We know that bed > exercise/everything. It's a universal truth. But if you want to tone every muscle fiber or properly train for a 10K—that's 6.2 miles, in case you were wondering—you have to make room in your schedule to shape up. You could squeeze in gym time post-work, but wouldn't you rather go straight home and sink into your bed?
Still, even if you heed our tips and actually pry yourself into sweat-absorbing gear tomorrow morning (and the rest of the week), seven days of a.m. workouts won't make it a habit—yet. A few studies suggest that a strong habit can be established over six weeks, assuming you exercise at least four times per week, says Michael Otto, Ph.D., a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University. Here, the tips to making morning exercise part of your daily routine.
1. Buy classes. Think back to last weekend—remember how you felt when you couldn't finish your entire entrée? It's almost the same as buying trips to FlyWheel, Barry's Bootcamp or whatever fits your fancy without going. You didn't pay $30 for a group sweat-off—or $16 not to finish a plate—to be a no-show. You work hard for the money, so why waste it?
2. Hire a trainer. It may cost more money, but when you have someone else holding you accountable for your exercise goals, working out feels more attached to you. Then again, you could also find a buddy to kick your butt into gear, suggests trainer Rob Sulaver of Bandana Training and a TomTom ambassador. It'll (probably) be more affordable—say, you cover their post-workout brunch in exchange for an hour of treadmill sprints and bicep curls? Done and done.
3. Go to sleep earlier. Seriously though, when have you ever went to bed at 1:23 a.m., woken up at 6 a.m., and said, "I'm ready to run five miles today!" Never, that's when. Aim to snooze for a solid 7 hours, recommends personal trainer Mark Langowski of Body by Mark Wellness. Trust him (and us), it'll be much easier to pull yourself out of bed and into your sneakers.
4. Lay out your clothes before bed. Some people say you should sleep in your workout clothes but who thinks wearing a sports bra to bed is comfortable? No one. Instead, have your workout must-haves—earbuds, sweatband, leggings, top, shoes (anything else?)—set close to you before you sleep. OOTD (or morning) is all ready.
5. Sign up for races. We're not saying to sign up for a marathon and spend the next year sleeping, running, and eating kale for every meal. But running a race without properly training is basically death for your muscles. Sure, you might be able to complete it but your body will ache for days—not hours—days afterward. At least this way you have something to motivate you to get out there.
6. Keep your windows curtain-free. Want to wake up at the crack of dawn? Un-shade your shades, says Katie Mackey of Brooks Beast Track Club. It's like a natural alarm clock—it's almost impossible to sleep with light beaming down on your eyes. Another alternative: Flip your lights on as soon as you open your eyes.
7. Establish goals. Want toned arms? Run an entire 5K without stopping (see above). Looking to burn off last night's Seamless order? Pick an end game and strive for it. No one wants to be labeled a failure.
8. Make your morning routine easier. Have your coffee timed to go as soon as you wake up, prep your lunch the night before, pack your purse with your essentials—basically, get it together ahead of time so you don't have to kill 40 minutes putzing around to get ready.
9. Set multiple alarms and place your phone far away. When have you ever gotten out of bed after the first alarm? Yeah, thought so. There's no standard timing for when you should let these rings go off, but set between two or three back-to-back. You'll be so annoyed by them you'll wake up just to shut them up. Another idea: Set your alarm from something blaring to your favorite playlist to pump you up, says Danny Musico, fitness trainer for RAGE Fitness.
10. Avoid bloat-inducing food the night before. Greasy burgers, pickleback shots...do your stomach a favor and just eat these 18 foods that won't cause your midsection to blow up like a balloon.