After work, you may be too exhausted to even think about making it to the gym. Maybe you’ve considered going on your lunch break, but the thought of showering at the gym makes you feel uneasy. If afternoon or evening workouts don’t fit into your schedule, it may be time to consider hitting the gym before the sun rises. Getting up earlier than usual is hard, especially if you’re not thrilled about the idea of exercising. If this seems an impossible task for you, try these four tips to help make it more manageable.
Set multiple alarms
If you tend to sleep through your alarms or snooze until it’s too let to make it to the gym, try setting numerous alarms. Keep one alarm near your bedside, so it wakes you up, but place another one on the opposite side of your room. This forces you to actually get out of bed and walk over to the alarm to turn it off. Once you’re already out of bed, you have the necessary momentum to get ready for your workout.
Have an accountability buddy
While having an exercise partner makes working out more fun, you may not be able to find someone willing to work out at the same time as you. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no one willing to help you reach your goals. Find an accountability partner, someone who will call or text you at the time you’re supposed to be working out to make sure you’re actually doing it. You can even set up an incentive program with this person if that helps motivate you.
Cut yourself some slack
Some mornings, you really will struggle to get out of bed. Maybe you stayed up too late finishing a movie or had trouble sleeping. Be kind to yourself on these days and understand that missing one workout is not the end of the world. Listen to your body. If you really need the extra sleep, then snooze your alarm and go back to bed. Just make sure to get to bed earlier next time, so you’re able to do your workout.
Do it gradually
If you’ve never been someone who works out early in the morning before, it’s likely that jumping right into it won’t work for you. Instead, work up to the transition gradually. In the beginning, start waking up just 10 minutes before your usual time and do some stretches. Once this ritual feels natural to you, set your alarm another 10 minutes earlier and take a brisk walk or light jog around the block. Keep working your way up slowly until you’re able to spend 45 minutes in the morning exercising.
Some people can’t start their day without first running a few miles. Other people cringe at the thought of getting on a treadmill and running for 10 minutes. While running is one of the most common types of cardio exercise, it certainly isn’t the only one. If you’re someone who hates running but still wants to be active, consider trying one of these four cardio exercises.
It may bring you back to your elementary school recess days, but jumping rope is actually an incredibly effective workout. Jumping rope for 10 minutes is equivalent to jogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Not only is it a good cardio workout, but it also helps to tone the arms, back and shoulders and increases leg strength. If you really want to up the exercise, consider using a weighted jump rope. Using a jump rope also helps to improve your posture as you need to keep your shoulders up and back to avoid tripping.
Want an effective workout you can do in a short amount of time? HIIT may be the perfect fit for you. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, uses short bursts of full effort followed by periods of recovery condenses a lot of physical activity into one quick workout. You can include a variety of exercises in your HIIT routine, like squats, pushups and lunges to work all of your muscle groups. HIIT also helps to improve your excess post-oxygen consumption and elevates your metabolism for 36 hours following your workout.
If one of the reasons you shy away from cardio exercise is the stress it puts on your joints, then swimming may be a great solution. Being in the water takes off pressure from your joints while still providing you with an effective workout. Swimming is also a great way to unwind and relax. The repetitiveness of swimming laps helps to clear your mind. Don’t let the ease of the activity mistake you into thinking it isn’t an effective workout. A person weighing 150 pounds will burn 700 calories during a vigorous hour-long swim and 400 during a moderate pace one.
If exercising in a group setting is more your speed, you should consider joining a rec league. Many gyms and community centers have rec leagues for various sports that meet at least once a week to play. Find a sport you already play and love, or try something new entirely. Joining a team has the added benefit of meeting new people and making new friends with a shared interest.
About Robert J. Winn
Robert J. Winn is a family physician based in Collingswood, NJ. For over fifteen years Dr. Winn has worked to provide care to vulnerable populations that face barriers to healthcare access. As a medical professional, Dr. Winn understands how important fitness is to one’s health. On a personal level, he also understands what it’s like to be overweight, so he is able to empathize with patients who struggle to live healthier lives.
Robert J. Winn’s fitness journey started relatively later in life. Although he helped other people become healthy and stay that way, Dr. Winn had fallen victim to a situation that many busy professionals find themselves in. At age 45 he was overweight and didn’t make time for daily exercise. Toward the end of 2014, Dr. Winn realized that something had to change. He had trouble fitting into the clothes he owned, and activities like walking up a flight of stairs exhausted him. Dr. Winn made the decision to turn his health around by devoting himself to fitness.
One of the most important aspects of being a physician is making sure that patients are taking the necessary steps to remain healthy. However, Dr. Winn was not following his own recommendations. In order to remedy this situation, he joined Unite Fitness, a local fitness studio. The Unite Fitness philosophy of “Heart, Muscle, Mind” resonated with Dr. Winn. With the help of Coach Gavin, the founder of the studio, Dr. Winn was able to shed 50 pounds over the course of six months.
Although Robert J. Winn started his fitness journey by attending a fitness studio and receiving instruction from the staff, he realizes that many people, including the majority of his patients, may not have the resources to purchase a membership or home fitness equipment. It’s important to remember, though, that getting in shape does not have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. In fact, you don’t have to join a gym or purchase anything to get started. Dr. Robert J. Winn recommends that patients begin by walking 30 minutes each day. Also, on the internet, you can find numerous free resources like exercise tips and guides that you can use to workout at home in your living room.
One way that Dr. Winn stayed motivated in the beginning of his fitness journey was by sharing updates on social media. His friends and family saw his progress and encouraged him along the way. Plus, patients were able to witness the transformation take place firsthand. As a result, many patients were inspired to get in shape themselves. Sharing his fitness journey on social media also encouraged Dr. Winn to work harder to lose weight because he didn’t want to let his patients down. He wanted to show them that it was possible for anyone to get in shape and become healthier as long as they are dedicated and work hard.
Being overweight leads to many health issues such as depression, high cholesterol, and diabetes just to name a few. Exercising on a daily basis can prevent or eliminate these types of difficulties. Dr. Robert J. Winn uses his personal fitness journey as an example that patients can relate to. Today he feels stronger, healthier, and happier as a result of his active lifestyle and healthy diet. He continues to encourage his patients to take small fitness steps so that they can live life to the fullest with fewer health issues holding them back.