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by UNC Campus Recreation

Working out in the Morning When You’re Not a Morning Person

I am not a morning person. If it’s before 9 a.m. and I haven’t consumed coffee, I won’t speak to you. I avoid 8 a.m. classes like the plague and absolutely love sleeping in. I’ve tried to force myself into liking mornings and convince myself that I can be a morning person, but the reality is that I find mornings painful and I am most productive and happy in the afternoon and evening.

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Despite my distaste for mornings, I have committed myself to an internship this summer that starts at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. It takes me about an hour to get to work each morning, and another hour to wake myself up, make myself look presentable, and eat breakfast, which means that I get up at the dreadful hour of about 6 a.m. each weekday. This past week was the first week of my internship, and adjusting to waking up several hours earlier than I’m used to has been quite difficult. By the time I got home from work each day this week, I was exhausted. While some days I had enough energy left to do a quick workout, other days I only had the energy to crawl into bed!

Since I was too tired to exercise as I had planned to during the week, I realized that I was going to need to make a change to my exercise routine in order to fulfill my goal of staying active this summer. I decided that since I have the most free time on the weekends, I would make it a new goal of mine to exercise each Saturday and Sunday. However, since I usually reserve weekend afternoons and evenings for spending time with family and friends, weekend mornings seem to be the best time for me to exercise. Although I was really looking forward to sleeping in this Saturday (and I did let myself sleep in a little bit!), I forced myself to get up and start my day with a workout.

While before I could never fathom why someone would leave the comfort of his or her bed in exchange for working out, I now see the appeal of morning workouts. After working out on Saturday morning, I felt so accomplished for having completed a workout so early on in my day! I also felt more awake, energized, and positive as I carried out the rest of my day.

If you’re not a morning person but you want to try starting your day off with your workout, here are a few quick tips that helped make it easier for me to get up and moving in the morning:

  • Have everything you need ready to go when you wake up in the morning. Lay out your workout clothes, tennis shoes, headphones, water bottle, etc. the night before. If I take the time to prepare everything I need the night before, I’m more inclined to exercise in the morning because I don’t want the preparation I put in to go to waste! If you need some extra motivation, you can wear your workout clothes to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have virtually no excuse to skip your workout!
  • Play some high-energy music. Listening to music while you’re getting ready and/or during your workout will wake you up and get you pumped up to start moving! I always listen to one of the many workout playlists on Spotify to get myself out of my morning fog. I also find that listening to music motivates me to work a little bit harder during my workouts!
  • Reward Yourself. It’s a known fact that food makes everything better, right? Having a super delicious pre or post-workout meal to look forward to makes getting up so much easier. I motivate myself to workout in the morning by preparing super delicious, satisfying, and easy peanut butter overnight oats the night before.

If you can bring yourself to do it, make your next workout a morning one. You may hate it, you may love it, but you’ll never know until you give it a try!