Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cool Kids Wake Up Early

Happy Sunday! Sunday's here are usually my rest day, because I hit it pretty hard during the week. Mainly hit my alarm pretty hard, when it starts going off at 4:45am.

Which brings me to my post topic ... I have had a few friends and readers ask me, "How in the $#%@ do you wake up at 4:45 everyday and workout?" And for a long time, I couldn't answer that because I was making a sad, half-assed, feeble attempt. Over time, it has become a habit that I enjoy - but it took some tweaking and patience. 

First of all, why would someone want to wake up before the sun?

I tend to lose motivation pretty quickly. I need to wake up every morning with a purpose and a reason to excel for myself. I can't save my workout for the end of the day, because the only thing I want at the end of the day are Oreos and Poptarts is a glass of wine. And waking up for me on my time makes it much easier than waking up because I have to. Taking the time for myself everyday is always worth it and I never regret time in the gym. 

I also love the sense of accomplishment that comes from a workout in the morning. It sets the tone for my entire day. I feel like a tank could drop out of the sky onto my house and all would be well. Endorphins? Sure. Craziness? Probably. The kind of workouts I do though mean so much more to me than how many calories I burned or how much weight I'm losing. To me, getting a faster Fran time or hitting a new PR on a lift are so much more joyous than sleeping in could ever be! Plus, doing it on my time, waking up with personal intention, remind me that this is my life, not to be dictated by someone else. 

Oh, so you want to wake up early, too?

Here's what I do to make my morning run a little smoother:

1. Get enough sleep. I need about 8-9 hours. Go to bed. Stop procrastinating on your sleep. I have a funny expression I use when it's past 9:00pm, "I'm late for bed!"and it really reminds me that sleep is a blessing and should be celebrated, not put off until your nodding off in front of your TV. 

2. Get a fun alarm tone. I use my iPhone as my alarm. I love buying new alarm tones, the sillier the better, because they make me smile. It's a really good feeling to wake up smiling. Sometimes, I'll have my husband buy a random ringtone for me and set it, and when it goes off in the morning and I'm listening to a dorky Justin Bieber song, it's hard not to step a little lighter into the kitchen to make coffee ... 

3. Embrace snoozing. Some people snooze for an hour, and that is overkill. Some people don't snooze at all and wake up bumping into things and walking into walls. I read in Newsweek that 15 minutes is the optimal snooze time. So, I set my alarm for 4:45, and it goes off every 5 minutes after that, allowing me a slow and gradual wake up, which is crucial, depending on the cycle of sleep you are in. Also, and alarm that starts on the quiet side and the slowly gets louder and louder can be a little sweeter to wake up to as well.

4. Have your coffee set and ready to go! Preparing for an early wake up the night before is crucial to a successful morning for me. All I have to do it bumble and grumble into my kitchen and hit the BREW button on my Keurig. It takes just a few minutes to brew, and then I'm off to the bathroom ... 

5. Lay out everything the night before. If I'm going to be doing rope climbs in my WOD, I lay out my tights and tall socks and Chucks. If I'm going to spin class, I pack an extra towel. I prep my protein shaker, a snack if it's going to be a long morning, etc. 

Sure, you may be able to throw on some clothes in the morning. I find that the less I have to think about and the least amount of choices I have to make, the smoother and happier I am in the morning. 

6. If you're hitting the gym first thing like I do, HAVE A PLAN. Seriously, the worst mornings are the mornings when the gym is busy and I have to wander around trying to figure out what I am doing for a workout. Like I said, the least amount of cognition possible in the morning is best! It's mornings like this when I feel directionless that I start to feel tired. 

I write my WOD down in my WOD book the night before, watch a video or two on the movements, check out some fellow Crossfitter's times for the WOD, so that I know I have a time to beat try to beat, and I'm set. I don't have anything to think about when I get to the gym, just my bar and equipment  to set up and 3-2-1 Go!

Here's to a happy, early, Monday morning!

What are your tricks for waking up early? 
Are you a morning exerciser or an evening work horse?

*There are days where you need to listen to your body though - you may hinder your performance more than help it by depriving yourself of sleep. Read more here on sleep starved muscles. 


  1. Good info on your routine. Im so use to waking up that early also that on the days that Im off I get up early too. I use to go train during 12p but since i change my schedule i have to go in the evenings which i don't like to much due to the crowds:=( I do go on weekend also which is less crowds.

    1. The gyms I go to are usually packed on the weekends! Lucky you!

  2. Hello, its been a while thinking that I should wake up earlier in the morning so that I can squeeze a workout before leaving for work. I need to work on that a.s.a.p. and get my a** out of bed!!
    PS: love ur blog, you are full of positivity!!!

  3. hi Courtney :)
    oh man oh man I love early mornings as well! I switched them around a little bit once I got into the workforce (now it's to work at 0500 to beat the traffic and be home by 1500 with the day stretched out before me for workout-awesomeness and dog-walks-galore.)
    Just had to agree with you: having everything ready the night before is -key-...also, without enough sleep, the day is awful. Sleep is amazing. I also set my alarm early for snoozing and have the greatest "hunting horn" alarm sound...
    Plus, watching the sunrise is just the best way to start the day.
    Going back to school and I'll be a morning warrior once more (yay!) Good luck in Basic and also, thank you for serving.
    p.s. also you are -so- cool...whenever I feel like not being positive or not working out, I ask myself "don't you want to be cool like the petiteathleat?"!

    1. Kristina, haha, I was really being sarcastic about being cool. ;) I hope that this blog offers motivation and inspiration, thank you.

  4. Great tips. I've been trying to wake up earlier, I do get a lot more done...I'm slowing working up to be getting up at 7am (which is so early for me!)

  5. Perhaps look into a new kind of protein shake bottle where it is insulated and keeps ice from melting and keeps drinks cold for 36 hours! It’s easily one of the best shaker bottles on the market and I know it's about to take off!