Here’s how to work out in the morning, even when you’re not a morning person.
Before playing on my college golf team, I’d never worked out in the morning. I can still remember my alarm going off at 5 a.m.—at first, it was absolutely brutal. I’d fumble around in the dark for my contacts, throw on my workout clothes, and take a few forced bites of a granola bar before heading out the door.
After years of powering through early morning workouts (and lots of coffee), I now prefer sweating first thing in the a.m.—and it turns out that actually may be a good thing.
Research suggests that morning exercisers may reap more benefits than those who work out in the evening. A study by Brigham Young University showed that morning exercisers consumed fewer extra calories and were more active all day than their counterparts. One study from Appalachian State University also showed that sweating first thing in the morning can lower blood pressure by up to 25 percent and actually help you sleep better at night.
Lead researcher Dr. Scott Collier said, “Much to our surprise, 7 a.m. exercise was better in terms of reduced blood pressure throughout the day and greater sleep benefits than exercise at 7 p.m., and there was little blood pressure or sleep benefit when exercise was done at 1 p.m.”
So what if you want to work out in the morning, but you’re not a morning person? I asked our early bird editors for their favorite tips and tricks that help them get out of bed and into the gym—here’s what they had to say.
Sleep in your workout clothes
“That way you’re more motivated to head out when you wake up. All you have to do is slip your tennis shoes on.”
-Antara Sinha, associate social media editor, MyRecipes
Have a sleep routine
“Force yourself to go to bed at an hour that will give you a full night’s rest. Also, have a set start time, whether it be a workout with a friend or a group fitness class, that way you can’t lay in bed and tell yourself ‘5 more minutes’”
-Sara Tane, assistant editor, MyRecipes
Prep the night before
“This one's a game changer for me—prep your coffee before bed and set your coffee maker to brew when your alarm goes off! Also, make a food plan the night before—whether it's an energy bar, a spoonful of peanut butter, or yogurt, have something quick you can fuel up with before your workout.”
-Elizabeth Laseter, SEO food writer
Find a workout you love
“I kickbox in the morning. It’s tough, but I love how powerful, accomplished, and confident it makes me feel afterward. It’s easy to hop out of bed when you look forward to your workout.”
-Jaime Ritter, associate editor, Cooking Light
Grab a buddy
“In college I always dragged my roommate with me. If you have someone relying on you to get out of bed you're more likely to go early.”
-Arielle Weg, editorial fellow, Cooking Light