Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morning Exercise

Morning work outs are always a bit rough for me. All I want to do when I wake up is eat breakfast, read my email and the news, and savor my extra large cup of black tea (with almond milk, my current milk-replacement-obsession).

But, since I'm working at a law firm this summer, mornings are the safest time to work out. If I don't go in the morning I'm roughly 87% less likely to work out. So I've had to work at stream lining both my breakfast and my getting ready for work process. Here are a few tips I've found to be super useful for getting myself going.

Although getting to run around the gorgeous Jackie O. Reservoir in Central Park should be motivation enough!

Before the Gym/Run:
  • Get enough sleep. This one's obvious, right? I rarely miss a morning work out if I made sure to get more than 7 hours of sleep the night before, but I can't tell you how many missed work outs are the product of a late night.
  • Make your breakfast beforehand. Having breakfast ready for you when you get back from the gym is always a nice treat, and there are lots of ways to make this happen. For example, if you're doing a smoothie for breakfast, whip it up quickly and drink 1/4 or 1/3 before heading to your work out, leaving the rest in the fridge. You have breakfast waiting for you when you get back! Yes, food keeps me motivated. Martha Stewart has a list of 40 healthy smoothies here
  • Have your gym clothes ready to hop into. I leave what I'm going to wear hanging on my bedroom doorknob so I can throw it on quickly and don't waste time contemplating what to wear.
  • Drink some water. I find that I wake up pretty parched, so I try to drink a small glass of water before heading out. It makes me feel better the entire time I'm exercising.

  • STRETCH. This one is so incredibly important. You really have to slowly ease your body into movement because it's been basically motionless through most of the night, which is why you feel so stiff when you wake up. You are way more likely to injure yourself if you don't properly stretch (trust me, I've learned that lesson the hard way... just ask my ankle!).
  • WARM UP. Also, incredibly important in the morning. My trainer, Amanda, always makes me power walk then jog at least 1/2 a mile before starting a training session, and she recommends 1 mile for any workout involving sprinting. Greatist has a nice overview of how to warm up before working out here.
  • Have a plan. I have a series of work outs in the "notes" section of my phone so that I don't have to think about what I'm doing or when to do it. Fuzzy morning brain can mean you waste time contemplating things at the gym. Having a plan helps avoid that. I'll post some of my work out plans in the future, but for now, there's a great sample of a work out plan at Fit Chick in the City.
  • Have a good playlist. Obviously, this one is huge. Motivation through music is especially important when you're feeling sluggish in the morning! Shape has some awesome recommendations here. I'm loving Kanye and Jay-Z's "No Church in the Wild" as my getting-into-my-morning-groove song.
My current morning run playlist. Don't mock the Flo Rida and Pitbull... their beats keep my feet going!

After the Gym/Run:
  • Take hair washing out of the equation. I am a HUGE fan of dry shampoo. I have long, thick hair, so washing it every day is both unhealthy for it and a major pain. Dry shampoo takes away the "but my hair will look dirty" excuse to avoid exercising. There are a bunch of tips on keeping your hair looking presentable post-work out here.
  • Know what you're wearing to work. I wrote earlier about how I plan out my work outs at the beginning of the week. Yep, you guessed it, I try to plan out my work outfits for the week on Sunday evenings as well. It honestly takes about five minutes to put things together and it takes out the 20 minutes of debating what outfit to wear in the morning while I'm still blinking the sleep out of my eyes. Having Cher's kick-ass outfit selection computer program in Clueless would clearly be better, but until I get that, making an outfit plan at the beginning of the week will have to do.
Don't we all want one of these programs??

Any other tips for getting in a morning work out and getting out the door faster?

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