bagels are so flavorful. I don’t generally like thin bagels, but the everything flavor is a good one. I love the combination of the onion flavor with the texture of the poppyseeds. Yum!

Everything Bagel + Cheese

For lunch I made myself a Provolone cheese bagelwich that I enjoyed with a side of grape tomatoes and a sliced red pepper.

Bagelwich

Red Hot!

Lunch also included a fresh apple.

A Taste of Fall

Monday Lunch

Operation Healthy appears to be in full swing! :D

How to Work Out in the Morning

Beep, beep, beep!

What? The sound of your morning alarm doesn’t motivate you to wake up early and hit the gym? ;)

In all seriousness, it can be very hard to get to the gym at any time during the day, let alone before the sun comes up.

I remember when I made the transition from afternoon workouts to morning workouts. In my first job after college, I hit the gym after work. I got off work at 4:30 p.m. and was able to work out and still be home by 6 p.m. This schedule worked very well for me.

Then I changed jobs. All of the sudden my hours were all over the place. I’d often be at work after 7 p.m., and frequently found myself in the office later than 9 p.m. It was not fun. (Side note: I was seriously miserable in that job and quit after finding a new job less than eight months later. Lesson learned: Bigger pay check does not equal happiness!)

As I became accustomed to my new schedule, I found myself irritated that my varying hours and demanding workload cut into my gym time.

Gradually it became clear to me that if I wanted to make my health a priority and get my heart pumpin’, I had to work out before I went into the office. This meant waking up in the 5 a.m. hour. The horror!

The first week was a challenge. My workouts were not nearly as intense and I felt sluggish.

The next week wasn’t so bad. By Wednesday, I felt like my workouts were returning to their normal intensity. Plus, it felt amazing to be done with my workout as I headed into the office. Checking something off my to-do list before 7 a.m. felt great!

Once the third week of my new morning workout routine rolled around, it felt natural. I didn’t have the desire to sleep in anymore because I felt like I would be missing something. I didn’t want to drive to work without that feeling of post-workout satisfaction.

As I shifted my work outs to the morning, I found the transition easier by following these little tips:

  • Commit to it: Your first morning workout will not be fun. You’ll be tired and cranky, but that’s okay! Don’t give up. General consensus says it takes around 21 days to make a habit. Commit to keeping up your morning workouts for 21 days and they will begin to feel like part of your routine.
  • Schedule a Workout You Want to Do: For your first morning workout, schedule a workout you want to do. Don’t tackle sprints or a five-mile run on your first morning workout if this is the workout you dread the most! Plan to take your favorite spinning class, walk your dog, or bring a friend with you for an early morning yoga session to give yourself something to look forward to when you get to the gym.

A Walk with Sadie: A Work Out I Always Look Forward To!

  • Revel in the Post-Workout Sense of Accomplishment: When your morning workout is over, make a mental note to remember how great it feels to have your workout done before the day really begins. Remember this feeling when the alarm goes off in the morning.
  • Make it Easy on Yourself: Make getting to the gym in the morning as effortless as possible by laying out your workout clothes, filling up your water bottle and having your keys ready the night before. (Click here for my tips on streamlining your morning routine.)
  • Enjoy that “I’d normally be at the gym right now” Feeling: When I switched my workout to the morning, I loved thinking “I’d normally be at the gym right now” around 5 p.m., when I would typically be working out. It made me appreciate the effort I put into getting my workout done earlier in the day.

*Special thanks to blog reader Katie for inspiring this post! :D

Of Possible Interest:

Question of the Afternoon

  • When do you prefer to workout… morning, afternoon or night?

Comments

  1. Katelin says

    I can totally relate to feeling sluggish when you first start working out in the morning. I’d always wanted to start working out in the morning bc I can find every excuse in the book to skip the gym at night. But the first few times I went in the morning I didn’t think I could ever stick with it bc I had NO energy and felt like a zombie, but after a week or so I woke up completely awake & ready to go…and now I work out way harder in the morning than I do at night! And the feeling of knowing that no matter what I already accomplished my goal (working out) for the day is awesome!! I feel so much more energized throughout the day also.

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  2. Bee says

    You totally read my mind! While running this afternoon I kept thinking about your morning workouts and wishing I could do them. Something feels different about exercising in the morning and I feel like I can’t do as much. It’s nice to know that will go away within a week or two. Thanks so much for this post!!

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  3. says

    Your post exactly describes my thoughts. I’m trying to switch to a morning work-out, but I have my problems with this. I really like the feeling of a morning run, though I generally don’t go as far as I would in the afternoon, plus it’s really chilly in the morning. So on most days I’ll opt for an hour of yoga which leads me to neglect my running routine… I hope that I’ll soon find a new schedule that works for me.

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  4. says

    working out in the morning is a difficult task but sometimes it can be refreshing and when its the only time to do it then it becomes easier.

    I usually always work out in the morning because once the afternoon hits I usually don’t want to work out.

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  5. Marie says

    PERFECT post! I’ve been wanting to switch to morning workouts for some time now. My husband works out before he works and loves it as well, but I haven’t been able to make the switch. I keep reading about how all these people are working out in the mornings and wondered if they were just morning people. When I’ve tried it in the past I would only do it for a week before giving up because I lacked in energy and motivation and I would be sluggish all day. I did, however, LOVED the aspect of being able to do other things when I would normally workout midday. Hearing that it took you 1.5 – 2 weeks to get back to normal is all the information I needed to tackle this again. I have almost 2.75 year-old twins so it’s nice to be able to do other things during their nap and pretty soon they won’t be napping at all and I’ll have to find another alternative to working out midday anyhow! Thanks a bunch!

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  6. says

    Quick Question: Do you eat before or after you work out in the morning? I would be willing to work out in the morning but I don’t want to wake up super early just to make breakfast. I know there are benefits to eating before and benefits to eating after. What do you think?

    Thanks,
    Erika

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  7. says

    I’m a little late on commenting but thanks for the post. I struggle with getting into a morning routine but once I am in a grove I am good to go. Having a friend meet you at the gym is a huge motivator for me. Or at least telling my husband that I will be working out. If I don’t, he will call me out on it.

    I did get out and at least take the dogs for a jog/walk this morning. I had my cousin as a motivator :)

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  8. Lauren says

    Hey Julie, quick question. I noticed you are a coffee drinker like me :) When you work out in the morning, do you ever get a caffeine headache from not drinking coffee before hand? This is the only thing holding me back from making the switch to morning workouts. I don’t want to find myself running on the treadmill with a headache coming on.

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    • peanutbutterfingers says

      i actually do not experience a caffeine headache, but i don’t drink coffee daily (usually 3 -4x a week). i know a lot of people who swear by drinking coffee before hitting the gym in the morning b/c they say the caffeine helps their workout. just a thought!

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  9. says

    I got in the habit of waking up at 5 during the summer so I’d avoid the worst part of the day to run, but now it’s cold out and I’m still waking up at 5 but not running. I like your tips! I want to get back into the swing of exercising in the mornings so I don’t feel like my evenings are taken up by my workouts. :)

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  10. says

    These are such great tips! I find that i’m still half-asleep when I start my run/head to the gym that early… so it’s really not all that bad! Plus, it’s a great way to wake up my body. It’s like my coffee! I am a big fan of working out in the early AM because you are right, there is no better feeling than knowing a good run is behind you!

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  11. says

    These are awesome tips! I’m trying to become a morning exerciser. I think I need to take it easy on my runs until I get into a groove of the switch. Why does it take 21 days to form a new habit and 1 day to break it. :)

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  12. Julia K. says

    I just wanted to leave a comment and say thank you for this blog! This is only my 2nd day reading it, by finding you by “accident” from Une Vie Saine blog, when she tagged you for your granola recipe. BTW, I made your granola recipe last night ( with a little tweaking, since i didn’t have some ingredients) and it came out fantastic!
    Not only are you witty, and fun to read, but your always trying to help your readers feel good, and inspire us to live a healthy lifestyle! I’m truly thankful to be led to your blog! Just some F,Y.I. I’ve been following the WW’s plan since Jan 2011, and now I am I trying to follow Tosca’s Eat clean plan. I just turned 29 yrs old, and my goal is to be at a healthy weight by my 30th bday, next year!
    Now back to my stalking your page!! xoxo :)

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  13. Angela says

    I love this! I read your blog daily, but I needed some inspiration this morning. I have a toddler who keeps waking up in the middle of the night, and by morning I have zero energy to work out. But this is encouraging! I’m going to stick with it.

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  14. says

    I have been looking all over the internet for helps on how to workout in the morning. My schedule currently mirrors what yours used to be with off hours and such, and I know that if I could do it from 5:00 am to 7:00 a.m. life would be easier and I wouldn’t miss nearly so many workouts. I will definitely try to institute some of your recommendations. :-)

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  15. says

    I know this is an old post, but you have inspired me to change my workout time to the mornings.

    I work from home as a massage therapist and try to fit in a workout around my clients, but if that’s not possible then I miss the gym (always finding an excuse to do that!).

    But if I work out in the morning then I will feel virtuous and have no excuses not to go! (Well that’s the plan, as I am not a natural early riser) .

    Thanks for a great post.

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  16. Jen Eaton says

    I know I’m late reading this post but I just got hooked to your blog site a few weeks ago so I’m catching up. I have yet to commit to morning workouts as I have to be in the shower by 530am (blah!) But am seriously motivated to try after reading your post. Love all your posts & your Sadie is precious!

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  17. Jen Eaton says

    I just want you to know that b/c of your post, I have started working out in the mornings & am loving it so far (today was only 2nd day) but what a difference it makes. Thank you for this post!

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  18. Kaylyn says

    I absolutely LOVE this idea- but I’m worried I’m going to run out of steam halfway through because I’m hungry! Do you eat anything before heading to the gym, or do you wait until you’re done?

    Thanks Julie! :)

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  19. Alex says

    Hi! So I just found your blog and I love it! When I saw this post, I was really excited to see tips for morning work outs. I just graduated college and so now I’m also doing daily morning work outs. I totally agree that it’s nice getting the work out over but it’s still hard for me to have a full force work out at 6am. I wake up and drag myself across the street to the gym but am still lazy feeling. Do you eat or drink before your work out? I don’t because I don’t want to have to wait for my food to digest. Anyways, I’d love to hear your tips for getting more energy in the morning!

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  20. RaeAnn Moreno says

    Julie,
    My friend just posted this article to me today. She has just recently converted me to morning workouts! i totally agree with all of this, and I have been at am workout’s again (I did it back in college) for about a month now, and loving it!

    What are your thoughts on when you miss an am workout, life happens, and you can’t always get up to work out, on only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Sometimes if I miss, I go in the evening, but then I worry i will be too tired to get back to routine for the next day’s am workout. What have you found that works best for you, if you face this challenge?

    P.s. I love cardio intense workout’s!!!

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  21. Ruthie says

    First want to say love your blog! I happen to come across this old post…..and it’s just what I need! I’ve been trying to workout in the morning but just haven’t been able to commit, but after reading this I think I might be able to do it! Thanks!

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  22. Samantha Florian says

    What do you eat before you go to the gym? I often see your postings about your breakfast after the gym, but what do you fuel your body with without feeling overly full but gives you enough energy to make it through the intesity of your workouts?

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  23. Lauren says

    Excellent post! What makes me full of energy in the morning and throughout a day is Military Grade nutritional supplements. These products contain a bunch of vitamins and other natural compounds which effectively refill energy supply. Their pre-workoput formula gives quick boost of energy, so even after tough workout I feel perfect.

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  24. says

    I’m currently struggling to begin morning workouts. My boyfriend changed jobs and therefore has no time in the evening for the gym so we are trying to transition to the morning but it’s definitely been tough so far.

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  25. Jessica H says

    Great post! I switched to morning workouts about 2 months ago and have never felt better! Knowing that when I leave the office I can go right home and take the dog for a long walk/relax really makes me less stressed. I used to be anxious at the end of a work day knowing I had to get home right away, let the dog out for a short work (poor guy), and then get to the gym in time for a class or early enough to get a treadmill. I wish I had seen this post earlier since I was feeling a bit discouraged when I first started (I was just so sleepy haha) but I am glad I stuck with it and the feeling of accomplishment when I walk into work already is a great motivator.

    Thanks for all the tips!

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  26. Remi says

    What time do you go to bed at in order to get up so early?! I LOVE your morning routine but usually don’t get into bed until Midnight, so the thought of getting up at 5:30 isn’t too good.

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  27. Lindsay says

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to make the change from evening work outs to the morning, at least for my cardio. I hate being at the gym after work since it is WAY too busy and I don’t feel overly motivated after a difficult day at the office. This results in me sometimes just not going at all, which ultimately leaves me feeling super guilty.
    I am a new reader to your blog and absolutely love, love, love it! Thanks for everything!!

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  28. says

    Hi there! I know this is kind of off-topic but I had
    to ask. Does building a well-established website like yours require
    a large amount of work? I am completely new to running a
    blog but I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I can share my experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

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  29. says

    Hello! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room
    mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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  30. Amber says

    I really enjoying working out in the morning & evening! It’s a toss up for me! If I work out in the morning I work out alone. If I do it in the evenings I work out with my Hubby.

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