Time is often cited as one of the top barriers to physical activity (Daskapan,et al, 2006). For some people, the only time to exercise they may have in their schedule is first thing in the morning before their work or school day gets going. However, this early morning timeframe is not always an easy one to get that workout in, due to a variety of factors. Today, we will discuss some strategies to help you succeed in getting those early morning workouts accomplished!
Sleep for Success
One of the best ways to ensure that you can get up and out of bed at an earlier time is to get a quality, good sleep. This might seem like incredibly boring advice, but it’s true. Recovery is key to being able to not only perform in general life, but to also effectively handle physical stressors such as exercise. And sleep is the best recovery available to our bodies. The right amount of sleep differs from individual to individual, but typical recommendations range from 8-10 hours per night (however, I should note that some recommendations are shifting to focus on sleep quality and sleep cycles versus overall sleep length).
Pack, Plan and Prep
Another effective strategy to help get to the workout prior to school/work is to do a little bit of planning ahead of time. You can pack your gym bag and put it by the door the night before (or even put it directly into your vehicle). That way, all you have to do is grab it on your way out the door and you have no excuse to say, “I can’t go, I forgot my gym bag!”
Planning what you will do at the gym ahead of time is also useful, as it helps you to have direction once you are there. Try writing down what exercises you plan to do in your workout and take it with you so you don’t have to try and recall exercises as you go along. If you know you will be particularly time-crunched, super-setting your exercises (performing two or more exercises together back to back) can help you to get through your workout a bit quicker.
I always find that doing a bit of breakfast food prep the night before can also help to get me out the door a bit faster in the mornings. Getting out breakfast ingredients the night before, chopping up any fruits or veggies you plan to use or even making some overnight oats are just a few ways you can save some time for yourself in the morning to help give you time to get in your workout. If you’re a My Viva Plan member, take a look at the quick, healthy breakfast recipes available through My Viva Plan Recipes!
Try out one or more of the strategies above to see if they can help you get that early morning workout conquered!
By Caitlyn Jones – BPE, CSEP-CPT
Atkinson, Greg & Davenne, Damien. Relationships between sleep, physical activity and human health. Physiol Behav, 2007 Feb 28; 90(0): 229-235.
Daskapan Arzu, Emine Handan Tuzun, Levent Eker, (2006) Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity in University Students. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (05), 615 – 620.