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How I became a morning exerciser: 11 tips to try

How I became a morning exerciser: 11 tips to try
How I became a morning exerciser: 11 tips to try

For the past 2 years, I have woken up at 5 am four-five days a week to workout.

In university, I was very far from a morning person. My roommates even avoided talking to me before 8:30 am because I was so cranky. I gradually started waking up earlier but never imagined I would be getting up at 5 am regularly to workout.

Here’s how I did it:

1) Sign-up for a class

I go to group personal training classes weekly. I enjoy going, I have made great friends in the classes, and I pay for it. All excellent tools to motivate me to go! If I don’t show up I will hear from the trainers and my friends. Having someone else tell you what to do at 6 am is much easier than thinking up your own workouts.

2) Find a workout buddy (or several)

If I’m not at the gym, I’m running. Setting up a weekly running date with my friend Alyssa has been great motivation to get out and run, especially on cold, windy, and very wet mornings. Chatting and laughing make the miles go by quickly! Cancelling on your friend minutes before your 6:30 am run? I don’t think so!

MEC North Van 10 km with friends

3) Have a training plan and a bigger goal 

Making a training plan to follow is another tool that keeps me accountable. There were many workouts I wanted to skip when I was exhausted during marathon training. Knowing these workouts were on my training plan and contributed to a larger goal of running a marathon really helped get my butt out the door.


4) Have a sleep-in day

I was crazy, jumped in feet first and started waking up at 5 am everyday. You certainly don’t need to do that! Having a day or two you can sleep-in during the week helps soften the blow of the other early morning wake-ups.

5) Establish a morning routine: bribe yourself to wake up early

I probably don’t need to wake up so early to get to the gym but I have never been one of those people who can roll out of bed, get dressed, and run to the gym without eating. I make sure I have enough time to eat a snack, make myself a cup of coffee, and read a few blogs before going to workout. If I’m feeling really sluggish, I will even eat a piece of dark chocolate (wild!)


Homemade nut butter and fresh coffee almost make me hop out of bed

6) Establish an evening routine: go to bed early

All of the other tips I suggest certainly help make morning workouts easier, but if I don’t get enough sleep I’ll crash and burn by the middle of the week. I’ve always needed a lot of sleep and feel good when I get 8-9 hours of sleep. That doesn’t usually happen (especially if I make plans in the evening) but trying to get into bed early a few nights a week makes a big difference.

7) Cut yourself some slack and be realistic

If I know I’m going to be out late one night, rather than stress myself out about getting to bed early enough, I’ll cancel my morning workout and workout in the evening. I’ve come to learn more sleep is generally better than another workout.

8) Stick with it

The first few weeks of waking up early, if you’re not used to it, are not going to be very fun based on my experience. After about 2 weeks, I find I hit my groove, as long as I am waking up early consistently. Like any new habit, it takes a bit of time.

9) Enjoy the peace and quiet

One of the main reasons I love running in the morning is the peace, quiet, and seeing things many other people will never see. An empty seawall, fog rising off the water, a spectacular sunrise, or that morning light. If anything, it will improve your Instagram game (and you can brag to your coworkers how much you have accomplished before 9 am)!

10) Think about the benefits

I just don’t feel like myself now if I don’t get a morning workout in. It wakes me up, puts me in a good mood, and makes sitting at a desk much easier. I love knowing that my workout is out of the way and not looming over my head at the end of the workday.

11) Reward yourself post-workout

I like stopping by my local coffee shop for a hot drink post-workout, even better if it’s with a friend. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve thought about the coffee awaiting me while I’m in the middle of a tough workout or run. It sure motivates me.

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Do you like working out in the morning or are you an evening person? What are your tips for waking up early?

  • I love all of your tips. I’ll have to try again – I’m just not a morning workout person, as much as I want to be. I value sleeping in so much more. But I envy those who have their workout done by 9 am!

  • What a great post! I Love love love morning workouts. Definitely going to share this one.

    • Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales says:

      Thanks so much Jess! Glad you find it useful. I know you get in plenty of morning workouts!

  • Your pictures are gorgeous!!! I am so not a morning person. If I workout in the morning, I am hungry all day! My ideal workout time is around 2 or 3pm. When I was marathon training, I would get up at 5am on Saturdays to do my long run and beat the heat but I knew I could usually come back home and take a long nap after.

    • Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales says:

      Thanks Jill! I really love taking them. I do find lately – cutting back a bit on the morning workouts – that my hunger is not so crazy. Although if I do wake up at 5 am I am getting lunch at 11:30 am! Haha.

  • Kelly says:

    Bribe yourself, haha. I can be a morning person if I want to be, lol. Like if I get myself up early for a few days, I am totally good with it, but if I get used to sleeping in, then I like sleeping in too. I need to start getting up at 5 like I used to! 🙂

  • Great tips. I prefer exercising in the morning.
    However, on work days I would have to be in the shower at 5:30 and I am too lazy to get up at 4.
    So I just enjoy it on the weekend.

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