24 Morning Workout Tips That Are Actually Helpful
by: HANNAH NEWMAN
We know not everyone is a morning person. (And even fewer of us are eager to wake up and hit the gym.) But getting up and moving can actually be an amazing way to start your day.
While the best time to exercise depends on your schedule and your body, the odds are in favor of morning workouts. Think about it: You won’t have to trudge to the gym after a long day of work, you may sleep better, and you’re more likely to actually get it done if you do it before other (sometimes more fun) options come up. (Who wants to say no to happy hour?!)
Sure, you may have heard the usual tips and tricks, but what hacks do people who consistently work out in the early a.m. use? We asked those who know best—a mix of people who train for a living, Greatist staffers, and you, our dear readers—to find out what gets them up and at ‘em at the crack of dawn.
From the Experts
1. Cool down to warm up.
“I ride a Citi Bike to the gym to teach—even in the winter. Those single-digit temperatures and bitter breeze smack me so hard in the face, I don’t even need a cup of coffee!” — Ryan Wilke, co-founder of Throwback Fitness
2. Set two alarms.
“The first one lets me know I have 15 more minutes to sleep, which makes me happy. Then I meditate for 10 minutes, drink an almond milk cappuccino, play music (pretty loud—sorry, neighbors!), and throw on a super-bright Nike outfit. Caffeine. Clear Head. Neon. I’m out the door and ready to take on the day.” — Holly Rilinger, Nike Master Trainer, Flywheel Master Instructor, and co-creator of BeachFIT
3. Pack accordingly and get in bed early.
“Every evening I check to see what the morning workout will be and prepare my bag accordingly (not every day is a jump rope day). On weekdays I’m in bed no later than 10:30 p.m., so my 6:30 a.m. alarm doesn’t feel quite so brutal. I’m ready and out the door within 10 minutes.” — Sandee Shin, CrossFit Virtuosity athlete
4. Flip a switch.
“Blinding light as soon as the alarm goes off always makes me realize I don’t want to go back to sleep. Then I turn on some tunes—on days I need extra help I’ll go for Drake or Nikki—and grab my first cup of coffee rather than the covers.” — Jessi Kneeland, personal trainer and creator of Remodel Fitness
5. Have a delicious breakfast ready and waiting.
“When I’m looking at another 5 a.m. wake up call, I’ll pre-order my favorite smoothie from my go-to smoothie shop to be delivered to the box early the next morning. Once I hit that send button, I know I have get up early—not just so I can eat it, but to make sure nobody else eats it (which, yes, has almost happened). I even label my alarm to say: ‘Get your damn Liquiteria.'” — Sarah Pope, assistant coach at Brick New York
6. Keep the alarm away from your bed.
“In fact, I used to have an alarm clock that would purposely vibrate off my nightstand, then shake and roll all over the floor so I had to chase it to shut it off! For me, the hardest part is that initial physical act of getting my body out of bed. It’s all downhill from there!” —Brian Gallagher, co-founder of Throwback Fitness
7. Make it a habit.
“Life is about habits, both big and small. So to get to the bigger goal of working out in the morning, I stick to small habits along the way, like placing my alarm clock in my kitchen. As I brush my teeth, I ask myself: What will I gain from staying awake instead of going back to bed? The answer is always ‘a lot,’ because a couple extra hours of uninterrupted time is enormous, whether it’s spent at a desk or in the gym.” — Adam Griffin, founder of Bodeefit
8. Prep your clothes—and a playlist.
9. Wear red and grab a mint.
“Most of my workout clothes are red. The color’s known to increase excitement, energy levels, and circulation, and for me it really works to get me going. I also pop in a peppermint Altoid, which I’ve done ever since my collegiate track and field days. Peppermint can create alertness, which is something I need running through Central Park in the early a.m. The only thing that I haven’t mastered is remembering my keys, which sometimes makes my workouts a bit longer than originally planned.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity trainer
10. Coffee = life.
“I drink as much coffee as I can (if they made coffee IV injections, I’d buy ‘em) to get my zombie-like body out the door before it knows what’s happening to it.” [Editor’s note: After all, we can have more caffeine than we thought!] — Alyx Brown, Chiropractic physician at Manhattan’s Urban Wellness Clinic
Check out the rest of the list here.