Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How I became a Morning Person (It's not as hard as you think!)

Let me start of by saying I LOVE SLEEP. If I don't get 8 hours of sleep at night, I'm kind of a mess the next day. I think God knows this, because I was blessed with a daughter who sleeps through the night from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am ever since she was a few months old. But sleeping for a full 8 hours has its drawbacks. The most obvious being that I only have 16 hours of "awake time" to get sh*t done. As an entrepreneur, wife and mom of a toddler who also likes to workout -- this can also be described as "impossible."

When Sofia was younger and two naps a day, I was able to squeeze in my workout during her first nap, and my dinner prep during her second nap. Work for my online business was done after she went to bed, and unfortunately -- alone time with my hubby was put on the back burner. But now that she's on a single-nap schedule, it became even harder to cram everything in. I was trying to do my workouts in the middle of the day during an unpredictable nap time (so many workouts were getting missed) or I'd run out of time -- getting in my workout but not finishing dinner prep (take-out it is... again!). Plus, she is SO much more active now as a toddler that I found myself exhausted by the evenings. I was trying to do work at night , but I was simply not at my best at 9pm.

So I did something crazy -- well, crazy for ME at least. I committed to waking up an hour earlier in the mornings. (Notice I didn't say sleep for an hour less -- I still get my 8 hours, only I rearranged things a bit.) I was starting a new fitness program, 21 Day Fix (you can read about it here and here) so I used that as my excuse to try out a new schedule and wake up at 6:30 am everyday.

I'll be honest, Day 1 was a challenge, especially since the first workout was Cardio Fix (I despise cardio) so I really struggled through my workout -- but I did it! And guess what? I felt great after! Being able to workout, shower and get dressed before my daughter woke up was actually AMAZING! Day 2 was just as difficult. I didn't want to drag my butt out of bed and I was sore all over from my workout the day before. But I didn't let my excuses get in my way. I forced myself to get up and go workout.

By Day 3, something strange happened. I actually woke up before my alarm went off! It was actually (dare I say it?) easy to get out of bed and exercise. And the trend continued.... They say it takes 21 Days to build a new habit -- but in my case it more like 3. But I knew the key was sticking with it consistently whether I felt like it that day or not. Whether I got to bed later the night before or not. Whether I was sore or not. If I skipped a day, I knew I would be starting over from square one. So even on the weekends, I woke up early and did my workout first thing in the morning.

I found that this allowed me to use Sofia's nap time in the afternoon to focus on my business before I was too tired to think straight. I was able to come up with better ideas and work more efficiently, so I still had enough time to prepare a healthy dinner. So now, when my husband gets home from work -- I'm not totally ignoring him either. Yes, I am still tired by the evening because I'm a mom... of a TODDLER... and of course because I'm waking up an hour earlier, BUT it's ok because I'm not trying to do anything more than spend time with my love -- which I don't have to think too hard about.

Here are my top 5 tips for making sure your morning workouts happen: 

1 - Prepare everything you will need the night before (workout clothes, hair tie, equipment, DVD, fill a water bottle and put it in the fridge, etc.) so you don't have to go looking for stuff in your half-awake zombie state.

2 - What scares you most about your workouts? For me it's cardio. Any kind of cardio. So I don't check my workout schedule until I wake up. Because if I know it's cardio day, it will be that much harder to pull myself out of bed. Plus I'll probably spend more time in bed thinking about my dreaded cardio than actually sleeping.

3 - Go to bed at a decent time. If you know you need at least 8 hours of sleep to function -- get in bed when you're supposed to!

4 - Don't eat anything before. As a matter of fact, don't do anything before your workout -- just roll outta bed, put on your workout clothes, and GO! You'll be half way through your workout before you really start to wake up and realize what's going on :)

5 - And most importantly, don't forget to set your alarm(!!!) and keep it just out of reach so you have to move to turn it off.

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