How many times have you told yourself you were going to hit the gym before work, only to fall victim to the allure of the snooze button, breakfast, or the news? Whether you’re a fresh college graduate looking to follow a routine or a seasoned employee searching for a way to maximize your time and improve your fitness, going to the gym before work has many benefits.
Hitting the treadmill or weight bench before you head into the office is a sound idea in theory. However, there are many obstacles that can easily prevent you from getting the job done. For some individuals, this is a struggle, while others can acclimate with less effort. All you need to do is figure out what motivates you and adhere to a schedule.
Working out in the morning comes with a number of benefits, but only to those that can stay dedicated to a program. While there are a plethora of positive aspects from a morning workout routine, the most positive aspect is a work/life balance. Straight out of the gate, you’ve already done something to improve your mood and health before you even start to think about what’s at work. This also takes a task off your plate and gives you time for family life and other activities in the evening. While it’s not for everyone, exercise before work is something that every person should at least consider before scrapping the idea.
Like anything else regarding exercise, the hardest part is starting and then following a routine. However, this isn’t easy. According to Bodybuilding.com, 73 percent of people who start a workout as part of a New Year’s resolution fail to follow through and quit within a few months. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this type of person is lazy. It’s all about what you do to get ready each morning for your workout.
To make the transition easier, start to prepare for your workout the night before. Gather your clothes, food, toiletries, and gym bag during the evening so you aren’t stressing and scrambling the next morning. If you do it right, it should take you no more than 15 minutes to wake up and head out the door.
If you find that you can plan easily, but it still doesn’t help you get up, you need extra motivation. There are several ways to gain this motivation, and each person has something different that works for them. If you aren’t a morning person, try setting three, four, or even five alarms each morning. You can set them all at once or stagger them for every five minutes.
With this many alarms and snoozes, it’s not long before it becomes unbearable and you’re ready to get up. For some extra help, you may even want to add a little note that inspires you to head to the gym. This could be a goal you have or simply a “You can do it!” If you can manage it, just remind yourself of how good you’ll look and feel after hitting the gym.
Another tip for getting up is to avoid your generic phone alarm tone and put something on a bit more upbeat. It all depends on your tastes, but waking up to some hard rock like Rage Against the Machine or some EDM like Tiesto can really light a fire under your rear.
To increase the chances you wake up in the morning, you should also start going to bed earlier. While turning in at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. may seem ridiculously early, it’s not that bad once you get used to it. In addition, you should actually go to bed. This means that the iPod, mobile devices, the television, and laptop all go off when your head hits the pillow. When these devices stay on during the night, it disrupts your sleep and you wake up groggy and unrested.
You don’t have to eat breakfast at home, and often it’s more convenient to scarf down a protein shake or protein bar on the way to the gym. However, making breakfast at home forces you to get out of bed and start your day. Plus, the thought of a delicious breakfast may just be enough to give you a jolt out of bed.
Once you’ve decided that a nice breakfast is in order, don’t pound down a donut or sugary cereal. Instead, opt for something healthy. It will energize your workout, promote general health, and keep you from crashing later in the day. Eggs, fresh fruit, coffee, and oatmeal are all easy to prepare in just a few minutes. Plus, these foods are relatively low in calories, and you don’t have to feel like you need to run 10 miles to cancel out the caloric intake.
If you love to eat, morning workouts are also perfect for rationalizing a second breakfast. Without the workout, eating twice in the morning is a bit gluttonous. Eating after a workout, however, helps boost your metabolism while giving you some extra sustenance to start the day. Smoothies, protein shakes, or toast with almond butter are all healthy choices that give you the energy you need.
Now that you’ve hopped out of bed, had your breakfast, and are somewhat awake, it’s time for you to actually hit the gym and get a worthwhile workout. All you need to do is figure out what works for you. Many people stick solely to either weightlifting or cardio, while others do a combination of the two. The hardest part here is to find the perfect exercise regimen to motivate you while giving you the results you want.
If you’re just starting to work out, don’t feel like you have to go crazy when you hit the gym. Do something that’s challenging, yet not exhausting. This will keep you from crashing after the workout and keep you more alert throughout the day.
Another way to get you out of bed and on a good workout program is to do the job with someone else. When you’re supposed to meet someone at the gym, you won’t skip out. Plus, a seasoned workout veteran can help you with a workout program that works for you. This includes maintaining proper form when weightlifting, as well as routines that help burn fat, increase fitness, or whatever else you’re wanting.
There are many pros when you go to the gym before work, and some take place at the gym, while others emerge after you leave. Even if you aren’t a morning person, research shows that most people are far more alert when they wake up than at any other time during the day. This elevated level of alertness helps improve your gym routine, while also offering a higher level of performance and interest on the job.
Another positive aspect of morning workouts is that they improve your overall health in more ways than one. Obviously, an increased fitness level has beneficial effects on your body, and when you’re pleased with your appearance, your mental health gets a boost as well. You’ll also enjoy an enhanced metabolism, which helps you burn fat faster and more efficiently.
While a better mindset and a healthier body are amazing assets of a morning workout, a strong sense of self-discipline is also a boon. If you can continue to adhere to the morning schedule, it usually spills out into other areas of your life. You may become more focused, productive, or a combination of the two, and it all started with getting your butt out of bed.
With so many benefits of going to the gym before work, it seems like there couldn’t possibly be any downfalls. While the pros outweigh the cons, there are still some aspects that require your attention. One of the biggest problems with morning workouts is that your body isn’t quite as warm as it is in the evening. This makes you more susceptible to injury, so you’ll want to do a thorough stretch beforehand.
Heading to the gym is one of the best decisions you can make in your personal life and career, as it improves nearly every aspect of your life. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go and see what a difference a day makes.
Originally published at www.wework.com