I’ve only recently become one of those weekday morning exercise people. When SELF’s article about why working out at night is better was published in February of this year I felt vindicated. It’s not that I wasn’t a morning person, I just wasn’t a motivated morning person. Big difference.
But for the past few months I’ve been grinding at the gym first thing in the morning, three to four times a week, out of scheduling necessity. Without overselling it, this workout schedule shift has been life changing. I’ve felt like an entirely different person—and I’m never going back.
During the transition, physically waking up and getting my body to gym in the morning wasn’t my biggest struggle. It was asking my mind to also be mentally pumped about training pre 7 A.M. (but post coffee, obviously), that proved challenging.
Starting a workout in the right mindset is key, and I tried lots of different ways to set the mood.
Having the right mindset helps me focus on the task at hand, whether it’s working on a project at work or crushing a workout at the gym. I have experimented with lots of different morning training motivation tactics to find the right fit, and some have been more successful than others.
- Music really helps me get in the zone, so I created a special “get yo mind ready” HBIC playlist for my trek to the gym. It is a perfectly curated mix of Drake, Bieber, Sia, and Grimes—it does the trick and I love it.
- I wrote myself a Post-It note that said “morning workouts don’t suck” and posted it on my bathroom mirror the night before a A.M. training session. It fell off before I even woke up and my roommate asked if I had left this note for her—things got awkward.
- I made an extra effort to schedule dope workouts in the morning. When trying to create a mindset of action and energy, I find that it’s helpful to actually enjoy what you’re doing. While admittedly I love most workouts, there are a few that I enjoy more, and when establishing this new morning workout habit I focused on scheduling more of those classes and less of the ones that I dragged my feet about.
- I leveraged technology by trying Amazon Echo’s new motivation skill. The gist of the feature is that you an receive on-demand fitness ~inspo~ quotes to help power up your mood. The Amazon team sent me the Alexa-powered speaker to test it out and I was unsure at first. But after a few weeks of being shouted at, I started looking forward to the daily morning announcements.
“Don’t put in half of the effort unless you’re okay with half of the results.”
That was the first motivational quote that Alexa shouted at me at 6 A.M. on Monday. Damn, that’s good, I thought.
See, I had set up the Echo up on Sunday evening fully skeptical of the usefulness of this skill because I don’t like surprises, even small ones. (Skills are the things Echo is able to do and you usually download them like apps.) I enjoy planning ahead and carefully curating most things in my life, so the thought of leaving my daily dose of motivation up to chance seemed very against my Virgo nature. But after a few days of power quotes I surrendered to the unknown—and just asked for a second one if the first was a dud.
The skill acts as an audio presentation of the #goodvibes and #fitnessinspo tags on Instagram, which I scroll through regularly for a little pick-me-up motivation. And having an assistant (er, Alexa) handle this for me while I was still a little groggy made my job of getting #UpNOut easier.
This also shifted my approach to morning workouts: Often I get bogged down in the details (OK, I have to get on the train at this time, I’m going to do this routine, I used this weight last week so let’s try this weight today, did I pack my regular bra, etc.), and it kills the mojo. Hearing an ~inspo~ quote reminded me to focus on why I’m putting myself through this in the first place: To feel effing amazing.
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