The best motivational tips and habit forming methods to wake up early for your morning workout from a mom and trainer.
Another day coming to an end that you wanted to, no, you meant to exercise but didn’t. You meant to get in your daily sweat. You meant to be one workout closer to your fitness goals.
But another day of unforseen mishaps, errands, overscheduling, and maybe even excuses got the better of you and maintaining a consistent workout routine. This leads me to confidently declare my next statement, not just as a trainer, but as a busy mom like you.
The best time to workout is first thing in the morning
Making a habit to wake up early for your morning workout minimizes and eliminates the hurdles and excuses that slowly build up throughout the day. Things like lack of time, fatigue, after school homework, poor timing, overtime at work, or whatever else demands your time and attention.
I have been on both sides of this issue.
As a trainer, I have heard so many clients struggle to stay consistent in their fitness because the day-to-days of life took up their schedule. I am there for support and motivation, but they have to get to the gym so I can actually help.
Personally, I discovered that mornings are the best time to workout and be productive as a busy mom. I am fresh(ish) for the day, the kids are asleep, and I get to start my day off with some always needed me-time.
I love to wake up to a morning workout. It’s my favorite way to start the day.
I get a natural mood boost, feel energized to play and care for my kids, and more motivated to do all the crummy have-to’s on my list. Plus, I tend make healthier food choices throughout the day.
My cravings are more muted, I don’t want to “undo” my progress with junk food or empty calories, and late night snacking is less enticing because I want a good night’s sleep and to avoid feeling sick in the morning.
Although early morning is my tried and true favorite time to exercise, it doesn’t happen overnight (yes, pun intended).
Why is it so hard for me to workout in the morning?
You’re feeling motivated and ready to start that morning workout routine. However, when your alarm goes off at 6 a.m., you groan, hit snooze, and tell yourself you will try again tomorrow. What happened to your inspiration and “go get ’em” attitude? Take a moment and think what is really getting in your way.
Poor sleep quality, lack of a goal or routine, unrealistic expectations, and poor preparation may be holding you back from waking up for your morning workout.
Poor sleep quality
Staying up late, eating junk food or heavy meals close to bedtime, playing on your phone instead of sleeping, leaving the TV on all night, and hitting that snooze button multiple times are all things that can get in the way of a good night’s rest.
Lack of goal or routine
Having a goal that is grounded in your life’s purpose and health will motivate you much more on those rough mornings full of EXCUSES. Losing weight so you have the energy to keep up with your toddlers is more likely to get you out of bed than fitting into that one dress for your friend’s wedding.
It’s also important to create and hold a routine. Make a habit and wake up at the same time everyday, even on non-workout days. Try to get your kids on a sleep schedule (as much as you can, easier said than done) so you can count on predictable wake windows. Routine is key to maintaining consistency and predictability.
Do everything you can to set yourself up in the morning to maximize sleep and minimize getting ready time so you can’t talk yourself out of it. Lay out your clothes at night or even wear them to bed. Set your alarm far enough away that you have to sit up or stand to turn it off. Pack your gym bag and leave it by the door. Pick your workout the night before. Head straight for the bathroom to brush your teeth for a quick wake-me-up. Set yourself up to successfully wake up for your morning workout.
Life is filled with seasons. Weather, phases of life, stress, and even fitness level. Do you have a newborn or toddler that is up all night? Is it summertime and the sun comes up at 6 a.m., along with your kids? Are you required to a lot of overtime at work and lack personal time? Are you just getting started in fitness and trying to establish too many changes at once? All of these are real and valid reasons that you may need to adjust your expectations that morning workouts do not fit into your life right now. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get in your daily workout! You just might need to schedule it in based on each day or be flexible with the opportunities you have.
How to wake up early to workout?
After figuring out what has been holding you back, make an action plan to get started.
Start by setting a goal that answer’s your “why”, break your bad habits, establish a routine, and hold yourself accountable.
Begin by using my effective goal setting method to set a fitness goal that is grounded in something beyond aesthetics. There is nothing wrong for having “body goals.” However, keep in mind that those kinds of goals are easily ignored. It’s much more motivating to have a goal that is focused on your role and purpose in life or performance achievement. Having a “why.” Such as having the endurance to practice soccer with your kids. Or to strengthen your core for reduced back pain. These kinds of “why’s” hit deeper than wanting a bikini body.
Break unhealthy habits that are getting in the way of your sleep and morning motivation. Waking up groggy, tired, and ill-prepared will slow you down and give you an opportunity to push off your workout.
Next, you must train yourself to wake up early by establishing a routine. Set your internal clock by making yourself wake up everyday at the same time. Turn on your alarm and get out of bed when it goes off.
Once you have that down, get in the habit of working out in the morning by developing a consistent routine of elevating your heart rate everyday upon waking.
Maybe that is with some mobility, committing to a warm up, or just a quick 10-minute workout. (Pssst! I have an entire playlist of 10-minute workouts you can try here!). Firing up your muscles and increasing circulation will give you a little boost to get going.
Finally, start holding yourself accountable. Whether that is having your family, a friend, or even my FREE Accountability Chart keep you on track with check-in’s or a regular progress report.
Get up, move, and start your day off feeling great. You will get in your daily sweat and feel energized for the day. Soon enough, that will be the only motivation you need to wake up for your morning workout.
Can you lift weights first thing in the morning?
If you are ever unsure about making an adjustment to your fitness routine, check in with your physician first. If you don’t have a reason to otherwise, go for it!
In the mornings we tend to be stiff and tight.
When weight lifting in the morning, be sure to take time to do a thorough warm-up first. This includes dynamic stretching and full range-of-motion exercises to safely prepare for weight lifting along with muscular activation. You must make sure that your heart rate is elevated for proper circulation and that the muscles are ready to fire at the intensity you are going to work with.
You don’t want to go for your One-Rep Max Squat after only a handful of jumping jacks and bodyweight squats. Build up your intensity gradually through your warm-up with supplemental exercises.
How to work out in the morning without feeling sick?
Staying properly hydrated before, during, and after exercise is always important to reduce feeling ill from your workout, regardless of time.
Since it is morning, eating breakfast before may or may not be for you. Everyone is different. Some people may suffer from health complications if they skip, like low blood sugar, dizziness, fainting, etc. Check in with your doctor first to find out what is safest for you.
Personally, I feel best when I workout on an empty stomach with a little water. It may take some time to get used to that though. If you are somebody that feels best with a little something in their system, then by all means have something light to eat first. I would suggest that you give yourself a good 30 minutes after eating before you start your workout.
Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD states, “As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to eat immediately before a workout because while your muscles are trying to do their “thing,” your stomach is trying to simultaneously digest the food in your stomach. These competing demands are a challenge for optimal performance. And, even more of a factor, eating too close to a workout may cause you to experience some GI discomfort while you train…” (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2019).
You also may need to adjust your intensity, format, or environment if you find yourself feeling unwell during your morning workouts. Try doing lower intensity workouts, non-impact training, or dressing in layers to ensure that you are not overheating.
Mohr, C.R. (2019) Timing your pre and Post Workout Nutrition, Timing Your Pre and Post Workout Nutrition. Available at: https://www.eatright.org/fitness/physical-activity/exercise-nutrition/timing-your-pre-and-post-workout-nutrition (Accessed: 11 January 2024).