9 Ways to Get Motivated for a Morning Workout

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It’s hard enough dragging ourselves to work in the morning, but it’s even harder to get up two hours earlier for a morning workout. But while you may be convinced that those early-risers are complete aliens, it’s actually totally doable to become one of them — and all it takes is a few small steps to officially get in the habit of working out pretty early.

There are plenty of benefits of working out in the morning, although a workout at any time of the day is great, too. When you work out in the morning, you are more alert for your workday, feel more accomplished and less stressed, and can relax when you get home after a long day. Sometimes when we leave our workouts to the night, we are less motivated after that afternoon slump, and putting more pressure on ourselves can make us stressed out. In addition, exercise in the morning boosts our metabolic rate and keeps us burning calories all day long.

Despite the benefits of morning workouts, how exactly do you become someone who can willingly complete them? Read on for nine simple ways to get motivated.

1. Make coffee ASAP when you get up

drinking coffee

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If you aren’t a coffee drinker, make tea or chug a cold glass of water to wake your body up. If you smell the roasting pot of coffee while you’re brushing your teeth and getting dressed, you’ll be more likely to want to get up and start your day.

Plus, research show that coffee can boost the number of calories you burn if you consume it pre-workout. A study found that those who drank caffeine before their workout burned 15% more calories for three hours post-workout than non-caffeine drinkers.

Another study conducted by Japanese researchers showed that coffee can improve capillary blood flow, which can in turn boost exercise performance.

2. Work out with a friend

Don’t forget the importance of accountability. If you have a person waiting to meet you at the gym for a run on the treadmill or a group class, you’ll be more likely to go. In addition, you can call them in the morning and receive or give a pep talk if need be. If you have someone who is dreading the workout just as much as you are, at least you’re in it together.

3. Keep your phone across the room and set multiple alarms

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Turn your settings to your most obnoxious alarm, and put it on the opposite corner of the room. Remember to set your alarm about five or so times until you get so annoyed you won’t want to hear it again. This will be harder to snooze because you’ll have to walk up and shut it off. Plus, sometimes the hardest part of a morning workout is getting yourself out of bed. Once you’ve accomplished that, you’re already halfway there.

4. Split up your workout

Try cardio in the morning, strength-training in the afternoon, or vice versa. Splitting up your workout may give you motivation to get up in the morning if you know you don’t have pressure to fit it all in.

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT, and expert in fitness and sports medicine, says that a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that short but frequent workouts were just as beneficial as one long workout. In addition, splitting up your workout can give you confidence to complete a routine and motivation to work harder toward your goals.

5. Don’t put pressure on yourself

A study from 2008 at University of Georgia tried to measure whether exercise can treat fatigue. They studied 36 people, half of whom participated in moderate-intensity workouts and the others in low-intensity workouts. Surprisingly, the low-intensity group reported a 65% decrease in fatigue, while the moderate intensity group reported only 49%, showing that low-intensity workouts can also be beneficial for our health.

When you work out in the morning, don’t expect to run a smooth 5K because you’ll be letting yourself down if you don’t reach your goal. Remember that any exercise is better than no exercise at all; this mindset will most likely help you dread getting out of bed.

6. Remember you’ll eat healthier

eating healthy, salad

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OK, so you may not reach for a plate of vegetables following your workout, but studies show that people generally eat less and healthier after exercise because it can reduce our levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite. The men in the study ate fewer calories in the 24-hour period after their workouts.

In addition, the release of endorphins after exercise typically diminishes the appetite, and people tend to reach for better portion sizes. By exercising in the morning and starting your day off on a healthy foot, you’ll have a better chance of eating healthy throughout the day.

7. Lay out your clothes the night before

Lay your clothes out in your room, pack your gym bag, and fill your water. This way you can grab everything and go the next morning. Sometimes you don’t have the motivation to wake up an hour, or even 30 minutes, prior to leaving. If you want to make it to that last minute of sleep before you really need to go, this is a great option. Plus, if you ignore your workout clothes the next day, you may feel worse about skipping the gym.

8. Download the Pact app

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Pact is a pretty serious way of getting yourself in shape with the help of a monetary commitment and a community of users trying to achieve healthy goals. This app keeps you accountable — with your own bank account. It uses GPS technology and pictures to keep you honest so you don’t cheat or skip workouts, according to the app’s website.

9. Remember the results

A few morning workouts leave you feeling great, but if you’re really tired one morning, your results may not mean as much to you. Try to remember your results, how good you felt at work afterwards, or how your energy level or sleeping schedule was regulated, and don’t let one tired morning make you forget this.

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