9 Weeks — that’s what you get if you wake up one hour earlier every day. 365 hours, 45 days, 9 8-hour work-weeks. Crazy isn’t it? To get that advantage you need to build the habit of getting up earlier.
Unfortunately it’s the same old story: You have the best of intentions. You are going to get up early and get to Boot Camp so you don’t look like 180 lbs. of chewed bubblegum wearing a dress at your 20-year reunion.You know you don’t have the time/motivation/energy/childcare/want-to, to do it after 7 a.m. and you know you desperately want to lose the weight. And time is running out. But then the alarm goes off. You groan, hit snooze, throw it through the window, whatever, but you don’t get up. You’ll get back with it tomorrow, or maybe the day after that.
Morning workouts are great, but they can’t do anything for you if you don’t actually get out of bed and go.
The vast majority of highly successful people get up early and get going. And because they know they’ll get more out of their day, more money in the bank and more golden years to enjoy their accomplishments, they exercise first thing in the morning.
Just like any habit, getting up early can be learned and made into as habit, but you need some strategies.
Here are some tips to get up, get moving and ensure you get more years out of your life and life out of your years!:
- Get up at the same time every day for 30 days. No matter what time you go to bed use self-discipline to get up those first 30 days. Self-Discipline only works for a while buy it lasts long enough to get you into the habit. Your habit will become more automatic the second 30 days.
- Go to bed when you’re tired. Your body will naturally adjust your shut down time to help you meet your recovery needs. This is the forcing mechanism of waking up the same time every day. Your body and mind will automatically ensure you get enough sleep to perform your best.
- Put your alarm on the other side of the room, so when it goes off you have to actually get up and out of bed to turn it off. That way you are up and moving already and you won’t crawl back into bed to go to sleep.
- This will sound strange, but it works like learning a new exercise. Train yourself to kick yourself out of bed. During the day, lay down and set the alarm 2 minutes ahead. Then lay back and relax. When the alarm sounds get to your feet as fast as possible. Do 5-10 repetitions/cycles for a week. You will be amazed how fast this kicks in. But you have to practice so your body will react automatically when the alarm sounds.
- Lights On! And the brighter the better. If you can’t kick the lights on in the bedroom, turn them on in the kitchen/bathroom wherever you get ready. Don’t slow down.
- Lay out your workout clothes next to your bed the night before, including shoes. The more you can streamline your morning routine, the less you have to think about it. The less overwhelming getting up and getting going will seem. You can even sleep in your workout clothes if you want to. I promise No One is looking at you at 6am.
- Along the same vein, prep breakfast the night before. Get it as close to ready to go as possible (oatmeal already in a bowl with a spoon, etc) or have ready-to-go breakfasts you can eat on your way. Keep it bland: oatmeal and half a banana are popular choices. GU (100 calories, use the caffeinated selection) is good if you need energy but nausea is a problem.
- Set a coffee timer — the caffeine gives your workout an extra boost. I always tell new clients that if they drink coffee in the morning Do Not Stop Now. You will need it to power you through your workouts . And nothing is worse than trying to build a good habit and having caffeine withdrawals at the same time.
- Have an appointment. Having someone looking for you to be somewhere at 6am will do a lot to diminish that self-defeating inertia. Camps are great “get there no matter what” motivators because you may let yourself down. You may let me down. But you won’t let your friends down.
- On your non-exercise days have a reason to get up. Catch up on your reading or projects you just can’t get to at any other time. And enjoy the fact you’re making the most of every minute of the day.
No excuses. An hour or two earlier can, over time, put you closer to your goals like nothing else can. Prove to yourself you can do this. No one has ever come to me and said they regretted getting out of bed that morning to train.
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I’m a huge advocate of getting up early, but I’m not sure if the “9 extra weeks” argument is really valid. Getting up an hour earlier usually dictates going to bed one hour earlier as well. I guess this can be offset if you’re increasing your energy by using that early hour to train but…