Working out consistently is not always easy. Waking up at 5 am to workout consistently is just plain difficult.
With the start of a new job, finding time to go to the gym wasn’t easy. Going after work sufficed, but even after a quick workout the rest of my evenings were consumed with the daunting chores of making dinner, ironing clothes and preparing for the next day. The only way I could increase productivity was to begin working out in the mornings, which is why I started my 5 am workout challenge.
I challenged myself to wake up and hit the gym starting at 5 a.m. every weekday for a whole week. I posted a photo of the time I left for the gym and a picture of myself after each workout to monitor my progress. The snapshots were posted on my social media sites in order to show consistency to myself and followers.
Before jumping into this challenge blindly, I asked someone who inspires me for help. Alicia Waldner is the cofounder of ADventure Marketing and has been bodybuilding for over two years. She stressed that waking up early to workout is all mental; mental reminders can get you up quicker than any alarm clock can. You have to wake up every morning and ask yourself these three questions:
“Do I want to achieve my goals?”
“Do I want to get a head start?”
Do I want to be better than the person I was yesterday?”
I found that preparing the night before coupled with a positive attitude are the two keys to a successful early morning workout. Setting a routine and preparing allows for mental clarity and reduces the need for scrambling in the morning. Because I get ready in the gym locker room, each night I packed a gym bag complete with shower products and my work clothes. This way all I need to do in the morning is change into my activewear, grab my breakfast/coffee and go.
Each day I logged how I was feeling both physically and mentally. I wanted to keep track of how working out in the morning affected my productivity at work and my overall mood.
Workout: Arm Day
How I Felt Afterwards: I was full of energy at the gym. On days I workout my arms, I typically do not use heavy weight, but rather higher reps with lower weight. I didn’t want to push myself too hard because I was unsure how much energy I would afterwards. I was noticeably happier at work and more alert throughout the day. Working out in the morning gave me a sense of accomplishment, which in return boosted my mood.
Workout: Leg Day
How I Felt: I’m not sure if it works this way for everyone but I look forward to leg day, so waking up and getting out the door was no problem! I did notice I wasn’t able to complete my full leg day routine because I was short on time, but it was a good workout where every minute was utilized. Tuesday is when I started to notice my hunger increase due to the fact I was waking up so early and pushing my body. (I ate my lunch at 10:45 a.m.) My overall mood was similar to Monday’s, I felt very awake and alert.
Workout: Abs and Cardio
How I Felt: The hardest and most exhausting day. I specifically remember hitting snooze 4 times. I pushed through and left for the gym but I felt sluggish and my workout was cut short. Feeling very self conscious, I debated even posting the selfie I took. The biggest takeaway from this day was how important it is to listen and be in tune with your body. I’m happy I still pushed myself to go to the gym, but realized in the future it’s important to allow yourself to rest. I felt tired during the morning and my energy picked back up after lunch.
Workout: Leg Day
How I Felt: Because I felt so sluggish on Wednesday, I went to sleep early that night to ensure I would be well rested for Thursday. As I mentioned before, I love leg day and was focusing specifically on my hamstrings this day. I felt energized from my workout; noticed some strain on my body but pushed through it because I only had one more day left of my challenge.
Workout: Arm Day
How I Felt: I felt accomplished, which directly played a part in my mood. I pushed myself a little harder at the gym in order to help kick off my weekend. On this particular Friday, I had a half day at work and celebrated completing my 5 day challenge with mimosas and lots of carbs.
Happiness comes from progress. By pushing myself to do this small 5 day challenge, I felt better about myself both physically and mentally. For me, working out provides mental clarity, it is a way for me to release stress and frustration. It is important to push yourself but also know when to take breaks; you don’t want to start hating your routine.
Morning workouts are HARD. Waking up at 5 everyday can be strenuous. It’s important to mix up your workout routine. If you’re thinking about incorporating them, try doing A.M. workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s workout in the evening to mix it up. This will help heal your body and mind because as I mentioned earlier, waking up that early is all mental strength.