What I Love (and Hate) About Early Morning Workouts
A Night Owl Embraces the Early Bird Edge.
Posted Oct 01, 2018
I am a night owl and hate waking up early for anything, however, I know that I am so much more productive when I have an early morning workout so I force myself out of bed and get ready to hit the gym. That can be easier said than done, especially in harsh Chicago winters. Lucky for me, I have a short walk to the gym. I tend to easily reach a state of flow when I workout which, for me, results in great thoughts and ideas. After a great workout, I think about what I love (and hate) about my morning workouts.
I am always tired when it’s time to get out of bed. Always. Yet I remind myself that my health is a priority, shut off my snooze, and begin my morning routine.
I feel better when I start moving around and splash cold water on my face. I hate the process of pushing off my super warm blanket and physically getting out of bed. Once I’m actually out of bed and shake off my sleepy brain I feel a lot better. Cold water on my face increases my alertness and gives me the motivation to get dressed and head to the gym.
I feel a sense of accomplishment - it’s only 5:30 am and I haven’t even started my workout yet. Really. The fact that I was able to wake up so early and actually get to the gym feels great. I’d rather spend mornings snuggled up in my blanket, but it feels wonderful that I achieved the first goal of the day (getting to the gym) before my day even began. What was really cool about my last early morning workout was that I had a successful workout and wrote an article because I had so much creative energy (and it wasn't even 8:00 AM!).
I feel great during my workout and have a mind-clearing experience that gets me ready for the day. Beginning a workout is hard. My mind is ready but my body is still half asleep — I hate that. I slowly but steadily begin the workout for the day (like treadmill intervals and light lifting) and soon enough I find myself reaching a state of flow as my mind becomes totally distant from what seemed to be a tough decision to get out of bed for an early morning workout. I feel great, my mind is clear, and I finish my workout ready to get on with my day.
I always come up with ideas when I work out. Always. Every time I workout I come up with really cool ideas. Not all of the ideas are doable, but they are pretty cool nonetheless. A recent idea was thinking about how I hate my early alarm and how I love my workouts. I feel like my creative flow is heightened during workouts which is an even more compelling reason for me to stick with early morning exercise. I reach a flow state when I write as well, and considering I have multiple pieces in progress at any given time, I will accept all of the flow that comes my way.
I’ve never regretted getting up early for a workout. Never. When I hesitate about getting out of bed for my early morning workouts I have a pep talk with myself about how awesome I feel during exercise and post-workout. This is enough for me to shut off my snooze and begin my morning routine. I always feel good after a workout — even workouts that are not as strong as I am capable of completing. The success, in my opinion, is that I try, day after day, to live a healthy lifestyle and that I commit to my lifestyle. My workouts fluctuate in the level of difficulty, duration, and effort, yet I continue to pursue health so that I may continue to help others achieve their own goals and dreams. I’ve never regretted getting up early for a workout. Never.
Dr. Kerulis is a professor with Counseling@Northwestern.