Saturday, 4 July 2015

7 tips to help you wake up for your morning workout

Everyone is different but I know that if I get my workout in first thing in the morning, I function better for the rest of the day. I also know that if I plan a workout in the afternoon, despite all my good intentions, I'm a lot less likely to actually do it. Getting a workout out of the way first thing leaves you ready to tackle the rest of your day, full of energy.

I love mornings now, but it hasn't always been this way. I used to hate them and it would take me several goes on the snooze button before I'd consider getting out of bed. I knew something had to change if I was going to be able to get my workouts in and get started properly in the lifestyle I envisioned for myself. So I workout out a plan and within two weeks, I'd cracked it.

If you want to start owning your mornings too, here are seven tips to help make it happen:

1. Wake up at the same time every day.

At least for the first few weeks, set your alarm an hour earlier and get yourself out of bed whether you have a workout planned or not. You need to retrain your body for the earlier start and at first, let's be honest, it's not going to be pretty. You're going to be tired and you're going to question why you're bothering at all, but after a few weeks of pushing through the fog I promise it will suddenly click in to place and become, dare I say it, normal.

2. Go to bed an hour earlier.

Getting up an hour earlier shouldn't mean losing sleep. Sleep is vital to your fitness goals, with studies showing how even minor sleep deprivation can lead to less effective workouts, higher sugar cravings, hunger and reduction in weight loss compared to those who get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, so don't skimp on yours.

3. Don't go to bed dehydrated.

Chugging water before you go to bed isn't a great idea unless you want disrupted sleep and endless trips to the loo, but going to bed dehydrated will make you wake up feeling groggy, tired and a lot more likely to ignore that alarm. To combat this, make sure you stay well hydrated throughout the day and in to the evening, and have a glass of water ready to drink first thing in the morning to replace what you naturally lose through the night.

4. Prepare your gym bag the night before.

You want to get the most out of the extra time you've given yourself and to make life as easy as possible - spending half an hour stumbling around your room searching for a sports bra is not the way to do that. Whether you're hitting the gym or just your front room, give yourself a helping hand by preparing everything you need the night before: lay out what you're going to wear, pack your bag and fill up your water bottle. Now you just need to roll out of bed and go!

5. Leave your curtains open.

This won't work for everyone, but I've found that leaving the curtains cracked open to allow the sunlight in before the alarm goes off really helps me to wake up gently and gradually so that the alarm isn't so much of a shock. Obviously once the dark winter mornings creep in, this tip is null and void... but hopefully by then you'll love your morning workout enough to power through!

6. Make a plan, set a goal.

It's hard to wake up with determination if you're not clear exactly what you're waking up for. Make things easier for yourself by following a workout plan or making up your own. Set a clear goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning! That goal can be anything: to see ab definition, to increase your weights or reps, or to simply to feel bikini confident in time for your next holiday. And once you reach it? Make a new plan, set a new goal!

7. Prepare some visual motivation.

Print out a quote or a picture of someone (or something) that inspires you to reach your goal and put it somewhere you'll see when you open your eyes in the morning. It will give you the boost you need and remind you why you're doing this for yourself. Another option is to set the image as your phone's home screen, or both!

Good luck! You can do this, and once you do, you'll really start to value your mornings and your workouts. Watch out world - another smug and irritating morning person is about to be born!