(Even if you aren’t a morning person)
Are you reluctant to participate in that whole cardio at work trend? Good news: exercising before work is about to get… possible.
Maybe it’s the New Year approaching, or maybe it’s a holiday fitness panic, but I’m on a major health kick lately. I’m all about getting more exercise by cheating the system (the “system” being my morning routine: wake up, down coffee, assume post at laptop).
It shouldn’t be so hard to squeeze in a little 30-minute workout before we hit the grind, but it is. Why?
See if any of these sound familiar:
- Just ate breakfast.
- Need the extra sleep.
- No energy in the morning.
- It’s still dark outside.
- Don’t want to stink at the office.
- Spent an hour getting hot and I’m not about to blow it at the gym.
These are all valid reasons to skip exercise in the morning. Not. They’re all B.S. True, it can be more time-consuming for the ladies who have to redo hair and makeup before work. But if we really want something, we’ll figure out a way to make it work, right?
Wait — why do we really want it?
Why do we want to sleep in our gym clothes and hide our very loud alarm clock in the dresser across the room so we’ll be forced to get out of bed at the crack of dawn?
I’ll tell you why. Because it’s December. We can’t afford to get the winter sniffles like all of our friends. And we certainly don’t want to flush our holiday cheer (read: Christmas bonus) down the toilet due to a bad attitude at work.
If you need a third reason to schedule some extra exercise this season, how’s this: I know you’ve been ignoring David Zinczenko’s advice and you’re chugging gingerbread lattes like they’re going out of style. I am.
So get out your pencils, boys and girls.
We’re about to cross all the excuses off our lists and master the elusive morning workout.
- Just ate breakfast. Well, thank goodness you know that you need to eat before you work out in the morning — but did you know that you don’t need to eat a Denny’s Grand Slamwich? (See, David, I am listening!) Fuel your workout by having a light, gut-friendly snack as soon as you wake up (put a protein bar in your pillowcase if you need to). Then eat Breakfast Part II after your workout. More tips on what to eat here.
- Need the extra sleep. Uh, just go to bed earlier. And make those 7-8 hours of sleep count.
- No energy in the morning. Get moving and you’ll get energy. I hate to say it, but it’s that simple. If your morning routine requires exercise, like getting from point A to point B (rather than jogging around the block), you’ll do it — and a few minutes in, you’ll be wide awake. If you live in California or own one of these, then pound the pavement to work. If you have grade school-age kids and a flexible schedule, get in on the walking school bus: communities across the U.S. have rotating groups of parents that walk the neighborhood gaggle to school every morning. No gaggle and nowhere to go? Fine: perk up with a coffee protein shake.
- It’s still dark outside. I know you feel like it’s the middle of the night at 7 a.m. It is. But you can use light to trick your brain into waking up. So flip on the stadium lights in your gym room and you’ll be up and at ’em in no time. Or cash in on the abundant luminosity of corporate office fluorescents and do some cardio at work. Saying sayonara to coworkers at the elevator and taking 12 flights of stairs up to the office? Yep, that counts as a workout.
- Don’t want to stink at the office. You’ll never catch me hitting the gym at 5 a.m. and blow-drying my hair in the locker room at 6. Not you, either? Well here are two fresh words to stuff into your lexicon: shower wipes. They’re big enough to clean your whole body, cost 50 cents a pop, and wipe away sweat and B.O. like a magic wand. So tuck a few in your Hermès briefcase and get treading already.
- Spent an hour getting hot and I’m not about to blow it at the gym. There’s a magic wipe that can erase your B.O., but can it fix your chignon and reapply your lipstick? Nope. So here’s a thought: why not pick two days a week to go casual? These days, ballet flats, a cardigan and a ponytail will suffice whether you work at Goldman Sachs or 7-11, so don’t tell me you can’t forgo the stilos once in a while. Guys, same to you: sport casual attire a few times a week and it’ll only make your GQ days stand out even more.
I’ve never been a morning exercise kind of person. I’ve never been a morning anything kind of person. But I’m feeling daring (or Deb’s office sedentarism facts are starting to freak me out), so I’m going to give pre-keyboard-pounding workouts a try.
Do you work out in the A.M.? If so, what’s your trick for making it happen?
- Zzzzz… Why Your Workouts are Putting You to Sleep
- Exercising at Your Desk: Should You?
- The Best Time of Day to Exercise
Want us to keep harassing you until you start working out in the morning? Subscribe to the AskFitnessCoach eBlast