7 Steps to Become a Morning Exerciser

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7 Steps to Become a Morning Exerciser
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Your guide to stop snoozing and start sweating. Yes, it is possible!

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Impending deadlines, last-minute meetings, an impromptu dinner date. These are just a few of many schedule conflicts that keep you from fitting in your evening workout. It's a common problem with an obvious yet seemingly impossible solution: Work out in the morning! We know, it's so hard to get up when you could snooze for another hour! But becoming a morning exerciser is doable (even if you've never been a morning person). Follow our step-by-step plan and you'll soon wonder how you ever started your day any other way!

1. Slowly Start Moving Up Your Bedtime

Working out in the morning is counterproductive if you're not getting enough sleep (numerous studies have linked a lack of sleep to everything from weight gain to an increased diabetes risk, not to mention low energy and fatigue), and trying to wake up early if you aren't fully rested is even more difficult.

Your strategy: First, decide what time you'll need to start waking up to make your workout happen, and then calculate what your new ideal bedtime should be (most experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep each night for best health and weight-loss results).

If you usually hit the sack at midnight, don't expect to start falling asleep at 9 p.m. right away. Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you gradually reach your ideal bedtime (and remember, the hours you spend in bed are not the same as hours spent sleeping, so be sure to allow yourself some time to unwind and fall asleep too). In the meantime, you can still fit in a morning workout! Use this "sleep transition" period to focus on shorter, targeted workouts.

2. Determine a Realistic Strategy for Success

Is the gym really the best option for you at 6 a.m.? Dragging yourself, work clothes, shoes, hair dryer, and makeup bags all the way to the gym—ugh, we're ready to go back to bed just thinking about it! Isn't there something easier you could do instead? A great workout DVD or a home circuit routine can be just as effective as a gym session.

More great options: Walk or jog around the neighborhood, or check for bootcamp sessions at nearby parks. Find a way to make your morning workout something you'll look forward to and be able to stick with without a lot of extra effort (with the exception of the effort you'll put into your actual sweat session, of course).

3. Plan to Fail

Yes, you read that right. While we do love the expression "fail to plan, plan to fail," being prepared to fail truly is the best credo you can have when it comes to sticking with your fitness routine. Life happens, and you've got to be prepared with a backup plan. Maybe you decided your best morning workout strategy was running outdoors—so what happens when you wake up on a rainy day?

Decide ahead of time what you'll do if (when) something out of your control comes up. Create more than one alternative so that when your workout partner cancels (time to try that Tabata workout?) or that snowstorm hits (how about a workout DVD?), you'll still be able to rise, sweat, and shine.



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