Why I Still Work Out at 5 a.m.

I’ve had a few people ask me why in the world I get up at 5 a.m. every day when I work from home and essentially make my own schedule. If I am able to workout any time, why do I still wake up before the sun comes up?

I have three answers:

  1. It makes me infinitely more productive. When I finish my workout before 6:30 a.m., I feel like my day is set into motion and I keep riding the productivity wave all day long. Also, the longer I put off a workout, the less likely I am to actually do it!
  2. I want to keep a “normal” schedule. When I made the decision to leave my previous job to focus on freelance writing and blogging, I made a commitment to myself that I would still work “normal” hours. During the week, I can almost always be found at my computer from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour break in there for lunch or an afternoon walk with Sadie, assuming I don’t have a meeting or appointment of some kind. (I’m back at my computer again when I type up my dinner post.)
  3. I like the extra time with Ryan. We always enjoyed heading to the gym together first thing in the morning before I began working from home and I wanted to keep up the tradition when my job changed.

So there ya have it! The madness behind my morning workouts!


Today’s morning workout was awesome! When I finished it, I couldn’t wait to get home and type it up to share with you guys.

Check out a new circuit workout!

ab workout
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I’ve been seriously neglecting core exercises lately and decided to make today’s workout focused and abs and cardio. I began my workout with 15 minutes on the arc trainer before completing the above circuit and cooling down with another 10 minutes on the elliptical while I waited for Ryan to finish his leg workout.


After a quick shower, it was time for breakfast. 0 Pin It

I made a batch of vanilla banana protein oatmeal that hit the spot.

Vanilla Banana Protein Oatmeal

Serves 1

Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons steel cut oats
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts


  • Bring 1 3/4 cup water to a boil
  • Add steel cut oats and reduce to medium heat
  • Allow oats to cook for 20 minutes, or until thick and creamy
  • Add banana slices, protein powder and cinnamon to the oats and continue to cook on low for approximately 5 minutes
  • Pour oats into a bowl, top with hazelnuts

banana protein oatmeal 008

banana protein oatmeal 011

And then I ate another handful of mixed nuts on the side because the hazelnuts sparked a craving!

Off to be productive! I have a lunchtime meeting for my volunteer work with the Taste of Ocala and hope to check a lot of things off my to do list beforehand.


  1. Jen says

    I’m with you on the early morning workouts! It’s not always easy getting up, but I feel SO much better throughout the entire day. I have more energy and just feel better focused at work. And it’s great to head home knowing that I have the whole evening to relax. And starting off the day feeling accomplished is never a bad thing either. 🙂


  2. says

    I think it is awesome that you work out so early! I have toyed with the idea, but I already have to get up at 4:45 to make it to work on time, so the thought of getting up an 3:45 makes me super tired! lol


      • becky says

        My husband works a really early schedule and i’ve started working out at 4am so i can have more time with him (and our vizsla puppy!) in the evenings. I typically curse life when the alarm goes off but there is no better feeling than being done with my workout before my brain even realizes i’m awake, haha.


  3. says

    I agree with you! Last summer I was unemployed for 2 1/2 months and I continued to get up and go running or work out almost every morning. I loved having it over and done with for the day and had the rest of the day to get things done without “I need to work out” hanging over my head! Most weekends I try and squeeze in a morning workout as well so I have the rest of the day free!


  4. says

    I really wish I had the ability to get up that early and workout straight away! But alas, my muscles are way to cramped when I first get up so my workouts have to be done mid-morning at the earliest. That workout sounds intense! I would love to be able to jump rope, it sounds like such a good exercise. Your oatmeal looks delicious, I love the addition of banana and hazelnuts 🙂


  5. says

    That is such a great plan Julie and I totally understand why you would want to keep your days as normal as possible. I would have to work out in the morning to keep up my schedule, mostly because 99% of the time I prefer working out in the morning and if I don’t, I probably won’t work out at all!


    • says

      i’m the same way! i always say that if i don’t work out in the morning, it’s not happening. on the weekends if i don’t get to the gym before 10 a.m., the chances of me ever getting there are minimal!


  6. says

    I think it’s great that you still get up at your normal time. I think you need that in order to keep balance in your life. If I got up to work out before work, I would need to get up at 4am. I don’t really see that happening.


  7. Tonya says

    Hey Julie I love your website with all the recipes & healthy alternatives! I do have a couple of questtions regarding this recipe & your previous veggie pizza recipe? I only have quick oats will they work just as well as your steel cut oats? I know yesterday I made your peanut butter granola & used quick oats but got slightly different results, it was still delicious but I could only use about 3/4 cup of oats a full cup would not have turned out well for me, so just wondering for this recipe. Also what do you typically use for pizza crust? I love pizza but I’m always looking for ways to make it healthier. Thanks so much!!!


    • says

      quick oats will worki n this recipe, but you’ll have to completely change the cooking time/ method. i would just combine everything in a bowl, reduce the amount of water and microwave it in one minute intervals, stirring regularly. (you will probably only need to microwave it for a total of 90 seconds or so.)

      as for pizza crust, my local grocery store, publix, sells pizza dough in their bakery section and we usually use that1


  8. says

    Hi Julie! I’m a new reader and wanted to say hello and tell you that I’m really enjoying your blog. Also, I’m in awe of your commitment to get up at 5AM to work out every day – that’s very impressive! Your oatmeal recipe looks delicious – I’ve never tried putting chopped hazelnuts on my oatmeal. I’ll have to try it out soon! Have a great day!


  9. Jenn says

    I love to work out before work as well as it sets my day up for clarity of the mind (I really do focus better) and my coworkers and clients really appreciate it as well (I can be irritable and out of sorts on days I do not get on schedule).

    I would love to hear more on the volunteering. This weekend kicks off a new and free adolescent support group I created and will facilitate at my local church. I love the feeling of being able to provide for others and get outside of myself : )


  10. says

    Delicious oatmeal!

    I enjoy working out before school or work and riding the feel good wave all day too. Sometimes I have to be at work extra early, in which case I workout after. That seems just as productive because I can take out my frustrations and leave them at the gym.


  11. says

    I was actually wondering why you were keeping up this schedule just the other day! I figured it might have to do with couple time with Ryan 🙂

    I’m a morning worker-outer as well, and I just feel like working out anytime other than then takes so much more time out of the day. I’m not sure why, but it seems like a bigger ordeal.


  12. Kim says

    That’s exactly why I get up at 5 to work out!
    As a college student, my classmates think I’m crazy!
    There are so many things that could happen throughout the day, sometimes the only thing I have control of is a workout.
    I’m also extremely passive-agressive. It gets a lot easier to make up a reason not to work out in the afternoon, as opposed to before the sun is up when nothing is going on.
    Lastly, optimism! Coffee can’t make me as optimistic as a workout can. (Though, coffee doesn’t hurt, either)


  13. says

    Totally admire your ability to do that! I’m jealous you have a live in morning work out buddy too.

    My husband is the after work kind of worker-outer but by that point I have absolutely lost all motivation!


  14. Giulia says

    Hi! I’m a new italian reader, your blog is beautiful!
    I have a question: Which protein powder do you use? (sorry for bad english)
    Thanks, Giulia.


  15. says

    My fav oats are banana protein hot oats. Mmmm… I should make some of those soon!

    As for the early workouts, I totally agree with you. I am a morning person, and I also really like keeping the same schedule as the hubby. If I didn’t get up as early as he does, we wouldn’t be sleepy for bed at the same time either. That would just get old.


  16. says

    Any tips for us non-morning people on getting up that early? It seems to put me in a foul mood later in the day. But I love the idea of it being done that early. I also make my own schedule so right now I get up, work for awhile and then go to the gym.

    The Kidless Kronicles


    • Kim says

      I always eat before. Not only do I have more energy, but I don’t spend my workout thinking, “What am I going to eat when I’m finished with this?” or “I’m hungry, I don’t want to do this anymore, I just want to eat.”


  17. Rowen says

    When I go to uni or live by myself, I can’t wait to start early morning workouts! They seem great, once you get used to it 🙂
    Question though …. I’m sure you’ve answered it already, but do you notice the difference when you go straight when you wake up vs. when you eat then go? I always used to go straight to the gym when I woke up, then I started having breakfast and going a couple hours later, and I noticed a pretty big difference in terms of endurance during the workout. Now if I go in the morning and do weights it still works, but I find it’s a much less effective workout.


    • mel says

      I also get up and work out at 5 am and I usually have a couple bites of something to get me going. For instance, half of a banana with a table spoon of PB, half of a protein bar, a piece of ww bread with a table spoon of PB and ALWAYS half a cup of coffee. It gives me enough energy to work out hard and allows me to not be starving during my workout. I also like eating first then waiting a couple of hours to work out, but my schedule doesn’t allow for that during the week.


  18. Cait says

    I love early morning work outs too! I just with my fiance felt the same so we could work out together. It def is enjoyable when having someone there too.


  19. says

    peaople used to ask how i did 445AM for one stage in my life. i told them only by KEEPING it up….so hard to get into the cycle, but much easier to KEEP the habit than re-learn it after too many skips (though sometimes sleep IS better)/ i loved knowing i had accomplished something before every one else even stretched


  20. says

    My oh my, those oats look delicious!
    I wish I could wake up at 5 a.m and get to the gym, unfortunately I’m not the best sleeper so I try to catch all the ZZZ’s I possibly can before heading into work around 7 a.m. I agree with getting it done in the morning though! If I don’t get to the gym before 1 p.m, I probably won’t end up going. I also admire people who are able to work out at NIGHT after work. There noooooo way I could do that!


  21. says

    I’m the same way as you with the early workouts! Even though I do have to be in the gym early on most days since I work at 9am, I’m there much earlier than I really need to be. This way, I know I’ll have plenty of time to shower and make myself a delicious breakfast before heading to work. I hate being in a rush, so I don’t mind getting up really early to make the rest of the morning more calm. 🙂 I think it’s great that you and Ryan spend your mornings together!


  22. says

    That circuit looks awesome! I just might have to try it!

    I’ve recently started working out in the morning. I used to take group exercise classes on campus but my schedule this semester doesn’t allow it. I am a TOTAL convert. I love starting my day off on a positive note. It keeps me motivated and the endorphins aren’t too shabby either. 😉


  23. KateEllyn says

    Your circuit sounds amazing! I teach boot camp friday morning and I am certainly going to try and incorporate it into our class.

    I am always looking for new circuits or routine to include and this will be great. Thanks so much for posting!



  24. says

    wish i could workout in the morning before work– i just cant seem to get into that rhythm. i read in runners world that your basal body temp is highest in early evening which allows for more efficient workouts and less of a risk of injury at night — but honestly i just have more energy in the early evening which is why it works for me. everyones different so it makes sense we all have different times of working out! wish i could be more like you and get it out of the way though!


  25. says

    I used to say that if I didn’t workout in the morning I wouldn’t do it but lately I have been testing that theory have been working out after work 2-3 days a week and it isn’t so bad.


  26. says

    Great job on keeping up the workout schedule. I’ve tried working out first thing in the morning a few times, and I always felt nauseous afterward. Maybe it’s all in my head because I’m totally not a morning person, but I had to call in sick once because I felt so sick.


  27. Christien says

    hey there! just wondering: at what time do you get to bed in the evening? I need 8 (if possible 9) hours of sleep, so if I would want to wake up at 5 a.m everyday, I would have to get to bed before 9 p.m. ..


  28. says

    I am the same way! I don’t even sleep in most weekends, because I’m so antsy to get up and get my workout in early. I just LOVE being done with a workout by 6:30 or 7am!

    I think the line for me was when I swam with a group that met at 5am. I was up at 4:20 four days a week. Now 4:50 or 5am is fine by me!


  29. says

    You’re so right about all three points! Since I’m a teacher and off in the summer, I like to keep my workouts early in the morning (although in the summer I move them to 6 instead of 5am) to keep a schedule going. Otherwise I’m just lazy alll day long. Plus, I workout best in the morning, and if I wait too late to workout, breakfast gets moved to the afternoon, and then when would I eat lunch? 🙂


  30. says

    its so rough getting up at 5 am to workout but i’m with you girl–i love working out in the morning so much better because then I have my nights free. and I like to stay away from the nighttime gym crowd, its SO crazy in my gym after work, it would take me forever to get my workout done!

    hazelnuts yumm…you should put a spoonful of nutella into your oatmeal once in a while, its marvelous 🙂


  31. says

    I’m with you on working out first thing in the morning. I typically get up between 4:30 and 5. And, I’ve found that if I sleep in and do a later workout that it just lacks the energy that I normally have when I do them earlier in the morning.


  32. says

    I work out in the morning too. During the week I am at the gym right when it opens at 5am. It is really the only way to get it done with work and still allowing puppy and fiance time.
    If I try and go after work now, I lose ALL motivation during the day and it is really hard to push myself to work out intensely.
    On weekends, I still get there early, but it is closer to 9. It just feels great to start off your day with an awesome sweat session!


  33. says

    I’m in a transitional period and living at home sans gym membership right now, so days that the weather has not been running friendly I have been doing your circuits. They are awesome! Who knew spending $4.88 on a jump rope and digging out my brothers old weights could give me such a great workout! Cannot wait to try this one!!!


  34. Nathan Miller says

    When I got the new gig in the restaurant as a sous chef three months ago and now work does not start until 10AM, I still am up at 4:45am to get my 6.5 miles in every morning. You hit it on the head…its like morning coffee, and gets me up and going and gives me energy throughout the whole day


  35. says

    I think it’s great that you are still motivated to get up at 5 AM for a workout even though you don’t have to. More power to ya girl 🙂 Hitting the snooze button can be so easy but having a gym buddy to get you motivated always makes it easier….even better when you’re gym buddy is your hubby!


  36. Lizzie says

    I’ve been wondering why you still workout so early when you work from home, so thanks for answering! I also get up at 5am to workout so I agree on ALL fronts. Quick question – what is the difference/nutritional benefits of steel cut oats vs. regular oatmeal? My coworker brought in steel cut outs this am and both of us were talking about this exact question. Thank you! 🙂


  37. says

    I completely agree about working out early. It makes the entire day better. When I put off running until after work, my day has this little cloud over it, like I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.

    Those oats look great! Thanks for sharing!


  38. katie says

    You are an inspiration day in and day out! I too maintain a “non traditional” work schedule, and while I am often so tempted to push my workouts to mid-morning/afternoon (which then might turn into never) I find myself regularly checking for your morning post as motivation to get to the gym! So, thank you!


  39. says

    That’s GREAT that you still keep full time hours pretty much working from home. I honestly admire that tremendously and not many people have that opportunity to make it work for themselves. Way to go girl! Plus working out together in the morning is GREAT bonding time when you and your partner both love fitness 🙂 I would wake up that early just to go to the gym with my boyfriend too if we lived together haha.


  40. says

    My boyfriend (and workout partner) wake up at 4:45 so that we can go to the gym. He recently quit his day job to pursue his own business venture where he works from home, and thankfully has kept getting up early with me! I love it and am so appreciative that he does, so I’m sure your boyfriend feels the same way! 🙂


  41. says

    I am totally with you on working out in the AM! Although, I’m not currently doing it, I was following that schedule last year, and it makes the day feel so much more productive. In fact, just writing this is inspiring me to start going it again. It really does make the day so much more productive, and I loved having the evenings to myself.


  42. says

    Julie, I would totally do the same thing. I am actually sad that my boyfriend and I don’t have the same workout schedules because I love that we can do it together on the weekends. Even though we don’t “do” the same things at the gym, it is something we do together. He works REALLY early so has to get his excercise in after work whereas I’m opposite. Anyway, the productivity, energy thing is KEY.


  43. says

    I always wondered about working at home and how it would totally throw me off track. I’d be working super late so I like how you maintain a nice schedule.

    I also love working out early because it sets my day in motion. Once in awhile, I will work out at night. Plus, I’m not too tired after a long day at work.


  44. says

    You’re totally right about morning workouts…but I don’t know if I would have the motivation to be up so early without a job to rush off for. Kudos girl! Also never thought of adding protein powder into oats…definitely a must try soon!


  45. says

    I am so incredibly impressed that you get up at 5 am every day to work out with your husband. I have a really hard time fitting in workouts at night so I really should adopt this too but the idea of getting up that early just sounds miserable to me! Maybe if I got to bed before 12:30 though it might be a little easier?!


  46. says

    I love getting in my work out before I get to work that way I can just come home in the evening and just relax. But sometimes if I’m having a bad day I like to blow off steam in the evening at the gym.

    I forgot about jump roping – i haven’t done it since I was a kid – must try this workout!


  47. says

    I don’t work out at 5 am bec my body just doesn’t like it…BUT I still get up at 5 am every morning. I like having that head start to the day to get work done. Plus, its one of the only quiet times in this house. 😉


  48. Laurie says

    I totally agree about morning workouts. It gives me energy in the morning and throughout the day to push through the 2pm wall. I’m jealous Ryan goes too — the only thing that would make my workouts better would be if the bf went (but he is an evening workout kind of guy)


  49. Becka says

    When I was a senior in high school I took a kickboxing class every weekday morning from 5:30am to 6:30am, so I woke up at 4:45 every morning. Back then I thought it was no big deal but thinking about doing it now makes me want a nap!


  50. says

    i’m impressed that you can continue to get up that early. i’m trying to transition to morning workouts. i’m a naturally early riser–sleeping late for me is around 8 am. However, the darkness in the mornings is killing me. is it summer yet?


  51. says

    I’m right there with ya! If I don’t get up and get it done with there is a very high probability it won’t get done at all. Getting up early is tough only until I’m awake – then I love how much extra time I have!
    I love that you and Ryan have that time together. Nick and I used to run together and it was so nice – I can’t wait to get back to running after PT gives me green light!


  52. says

    I’m working from home now and I’m terrible with getting up to workout because I think, oh I can do it any time during the day…and then it doesn’t end up happening! I really admire your dedication, and this post is totally motivating me to get on a more disciplined schedule!


  53. says

    That’s great that you’ve found a schedule that works for you! I’m definitely an afternoon exerciser. If it gets too late I stay up too late, and I have never been an early riser. I’m impressed that people can do it!


  54. says

    I think it’s great that you’re stil so motivated to get up and work out even though you could put it off during the day. It shows commitment and a dedication to both your health and your job as a full-time blogger. And it’s great motivation for the rest of us!


  55. says

    I’m with you on the early morning workouts! Even on my days off I always try to get there early because I know if I wait until AFTER breakfast to go, I’m less likely to actually go. And I hate when the gym is packed with people – it just makes me want to leave.


  56. Colleen says

    Hi Julie! I’m a new reader and am so amazed by your ability to get up so early every morning!
    I’m wondering what you eat before you work out to keep your energy levels up so early in the morning? Or do you go straight ot the gym and eat a big breakfast afterwards? I’ve tried a bunch snacks before early morning workouts and can’t seem to get it right. Thanks!


    • says

      hey colleen! i usually don’t eat anything before my workouts on weekdays b/c i get really crampy if i eat w/in an hour of working out and don’t wanna wake up at 4 a.m. to eat. on weekends i always eat before a workout since i know i’ll have more time to digest.


  57. says

    I, too, am a morning “work-outer”. I find that if I put off working out, I am not as apt to do it or get as good of a work out in for the day!

    I wake up about 4:45 in the mornings-I do feel better at work & throughout the day. Helps making a “desk job” more bearable!


  58. Rachel says

    Hi Julie! I’m a fan of your blog a such long time but i’ve never comment before..sorry for the poor english, i’m from Brazil, state of Sao Paulo. I’m 30 and my daughter is Julia. My workout is also 5:30 in the morning, in the gym that my husband works as jiu-jitsu coach, because the weather is not too hot like later (now is 42 celsius degrees here). You make my days happyer and motivated to carry on!!! Thanks


  59. says

    I’m with you.. even when I don’t have work or anything else to do for the day I always prefer to get my workout done super early.. I definitely get more done in the day and if I want to swim or some other activity I still have a ton of time.


  60. karina says

    Julie … do you eat before working out in the mornings? I don’t think I would be able to work out on an empty stomach but am stuck on a light alternative. Love your blog (& Sadie too!)


    • says

      i don’t on weekdays b/c i get really crampy if i eat w/in an hour of working out and don’t wanna wake up at 4 a.m. to eat. on weekends i always eat before a workout since i know i’ll have more time to digest.


  61. says

    I always feel like I’ve accomplished so much by the time I get to work in the morning after I’ve already worked out! Granted getting up at 5:15 isn’t ‘fun’, but by the time I get to the gym I’ve usually forgotten how bad it was to get up! The only part I don’t like is walking to the gym in the dark that early… cold and spooky! Makes me walk extra fast!!
    I also like to workout in the morning on the weekends too… If i delay it I loose motivation and get lazy, sad but true!


  62. says

    I could never. I can’t even get UP at 5 am. Let alone workout. On 6 am wake-up days I still need at least an hour before I leave the house. NOT a morning person. But I do like getting to bed early, though that doesn’t happen often since I have my boyfriend and we are usually up quite late.


  63. says

    I totally hear ya on the early morning workouts. I actually found that, for the 4-5 months that I was unemployed, early morning workouts were the only thing that would actually get up and moving for the day. Otherwise, I’d dilly-dally around, and before I knew, half my day was shot. But with getting up and moving right away, it definitely made for some much more productive days!
    P.S. – I miss your face 😉


  64. says

    I totally agree. I’m still in school (going into high school– am I one of your youngest readers? :P) and I have to workout at 4-5 P.M. and by then my energy is almost all gone! I love working out on the weekends or on holidays because then I get to start my day with a workout! 🙂


  65. Daybelis says

    Hey I am new to your blog and I am so happy I found it. I am a recovered anorexic and these type of blogs help me see that being healthy is possible with enjoying life too. You don’t restrict and enjoy treats yet you are healthy and exercise and overall you look beautiful.you are a role model to all those girls out there who don’t enjoy their youth by restricting calories and not indulging once in a while.I also concur with you I need t workout early in the morning because if I don’t it wont happen any time soon lol. Again love your blog!


  66. says

    I ran Cross-Country and Track in college, and I thought working out anytime before 8AM was crazy. However, I’m now a teacher and leave to get to school at 6:30AM, and now really enjoy waking up at 4:50 to workout! It’s crazy how much things change overtime 🙂


  67. Stephanie says

    Totally agree that getting a workout in nice and early just sets the tone for the rest of the day! Love feeling productive before the sun even comes up! But still, if I was able to make my own schedule I dont’ know if I could stick to getting up that early! Major props.


  68. Ida says

    I should workout in the mornings too. I love how I felt when I did it once :p Does it make a difference whether or not you eat before? I always take wheatgrass/spirulina/etc mix of greens as soon as I wake up.


  69. Anne Marie says

    Hi Julie! I am new to the blog and I already love it! I’ve been wanting to step up my strength training and this is exactly what I needed to do that! I too am a morning girl and I love to get up and start my day with a 5-mile run before I head to work, but the early starts are causing early ends to my days. How do you keep up your energy level throughout the day? By 9pm I am exhausted! Looking forward to reading more!

    Anne Marie


  70. says

    I just found your jump rope workout before heading to the gym and I am off to try it out right now! I started incorporating jump rope a couple of months ago, and I love how it gets your heart pumping. And I get up at 5AM to work out too so I totally hear you. I wouldn’t change it even if I did work from home. It’s such a great way to start the day!


  71. Amber says

    I LOVE this banana oatmeal recipe! I have a quicker similar version that Ive been hooked on for a few months. A girlfriend of mine (who is also a KD) and I share a GNC card and have fun with their flavored protein powders and the quality of it. I blend a scoop of the banana protein powder with a cup of soy milk in my blender ball and then pour it into a cup of the plain instant oatmeal after I cook it with water in the microwave for a minute. If I have fresh bananas its an extra treat, and if not, it still takes less than 2 minutes and is delicious. Your blog is WONDERFUL and I love your inspiration and dedication!



  72. Rachel says

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and I love it! I just have a random question: what do you use to make those fun images for your workouts?


  73. Alaina says

    Julie, I know it’s probably freaking you out that you get a new comment on a post from years ago, but I found this recipe after searching for protein powder + oatmeal on pinterest and this came up! Funny enough, I regularly read your blog, so I’m surprised I didn’t see this recipe sooner. Anyhow, I was curious if you are able to prevent the protein powder from making the texture of the oatmeal gritty…I always seem to have that problem. Is it gritty for you?



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