12 Clever Ways To Motivate Yourself To Wake Up For The Gym

This goes out to anyone whose snooze alarm always wins out over exercise.

Waking up to hit the gym is as much of a motivational workout as it is a physical one. It can be challenging to pull yourself from your sheets and lace up your sneakers. Oftentimes this leads to forgoing your workout altogether ― which means you’re missing out on added energy, a reduced risk for heart issues, improved mental health and more.

There are undoubtedly some real benefits to getting in that sweat session before work. And once you’re moving, you’ll barely miss your bed ― we promise. Below are a few hacks that can help you get past the urge to sleep in so you can get in some fitness. Your pillows have officially met their match.

1. Pick out something fun to wear the night before.

Eliminate the need to wake up even earlier to find your gear by prepping before you hit the hay, advises Sydney Miller, a senior instructor at SoulCycle in New York.

2. Go to bed early.

Make it your mission to get as many Zs as possible. If you don’t, you may be able to wake up early, but you’ll find yourself crashing midday, explains Michelle Segar, author of the book No Sweat: How The Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You A Lifetime of Fitness and director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center (SHARP) at the University of Michigan.

“If you want to get up earlier than typical to exercise then you also have to realize you’ll need to go to sleep earlier,” she told HuffPost. “That is really non-negotiable or you are likely setting yourself up to feel badly during the day or have your goal peter out very shortly after starting.”

3. Set two alarms.

If you’re married to your snooze button, it’s time to start outsmarting yourself.

“Set two alarms close together in time,” Miller said. “Waking up at the crack of dawn the first time the alarm goes off can take practice, so set another alarm a couple of minutes later so you know when that one goes off it’s really time to go. If you give yourself too much time to snooze, the temptation to stay in your morning slumber can be hard to get past.”

4. And while you’re at it, label those alarms.

Sometimes a little motivation is all you need.

“You can actually go in and edit the title of your alarms when you set them on your iPhone,” Miller explained. “When the alarm goes off, you’ll see it in large letters right across your screen, so try something in caps that will motivate you like ‘TIME TO CRUSH IT’ or ‘WAKE UP! YOU GOT THIS!’”

5. Listen to a few tunes as you’re getting dressed.

When you listen to music, your brain produces dopamine, which is a feel-good hormone. That can help you feel happy or energized before heading out to hit the pavement or charging forward with your favorite HIIT routine. Looking for some song suggestions?

6. Try waking up a few minutes earlier at a time.

Segar recommends easing yourself into an earlier wakeup time in order to allow your mind and body get used to it.

“Start with getting up only minutes earlier and go to sleep five minutes earlier. Just something minimal,” she said. “It’s a gentle way of starting that won’t shock your system and lets you start to learn how to be consistent. After you are successful for a week, increase to another five minutes.”

7. Turn your light on right away.

Light will signal your brain that it’s time to wake up, Miller says.

“When your alarm goes off, lights go on, right away,” she stressed. “The longer you keep the lights off, the harder it is for you to wake up and get moving ― so make it easier on yourself and rip the bandaid off.”

8. Remind yourself that it’ll give you a mood boost.

That runner’s high or euphoric feeling post-exercise isn’t just a myth.

“Working out in the morning is my favorite time of day to get my sweat in … you get to boost your endorphins first thing and start your day in the best mood,” Miller said. “Letting off steam and starting the day off with a smile and positive outlook can lead to less stress when you get to work.”

9. Think of how it might impact your schedule.

Let’s be real: Workouts can go by the wayside when other plans pop up.

“You get to feel accomplished about already getting your workout done before the day began, and that way if the day doesn’t go as planned and things come up (as they always do), there’s no stress for you about getting your sweat on later,” Miller said.

10. Eat some citrus.

Research suggests the scent of fruits like oranges and grapefruit can bring a little boost of energy, Readers Digest reported. Snack on some before you head out the door and you’ll feel a little more awake as you’re en route to your workout.

11. Let go of the idea that you’re going to excel at AM workouts.

Sometimes you’ll kill your fitness plan and other times you’ll be mediocre, Segar explains. The sooner you resign to the fact that you won’t always make it to your morning class or you’ll have a few slip ups, the easier it will be to keep trying anyway.

“Toss out ideas of perfection and decide to do this the strategic way,” she said.

12. Stick to a routine that works best for you.

Okay, so let’s say you tried these tricks and you still feel like you’re failing at rising and shining at the gym. That’s perfectly normal, Segar stresses. Sometimes the best hack is discovering what kind of schedule works best for you.

“This is really an individual-level thing,” she said. “If you are sleep deprived, morning exercise likely won’t work for you. If you are in charge of getting your children up and ready, morning exercise might not work for you. But if you know exercise fuels your whole day and your life context can handle that time, it might be perfect.”

All that matters is that you’re constantly committing to a fitness routine. Don’t sweat the rest.

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