FAQ’s slidin’ into my DMs like: How do you wake up at 4:30 every morning?
The short answer: I am dedicated.
The long answer: …sit back n’ scroll, sister.
On a scale of night owl to morning person, I’ve always skewed toward the latter. For as long as I can remember, I’ve found the notion of wasting my day away in bed nothing short of unsettling. In high school, while the rest of my galpals were snoozing through noon, I was up and at ’em at 8 am (oh, to sleep in until 8 am again…) to train horses and muck stalls at the equestrian farm (did ya know that about me?!).
Despite once erring towards the side of sunrise, hitting the snooze button soon became muscle-memory during my college days. It’s no surprise that with zero motivation to do otherwise, I quickly fell into the post-grad habit of waking up with just enough time to throw my hair into a top knot and arrive fashionably late to the office.
It wasn’t until April of 2016 when I woke up for a 20 minute jog and total-body toning routine that I never hit snooze again (okay, I’ve definitely hit snooze, but you know what I mean).
After brief blips of waking up to HIIT it came and went, what made this time – this alarm, this morning workout – different? I was skidding dangerously close to a physical and mental rock bottom, and in that realization, I promised myself that I was going to make a change. I wanted – needed – to prove to myself that I could do this (where this, at the basic level, was commit to something). I wanted to know what happened if I didn’t quit. And with that, I sprung out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy pony-tailed, to get my sweat on day after day. 500+ days later, here’s how I stuck to it:
21 Days. Let’s get the nitty-gritty, non-glamorous out of the way. The best way to condition yourself to be an early riser is to just do it. Plain and simple, you’re gong to have to force it at first. For this to work, you’re going to need to have your motivation locked & loaded, and you’re going to need to be fiercely dedicated. Got it? Okay now, give me 21 days, and I’ll give you a brand new habit, girl. Studies show that it takes just twenty-one days – three weeks – to form a habit, and from personal experience, I believe it works. Tip: even on a rest day (planned or otherwise), try waking up with your regular alarm even if just to lie in bed and read a book.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise. There is no shame in a 9 pm bedtime, sister! The only time I’ve had nighttime FOMO is when Taylor dropped her new single at midnight – actually. After sunset, I find that my motivation plummets from 100 to 0, real quick 😉 I look at it like this: when 9 o’clock rolls around, I’m sure to either be snackin’ or veggin’ out with Netflix (most likely, both) – neither of which actively help me achieve my goals. So, I might as well be catching some Zs and priming my body for a morning that will leave me feeling sweaty, productive, and proud. (Tip: Just as waking up early takes practice, so does getting to bed early. And, an early bedtime isn’t helpful if you’re tossing & turning throughout the night. To ensure a solid night of rest, make time to unwind and get your mind and body settled. Take a bath, cozy up with a good book, sip some sleepy time tea, and, my favorite, spritz your pillow with lavender.)
Schedule a Snooze. How often does just 10 more minutes become a missed workout or a skipped breakfast? I’m calling for a snooze button revolution, girl! Try this: set one alarm 10 minutes before you actually need to get up. It acts as a built in snooze button, and gives your body a few minutes to adjust, without totally fall back to sleep. When that second alarm goes off, flick the lights on and pop right out of bed. It’s time to rise & grind!
Check In. Although I’m not one to encourage spending more quality time than necessary with your phone screen, checking in with a fitness community first thing in the morning is all the motivation you need to get moving. Turn off your alarm with one foot on the ground and one finger scrollin’ Instagram. Fitchicks all around the world are awake before the sun to get their sweat on – and if they can do it, so can you. I do a little wake up dance party every morning!
Will Workout For Food. Let’s be real, the best part of going to the gym is coming home to eat breakfast. Just kidding, I really do love the gym. But, if there’s one thing sure to get me out of bed on even the darkest, sleepiest of mornings, it’s the promise of a protein pancake stack 😉 There’s something about an early morning workout that makes a recovery meal that much more sweet – or savory. There’s a mighty-tasty light at the end of the tunnel, y’all.
Match Your Mood. If you’re going to be rising before the sun, you’re going to need to be excited for what those morning hours hold. Use some of your unwind time to plan a workout that aligns with how your mind and your body are feeling. I, for one, am always jazzed for a Friday, so I make that leg day to channel all my good vibes into a killer leg day sweat sesh. Come Wednesday, I’m usually feeling the grind, so a low-intensity upper body workout is the perfect choice for me.
Play this song. And go get ’em.