June 9, 2014

in fitness lately

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^^This is Shelby - my fellow Biker Barre instructor/friend. She teaches after my 6AM on Mondays! ^^

Good morning, friends!  Happy Monday!  I taught my 6AM class this morning and I will admit that I am struggling today.  I didn’t necessarily follow all my tips presented below for surviving early morning workouts (hello pizza for dinner and too many episodes of Orange is the New Black) so it seemed like a good time to publish this post!

Despite feeling off today, I’ve been loving the early morning workouts.  Both for logistical reasons (my nights are mostly consumed with school) and for the happy-go-lucky feeling I get when I’m done.  With no option to hit snooze now that I teach twice a week at 6AM, I’ve had to make some adjustments to my routine.  As someone who used to hate working out in the morning, here’s why my opinion changed:

1. You get your workout over with and can enjoy the rest of your day

No more feeling frustrated when work gets out late and you miss your favorite fitness class and no more feeling guilty when you opt out of going to the gym in favor of a work happy hour.  **bonus: the gym is always less crowded in the mornings, too!

2. It’s a positive start a new day

How can you not feel good about yourself after doing something good for your body right away?  Not to mention, the endorphin rush is exhilarating.  Positive attitudes all around.

3. You set yourself up for success

When you put the effort into starting your day in a healthy way, you’re more likely to continue that trend throughout the day.  You sacrificed sleep to sweat – stay strong and make healthy decisions!

4. You find a niche

It’s really cool as an instructor (and client!) to see the same faces coming to morning classes.  It almost feels like a little workout family.  It’s the same concept as the ‘runners nod,’  (I’ve coined the term ‘runner’s nod’ as the small gesture or smile that runners give one another on the street.  It’s like a secret ‘handshake’ that says, ‘I know what you’re going through.’  It’s awesome!)

So, if you’re starting to consider trying some early morning workouts, or if you’ve tried early morning workouts in the past and they’ve failed, here are some tips to try:

 1. Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!

This is probably the most important factor to working out in the mornings.  When I don’t get enough sleep the night before my 5 AM wake-up, I am miserable for the rest of the day.  The mornings when I do get 7+ hours of sleep, I feel refreshed and am able to keep a steady energy level throughout the day. No more fighting through crashes!

Tip: Make sure you get ‘ready’ for bed an hour before you actually want to sleep.  Read a book, write in a journal (I do not recommend watching anything or scanning the internet since the light can actually keep you from getting sleepy.)

 2. What you eat & drink before and after the workout

This is a pretty obvious one, but it’s critical to make sure you’re eating a good dinner the night before your AM workout, a snack before the workout in the morning, and a healthy, protein-filled breakfast after you’ve finished working out.  For example:

  • Dinner: salmon, kale and brown rice
  • Pre-workout: banana and peanut butter/almond butter (can also add a piece of toast)
  • Post-workout: eggs & spinach or loaded oatmeal (I usually have oatmeal, milk, nuts and fruit.)

Avoid sugar!  Most protein bars are full of sugar and I don’t recommend eating them before workouts (fruit juice is included as no-no too – plus, the acidity can upset your stomach.)  Also, coffee can help give an energy boost  but if you’re dehydrated, caffeine will only make it worse. Save that cup until after you’re finished with the workout!

And most importantly…hydrate! Drinking enough water the day before is so important!  The workouts that I struggle through the most are the ones when I didn’t drink enough water the day before, or I ate a lot of salt/sugar.

3. Test your alarm before going to bed

Have you ever had a restless night’s sleep because you were worried about not waking up?  It’s the worst!  I set multiple alarms now (and I always test my alarms the night before) so that I can go to sleep knowing that I will get up in the morning.  I also set 1 alarm that doesn’t give me the option of pressing snooze…as soon as this one goes off, I know it’s time to get out of bed!

4. Find a workout buddy

It’s a great way to hold each other accountable and it makes working out more fun! Plus, then you can grab coffee together afterwards and feel awesome about yourselves 🙂

5. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust

When you’re not used to waking up early and working out, it can be a shock to your system.  Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the new schedule.  You’re not going to feel great after your very first 6AM workout – believe me, the 3PM crash is unavoidable at the beginning!  Eventually, you will find a routine that works for you.

Okay – your turn!  Who prefers early morning workouts?  Any other tips out there?

***If you’re in the DC area and want to come to one of my spinning classes, type in the code LAURENSENTME for a free workout! (new Biker Barre clients only)

  • http://www.katielookingforward.com Katie

    I love a morning workout. But it has to be with a group. By myself I am too tired, and can’t get energized. I don’t eat before I workout unless I have 30 minutes to digest before I start moving (which only happens on the weekends).

    • Lauren

      Yes, I totally agree with you – I need a group workout to motivate me (and actually, I typically prefer a group workout no matter what time of day.)

      I’ve tried working out a few times without eating first and learned the hard way that my body cannot handle it. Even if I just have a spoonful of peanut butter or a banana, it helps!

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