This post comes from my good friend Tamsin.
So while we’re all missing Theodora (read: talking about that bitch behind her back because we’re so jealous she’s in Hawaii without us), I thought I’d give blogging a shot.
Truth be told, I have tried to start a couple of blogs, but I just can’t stick to it. This is very strange, considering how many fitness/healthy living blogs I read everyday… for at least an hour or two. It’s also strange because I basically became real friends with Theo through this blog (we met in person a month-ish before she left DC… and played tennis. It was awesome).
[Ed. note: It was awesome.]
I typically work out during lunch, and I love it! I don’t have to wake up early, but I don’t have to go after a tiring day at work—it fits my sleep schedule perfectly. Lately, I’ve discovered that I need to do AM workouts to accommodate hot weather, events, etc. I’ve also discovered this awesome feeling of accomplishment and not having to play the but-I-don’t-feel-like-going-to-the-gym game at lunchtime.
As I transition to more regular morning workouts (I do about two a week right now), I thought I’d share my new-found secrets with you.
First of all, I have to tell you that I’m not a morning person.Â At all. I really can’t function that early, as my brain responds to every thought with a “huh? what? where am i? what IS this? but it’s so comfy on the pillow…” Oh yeah, and I’m not supposed to drink caffeine on the regular… so I have to wake up on my own.
Yes, it’s tragic.
With this in mind, I know that I have to have a plan for the morning that involves no thought on my part. This means that I do the following:
1. Sleep in my workout clothes, sports bra and all.Â This might not work for everyone — we all have our weird sleep things. A lot of my workout clothes are old t-shirts that switch between sleeping in and sweating in, so it’s not uncomfortable for me. It might be if you actually invest in awesome sweat-wicking things that are a bit more constricting. (And now for a brief foray into something not related to anything… So I love quoting movies and Wayne’s World is one of my favorites, but now every time I hear any form of the word “constrict,” it makes me think of Garth’s quote: “It’s like a new pair of underwear. At first it’s constrictive, but after a while it becomes a part of you” BAHAHAHAHA… No? That’s just me then? Ok, moving on…)
2. Set my alarms half an hour earlier than needed to get my snoozin’ in.Â I have a terrible relationship with the snooze button. I have to hit it a few times every morning. And it keeps calling the cops but then dropping the charges and coming back (oh, that was in bad taste). So instead of fighting it, I plan for it. If I get up earlier that normal, it’s just more time to wake up for me. Half an hour is about how long it takes for my brain to go from “what the hell is that? Turn it off! Turn it off!” to “oooooh, right. I need to wake up or shit ain’t gettin’ done.” I’m hoping eventually to be one of those people who hops out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off, but I’m smart enough to recognize my limitations.
3. Prep as much as possible the night before.Â Gee, no one’s ever said this before. Ever. I’m the first. Obviously, this is a good idea in general. For me, it streamlines the morning when I need it most. The more details I have prepped before, the easier it is to get out of bed (or hit snooze just one more time), and everything that comes after showering will now take me about 47 seconds to accomplish.
I pick out my work clothes, make my lunch (unless it’s a sandwich that could get soggy), pack workout gear for the next day (if I’m doing my typical lunchtime workout) and pack my work bag with anything else I might need for the day (snacks to have at my desk, drinks, Netflix to drop in the mail, etc.). Fun fact: I don’t usually pack my lunch until the morning of, mainly because I can’t stand day-old sandwiches, and I usually eat sandwiches for lunch. When I went through a salad phase earlier this summer, I made all of those the night before with any “wet” fixins on the side in baggies (cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, you get the idea). Guess why? Yup, midgets…. Nooo, that’s a lie, as using the term “midget” is not politically correct. If you guessed soggy, wilty salad then you win!
4. Plan workouts that require little to no thought.Â That pretty much rules out yoga and strength training, unless it’s a class at the gym. I’ve tried to wake up with an at-home yoga class, and I just got angry and yelled at my computer, which is clearly a normal reaction. But who the hell holds chair pose for more than 30 seconds?!? Evil, evil (virtual) yoga teachers. The problem with strength training is that it requires me to think about what to do next and if my form’s right and my bed is right over there and it would be a lot more fun to go back to sleep right now and zzzz and oh crap I have 5 minutes to get to work.Â
Cardio, specifically running, gets me out the door and moving before my brain has a chance to come up with excuses or expletives. I actually have the best runs when I’m tired because I just zone out and let me legs carry me. I’m usually about two thirds through my run before my brain starts the usual “what’s for breakfast? This is uncomfortable. That dude runs funny. Do I run funny? Would anyone see me if I picked this wedgie?” etc., etc.Â
There’s also the issue of time. I really only allow myself enough time to RUN the distance I have planned for the day. I figure, if something is truly wrong where I need to stop running, it will probably be serious enough to warrant a legit late-for-work excuse, but then again, my boss is pretty laid back so I might have more leeway there than most.
5. Get enough sleep.Â This is key. Running while exhausted always leaves me completely useless the rest of the day. Use early morning workouts to get thee to bed before 10pm. You need to get your sleep anyway, so make your friends feel fat by explaining that you need to leave the happy hour a little early to get buff. Or, better yet, invite them to join you! Workout buddies is a tried-and-true tactic to make sure you fitness yourself any time of day.
I think for anyone trying to workout at a new time of day, the key is to do something you don’t hate. Let’s be honest, exercise is not usually something that makes you feel all rainbows, glitter and popsicles until AFTER you’re done. I genuinely enjoy running, but I still have the “Would it be so bad if I just walked the rest?” debate more often than not. So don’t force yourself to do anything that might make you curse at the computer (or instructor!).
When I start feeling like I want to yell at running, I switch to spin or something else for a few weeks to avoid the burnout. Some days, I just can’t face 6am, and say f*ck it till 7. And then I am punished at lunch or after work when I’m really dragging and wished I was anywhere but the gym, cursing myself that I hadn’t nutted up and gone that morning.
I would stick around and hang out but 9pm is waaaay past my bedtime. Hope these ideas help you!