Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Early Bird Feels the Burn

I started writing this post on the elliptical at the gym at 6:30 in the morning last week. After composing a couple of half-jibberish sentences, I had to quit after I slipped and nearly fell off the machine. Blogging and exercising can mix, just maybe not at the same time!

What better way to greet a Monday morning than by waking up at 5:30am for a workout? Morning workouts, at least during the week, seem to work well for me. It feels good to complete something so early in the morning, and this sense of accomplishment sticks with me throughout the day. Knowing that I have earned the right to relax makes me look forward to taking it easy after work. I admit, sometimes I have not looked forward to working out after working 8+ hours. (On a side note, I really don't think I have ever regretted hauling my butt to the gym or for a run outside).

There are a couple of drawbacks to working out early, of course. The biggest one is the sleep forfeit. When I'm smart, I compensate by going to bed earlier, but not usually enough to completely make up for getting up at 5:30. Squeezing in 8 hours of sleep means bedtime is at least 9:30 (earlier for me, as I need a little time to read and settle down). But I'm not always smart and don't get to bed any earlier, so I do lose an hour of sleep. Fortunately that is fix-able by getting the early-to-bed idea into my head.

Second is that I don't usually have as much time in the mornings as I would in the evenings to work out. I can usually fit in a 3 mile run and 15-20 minutes of strength training. When I worked out in the evenings, I could tack on some extra time if my planned workout took longer than I expected or if I just felt like working out longer. But, the time difference isn't major--I get an hour in the mornings instead of maybe the hour and 20 minutes I might have stayed in the evening.

So when my phone alarm cheerily announced 5:30am had arrived, I hauled my sorry butt out of bed and into the gym clothes I had conveniently laid out the night before. I'm not sure how it took me 30 minutes to pull myself together and arrive at the gym (which is less than a mile from my house), but it did. I didn't even make coffee first. If I am going to make this early-rising-working-out thing stick, I need to figure out how to not piddle so much.

I've done early workouts a few times in the past, and like those times, it was nice to experience the gym in a much less crowded state. Apparently the 5:30 (no, make that 6 am) crowd is a pretty small group.

I felt that I had more physical and mental energy throughout the day by starting the morning off with a run. It was indeed a psychological boost to know that my workout was already done for the day (an item checked off the to-do list by 7 am? Yes, please!) And I've really enjoyed the evening hanging out with the hubby and cats.

Now if I could just keep my eyes open

Overall, I'm pretty happy with switching to more morning workouts. It gets me revved up for the day, and gets an important task of the day done early. I may never be an early bird, but fortunate I don't have to be too alert when churning out a few miles :)

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