How to Work Out in the Morning

If you'd like to become a morning exerciser but just can't seem to get yourself to the gym before the sun is up, read on.

First, ask yourself if morning workouts are the right fit for **you**. Just because your sister can drag her butt out of bed to get on the treadmill or do squats doesn't mean it's for you. Sure, checking your workout off first thing in the morning has its benefits, but if you are not a morning person plus you don't really love to exercise, then combining the two might not be your long-term solution. Working out later in the day is better than no workout at all, and can be equally as beneficial as a morning workout.

If you'd really like to change your ways and get those exercise-induced endorphins going first thing, then start by making gradual changes:
1. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than normal, and don't even worry about the exercise portion yet. Instead, plan to do something that you enjoy...settle in with your devotions and a cup of coffee or tea, or work on your craft project, or use those 10 minutes to plan out your day, or even just soak in the peace and quiet before everyone else wakes up. 
2. Gradually increase those 10 minutes until you've allowed enough time for a workout, and then add in the exercise.
3. Instead of driving to a gym, try a workout DVD in your basement, or start out by just using those 10 extra minutes to stretch or do some core work. Working out at home means a few minutes of extra sleep and again, can gradually help you establish a morning workout habit. Maybe a morning class or Leg Day at a gym is in your future...but starting out by working out at home will help make that morning workout seem less overwhelming.

There are plenty of tips available all over the web for "how to wake up early and work out" (sleep in your workout clothes, set 3 alarms, etc) that might work for you. But remember to first decide if this habit is right for you, and then if you want to start, start gradually.

P.S. My personal favorite tip for getting up early: If you're a coffee drinker, set that pot to auto-brew the night before. You'll wake up and literally smell the coffee...which is sometimes enough to gently wake you up (with a smile!) before your first sip.