Working out isn’t easy. Getting up early is even harder. Put those two together and your brain has PLENTY of material to work with to try to convince you not to get up. Try these tips to make the most important part of your day easier!
1. Get public about it.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried getting a “gym buddy” and then you both flaked out after three days. Yep, me too. “Omg, we’ll totally work out together and text each other when we work out at the same time!” And then it’s just a week of “Oh yeah sorry I couldn’t work out this morning, [excuse]” back and forth until you die.
I have always hid my attempts at weight loss. I never wanted anyone to know, because then they might see my weakness and laugh at me for trying. I was afraid of failing and having everyone see that failure.
By doing that, I was quitting before I even started. I didn’t yet have the intrinsic motivation to keep myself going. I was motivated by fear and shame, not by this internal positivity that made me want to change. There were times that I would grab my belly fat and pull on it and hope it just disappeared.
I post every workout on Facebook because the support I get from friends and family is helping me keep going. I’m not necessarily afraid of failing and having them see the failure, but the support they’ve given me is so valuable that I want them to see that they’re helping (does that even make any sense??). I usually post around 6:30 in the morning, so if I post at a different time, people notice. Getting public on social media helps keep me on schedule because I want to show consistency and commitment.
Sharing a sweaty selfie or one of the moves I’m proud of, along with a caption of what’s on my mind at that time, helps show progress but also opens up a conversation with the people who help motivate me.
2. Put the phone in another room.
Depending on your opinion of how connected/addicted we are to our phones, this may be a tip you want to follow, or it could be one you are tempted to ignore. I am of the opinion that most of us are way too attached to our phones, so much so that it’s the first thing we look at in the morning.
I have a tendency to just stare at Facebook for half an hour in the morning while fighting off sleep. It used to be a way of tricking myself into thinking I was awake, when in reality I might as well have been sleeping, because I wasn’t actually doing anything productive with the morning. If I remove the phone from the room entirely, I have to actually get out of bed and go downstairs to get it.
The idea here is that if I want to do my favorite thing (do nothing for 20 minutes), I first have to earn it by doing some of the things I don’t like (getting out of bed and putting workout gear on). I don’t want to go downstairs, get my phone, and come back up, so my only option is to put on my workout clothes and then go downstairs. Then, since I’m already downstairs, I’m more likely to work out because I’m already in my workout space.
3. Give yourself permission to suck.
This particular piece of advice applies to a lot of areas of our lives, and I have a whole post about it. Another good way of saying this is to change your expectations. If you tell yourself you absolutely have to do 30 minutes of cardio, but you still hate cardio, your brain is going to throw every excuse at you to avoid it. But it’s way easier to get out of bed knowing you only have to work out for 20 minutes instead of 30. Mentally it feels like a cheat because I’ve set my expectation low, and even though I know I’m intentionally tricking myself, it still always works.
Since I’ve given myself permission to only do 20 minutes, my brain says, “Oh, only 20 minutes? I can do that. As soon as I hit 20 minutes I get to be done, even if there’s more time left!” And do you know what happens once I get up and start working out, even though I’ve intentionally tricked myself? I always feel like doing the full 30 minutes. Anything after 20 minutes is a win!
Also, I modify exercises. I’m not quite at the fitness level where I can do push-ups up on my toes, and I avoid getting on the floor as much as possible. I use a chair to modify some moves, and I slow down others. That doesn’t mean I’m not getting a good workout or that this qualifies as “sucking,” but it helps me get through it at a level that is still challenging, but that I can still complete.
4. Let’s be honest…drink a pre-workout supplement.
I’m not going to sit here and say that my early morning sessions are purely unassisted. 5am comes early and I’m not great at getting enough sleep. I drink my liquid gold on the days I work out. I put the powder in a shaker cup before bed and put it on my nightstand. In the morning, after I’m done pressing snooze, I fill it up with water, shake it, and drink it in bed. It gives me enough of a jolt without raising my heart rate to little-kid-sugar-high levels, and by the time it kicks in, I’m ready to get dressed, go downstairs, and get it done. (And, because my phone is downstairs, I’m not tempted to stay in bed and aimlessly scroll for 30 minutes!)
- Get public about it. Find an accountability partner or active group and make your goals public.
- Don’t make your phone the first thing you see in the morning. Reduce the temptation to sit in your bed and scroll yourself back to sleep. Leave it downstairs or in another room so you physically have to get up to go get it.
- Give yourself permission to suck! Set small, achievable goals. If 20 minutes is all your brain can handle, do that. Don’t tell yourself you have to do more than you’re willing, because when your brain sees that mountain, it’s going to give you every excuse not to get up.
- Drink a pre-workout supplement. This one is my favorite, but really any (legal) substance that perks you up will work! You aren’t cheating if you need a little caffeine!
Leave your best takeaway from this article and get accountability and support in your own fitness journey in the totally free Plus Size Fit Life Facebook group, and follow Allison Does Fitness on Facebook and Instagram.