Night owl or morning person- which one are you?
Your preference for early morning runs or post work gym time isn’t arbitrary. The body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is pretty much genetically determined so there isn’t much you can do to change how it’s programmed. Though you can’t overhaul your body’s programming there are some things you can do to become more of a morning person. Try them out and you just might be able to make those pre-work workouts!
I tell my clients if they can swing it, working out in the morning is best. Our days are busy. If you make exercise the first thing you do that day it can’t get bumped off your to-do list. If you wait to hit the gym or go for a run after you get home from work there are just too many other temptations and distractions to pull you away from your workout. I realize working out in the morning is not realistic for everyone. My suggestion is whether you break a sweat upon rising or before going to bed, consistency is more important than the time of day you choose to exercise.
A few tips to help you become a morning exerciser:
- Wake up at the same time each morning. After a week or two your body will start to adapt to the pattern.
- Adequately hydrate and fuel the night before. It’s hard to get in a quality workout when you’re stomach is growling. If you can’t stomach breakfast before working out then make sure you at least had a snack the night before.
- Put your clothes and shoes out beside your bed. They’ll be there chanting, “Please get out of bed”.
- Choose the mode of workout that fits your schedule. The idea of getting up and hitting the gym at 6:00 am sounds like a great idea, but if you have to lug work clothes to change into, makeup, hair products, etc. that doesn’t sound so easy! So maybe you take up running for the convenience factor. Or you pop in a workout DVD and break a sweat in your living room.
- Move back your bedtime. Common sense folks; you’ll be waking up earlier and working out so your body will be tired. Make sure to develop a night time routine and stick to it. After a few weeks your body will start to shift and desire the sleep.
Remember the most important tip is consistency!
Consistency also works the same way for those who have to exercise in the afternoon. If you find yourself skipping your workout more often than not you need to develop a routine to make sure exercising doesn’t get pushed off your t0-do list. During an internship in college my schedule didn’t let me hit the gym before hitting the office. Thus I was forced to become an afterwork gym goer. At first it was SO incredibly hard. All I wanted to do after leaving work was drive straight home, peel off my work clothes and be a vegetable. As appealing as it sounded though, I knew skipping my workouts would only make me feel worse. So I created a strict schedule/routine and stuck to it. I think my first post-work workout included me jogging incredibly slowly on the treadmill with a scowl on my face, then doing twenty crunches and leaving. But two weeks I started to love my afternoon workouts. To stick to my routine I’d pack my gym clothes the night before (waiting til the morning meant I’d inevitably forget a sports bra or socks). I’d be sure to grab a snack to eat after work as well so I wouldn’t fizzle out half way through my workout.
Having to shift your habits is never easy. With a little patience, consistency and positive self-talk you can stick to an exercise routine that fits to your schedule. And that’s what most important; not whether it’s in the morning or the afternoon but that you do it!