Rise and shine – and get moving! If you work out before your day distracts you, your chances of exercising regularly go way up. And studies show that working out in the morning can boost mental acuity and burn up to three times more fat than exercising at other times of the day.
There’s just one catch: Morning is often the most hectic time of the day. Try these tips to fit your fitness into your mornings:
Plan ahead: Take a few minutes the night before to gather everything you’ll need – clothing, sneakers, mat, weights, MP3 player, reading material, gym ID, car keys, etc. Stash everything in a bag by the door, ready to grab and go.
Stay close: If possible, do morning workouts at or close to home. Using home fitness equipment, walking around your neighborhood or local park or joining a nearby gym helps save precious travel time and makes it more likely you’ll stick with a morning program.
Work out before showering: Morning exercise has a distinct advantage: You can just roll out of bed, pull on workout clothes and then bathe afterward to start the rest of your day.
Do something you like: Exercise that is not enjoyable will not get you out of bed. If you like stretching or biking or swimming, work it into your morning workout.
Find a workout buddy: Research shows that people who exercise with a partner have more fun, stick with it longer and get better results. Committing to morning walks or doing Pilates with your buddy ensures that you do it, too!
Have a backup plan: Keep a contingency workout in mind if Plan A falls through. For example, if you usually take an outdoor morning walk, think about a good alternative, such as the treadmill or a workout video, for days when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
Get up earlier: Can't find any time in your morning schedule for exercise? Try getting up 15 to 30 minutes earlier. Before saying “No way,” think about this: That extra quarter- or half-hour can double as some much needed "you" time, plus it guarantees you the exercise your body needs. Just be sure to go to bed earlier to make up for the lost sleep!
Don’t forget to eat: If you're planning an intense workout, eat a light snack first, and give your body 30 minutes or so to absorb it. A good snacks combines carbohydrate and protein, such as fruit and low-fat cheese, or half a bagel with peanut butter.