We all know the story, we see an inspirational new training program or fitness tips article and we promise ourselves that we are going to work out every morning before work.
The first morning starts out really well; you jump up, drink your coffee, and launch into your routine. Then you forget your routine (or try to do way too much), get bored and start to panic about how late it’s getting. So you cut the workout short, get to work late, and feel bad all day because your boss hates you now and you didn’t even get a proper workout in.
The second morning you oversleep, but it’s okay because you will catch up tomorrow.
A week later you have given up entirely or been called in to a disciplinary hearing at the office for tardiness.
Okay so maybe you are not that bad, maybe you just want to get more out of your pre-work workout.
Here are 13 fail safe ways to maximise your morning workout time.
Prioritise Your Workout
Take your workout as seriously as you would a meeting with the boss. Your health and fitness is your responsibility. There will always be things standing in the way of your exercise time. You have to learn to let them wait.
Love Yourself Better
As terrible as it may seem (and as contrary to the point above) you have to forgive yourself the occasional slip up and get back to it the very next day. When you beat yourself up too much about your slip ups you become demotivated and pretty soon your workouts will become a horrible chore. When you have negative feelings about working out you are much less likely to stick to a routine. Remember you are working out because you love your body, not because you hate it.
Plan Your Workout Time
It sounds pretty obvious, right? But how much time do you actually spend trying to remember what you are supposed to do next? To save on morning confusion write up your (realistic) weekly training schedule on Sunday night, and stick to it. Focus on doing a few things well rather than try to cram everything into one session.
Use the 4 x 4 Training Method
This is an awesome strength and toning workout and it only takes 16 minutes. Basically you choose four exercises and do reps of each one for one minute before changing to the next activity. Repeat the sequence four times. Keep it simple and try to include something for each major muscle area. We like the timeless classics; sit-ups, plank, skipping and squats. But you can substitute whatever you want.
Work Out First
Get into the habit of getting up, washing your face and working out. All of the other important, time-consuming things will still be there after your workout, but the work out time won’t be there after all the other things are done. It’s also great to run through your mental checklist for the day to come while you are exercising.
Have a Bedtime Routine
Remember when you were a kid and your mom was always bugging you to get your school things ready the night before? You need to get everything ready the night before. Take out your work clothes, make sure you have clean socks, pack your lunch, and take out your workout gear – before you go to bed.
…and go to bed earlier.
We live in the busiest age in history. There will always be important things to do (and a series to watch) at night; you have to be disciplined about your sleep time if you want to work out in the mornings.
Work Out While You Wait
Instead of standing bleary eyed in front of the kettle or coffee machine for ten minutes, use the time to train. Turn on the kettle and go do your sit-ups (or your 4 x 4) when you come back the water will be hot or the coffee will be made. The same applies for waiting for the water to heat up before your shower or anything else you are waiting for. Stretching is also something that can easily be done between getting stuff done.
Fuel Up and Reward Yourself
Have your coffee and breakfast set up and ready to go for when you finish your workout. They serve as great motivation to get moving.
Book a few Sessions with a Personal Trainer
If you are really struggling to get your routine together invest in a personal trainer, even if only for a two or three sessions, and ask them to help you come up with a program. Tell them what your time limits are as well as your goals. Most Personal Trainers will be happy to help you develop a DIY program. It’s not a bad idea to check in with them once a month anyway to make sure that you are on the right track.
Create a Playlist Beforehand
The energy boosting benefits of listening to an upbeat playlist while you work out have been proven time and again. Having a musical theme to tap into helps you to get into the zone faster and workout with more zeal.
Cut the Frills
Cut out anything that smacks of procrastination. If you don’t need to it to train with, it can wait. No one cares that your socks are colour coordinated. If you are training in a gym then everyone else who is in there before work in the morning will be there for the same reason as you are – to workout. They are not interested in anything other than what they are busy doing.
If it’s motivation you are struggling with a good idea is to find a gym buddy who will gym or run at the same time as you. It doesn’t have to be your best friend; it can be someone you meet at the gym or someone from your office. Just knowing that you have to meet someone at a specific time for a run or a gym session can help when you are struggling with the wake up monsters.
There you have it, our top tips for helping you work out before work. We hope you find these tips helpful and that you find yourself getting into a healthy, productive routine that works for you.