If any invention marks the decline of human civilization, I think it would have to be the snooze alarm. The snooze alarm is based on the idea that when the alarm goes off, you are not getting up… They should sell the snooze alarm with an unemployment application and a bottle of tequila. Just make it a complete pathetic-loser kit. –Jerry Seinfeld
This post is part III of my morning series. Part I called on the wisdom of personal development guru Steve Pavlina, who figured out how to always get out of bed when his alarm clock went off. In Part II, I gave you the top ten reasons why you should work out in the morning. Now, in Part III, I offer you a few tips on how to start working out in the morning.
First of all, it’s important to be in good shape before switching to an AM workout schedule. That means that if you haven’t been very active in the first few weeks, get yourself back into your usual fitness routine before you try to work out in the morning.
Next, decide what time you want to wake up. If you are waking up to exercise before work, calculate the time you need to exercise, clean up, eat a healthy breakfast, and drive to work. Then add 30 minutes (or more if you are habitually rushed in the morning.) You need to eliminate all obstacles in order for your plan to succeed, and being stressed is one of them. Far better that you miss an extra hour of sleep the first night (you’ll compensate soon enough by going to bed earlier) than that you are late to work with wet hair and feel off-kilter the whole day.
Set three alarms. The first for 10 minutes before your chosen wake-up time, the second for 7 minutes before, and the third for one minute before. (Even if you’ve done Steve Pavlina’s exercise—which I highly recommend doing before you start waking up in the morning—you are better-off giving yourself a “wake-up cushion.” I know well the feeling of waking up for my workout twenty minutes late and trying to calculate through a bleary eyes whether or not I could still fit the workout in.)
Lay out your workout clothes—including socks and shoes—before you go to sleep. Lay out your work clothes as well.
Choose the right song to listen to as you get ready. The song will be different for everyone, and it might take you a few mornings to get it right for you. You may find that you won’t want the same pump-up song you use at 3pm when you are easing into the sunrise at 5am. If you’re driving to the gym, listen to it in your car. If you’re running outside, listen to it as you do your warm-up. You are not only energizing yourself by listening to a song with a strong beat that you like. You are training your body to react a certain way to a specific stimulus. You will listen to this song every morning at the same time while you are doing the same thing: getting in the zone. You are revving up your psyche.
The final and most important element is ACCEPTANCE. You will probably feel awful when you open your eyes and you won’t want to get out of bed. Your workout may feel weird and you’ll probably be more tired than usual for the rest of the day. It takes a few days for your body to get used to a different schedule, but once it does, it will be worth it. You’ll see.