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For coffee drinkers, set the timer and have your to-go cup ready (Amanda Shapin)

How to become a morning (workout) person

Living in a bustling city like D.C., if you don't get your workout done first thing in the morning, there's a good chance it won't happen at all. Late nights at work, last minute happy-hour invitations or general end-of-the-day exhaustion can keep you from your workout, which is exactly why you should make it a priority, first thing in the morning.

It's not always easy to rise before the sun to workout, but you (yes you!) can make this a part of your regular routine. Getting your workout done pre-sunrise takes a bit of planning, but soon enough it will become second nature and you’ll be running out the door with a smile on your face, ready to get that calorie burn out of the way.

Here’s how you’ll make it happen:

Mentally Prep the Night Before

The success of getting your early AM workout done hinges on prepping yourself ahead of time. Before bedtime, set your intentions and goals for the morning. Don’t go to bed saying “tomorrow I’ll workout.” It’s too vague. Make specific goals and plans, including what time your workout will take place, the workout routine you’ll follow or class you’ll attend, and when you’ll be done.

As you mentally prep, review your fitness goals and remind yourself how each workout will help you reach them. The more you plan it in your head, the more likely you will be to follow through.

Physically Prep the Night Before

Of course it’s more than a mental game, you need your gear ready to get you out the door too! Have all of your clothes laid out, down to the tiniest detail (no one wants to be running around at 6 a.m. looking for a missing sock). Find your routine and stick to it. For coffee drinkers, set the timer and have your to-go cup ready. Set out your pre and post-workout nutrition. Set your alarm (or maybe a few alarms if you’ve been known to over-snooze) and have a glass of water by your bed.

When you wake up, first drink 8oz of water to start your day hydrated, then lace up and get moving. With all your gear lined ready, you won’t waste precious sleep or sweat time.

Consider the Details

In the morning, leave nothing up to chance. Think through your entire morning to ensure that you can have a successful workout and get on with your day. Things to consider: does the gym have showers and if so, will there be a wait? What time do you have to be at work? What will you eat for breakfast? What are you wearing to work? Go through the questions, know all the answers and be fully prepared.

Enlist a Friend

If you find that you’re always bailing on your early morning workout plans, get a friend to join you. Hold each other accountable to meet at a certain time, no excuses. If someone is depending on you, you’re far less likely to roll over and go back to bed. Be a good friend and meet your buddy so you can both start your day off right.

Sign Up For a Class

With or without a friend, you won’t bail on your workout if you’ve put money into it. If you love classes and enjoy structure, sign up in advance. Most studios charge you a cancellation fee. Who wants to miss their morning workout AND pay for it? With your money on the line, no matter how much you want to sleep in, you’ll get up and get your money’s worth.

There are great studio options in the D.C. area including SolidCore, PureBarre, Down Dog Yoga, PureRyde and Orangetheory Fitness. All awesome workouts and all will charge you that pesky late cancellation fee.

Still struggling to get up for your workout? Remember all the benefits of waking up with fitness. By starting your day with a healthy jolt, you’re more likely to make healthy decisions all day long. You’ll be more energized and awake after your workout, making you more productive throughout the day. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your evening plans, guilt free.

Creating a new routine takes time. It may be tough at first, but stick with it and eventually that morning workout will no longer be a point of dread, and instead something you look forward to.

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