How to Work Out in the Morning

Buy one, get one free deals get me every time.

Thanks to a fantastic BOGO deal at Publix yesterday, I now have two packages of Toufayan thin bagels in the delicious “everything” flavor.

Everything bagels are so flavorful. I don’t generally like thin bagels, but the everything flavor is a good one. I love the combination of the onion flavor with the texture of the poppyseeds. Yum!

Everything Bagel + Cheese

For lunch I made myself a Provolone cheese bagelwich that I enjoyed with a side of grape tomatoes and a sliced red pepper.


Red Hot!

Lunch also included a fresh apple.

A Taste of Fall

Monday Lunch

Operation Healthy appears to be in full swing! πŸ˜€

How to Work Out in the Morning

Beep, beep, beep!

What? The sound of your morning alarm doesn’t motivate you to wake up early and hit the gym? πŸ˜‰

In all seriousness, it can be very hard to get to the gym at any time during the day, let alone before the sun comes up.

I remember when I made the transition from afternoon workouts to morning workouts. In my first job after college, I hit the gym after work. I got off work at 4:30 p.m. and was able to work out and still be home by 6 p.m. This schedule worked very well for me.

Then I changed jobs. All of the sudden my hours were all over the place. I’d often be at work after 7 p.m., and frequently found myself in the office later than 9 p.m. It was not fun. (Side note: I was seriously miserable in that job and quit after finding a new job less than eight months later. Lesson learned: Bigger pay check does not equal happiness!)

As I became accustomed to my new schedule, I found myself irritated that my varying hours and demanding workload cut into my gym time.

Gradually it became clear to me that if I wanted to make my health a priority and get my heart pumpin’, I had to work out before I went into the office. This meant waking up in the 5 a.m. hour. The horror!

The first week was a challenge. My workouts were not nearly as intense and I felt sluggish.

The next week wasn’t so bad. By Wednesday, I felt like my workouts were returning to their normal intensity. Plus, it felt amazing to be done with my workout as I headed into the office. Checking something off my to-do list before 7 a.m. felt great!

Once the third week of my new morning workout routine rolled around, it felt natural. I didn’t have the desire to sleep in anymore because I felt like I would be missing something. I didn’t want to drive to work without that feeling of post-workout satisfaction.

As I shifted my work outs to the morning, I found the transition easier by following these little tips:

  • Commit to it: Your first morning workout will not be fun. You’ll be tired and cranky, but that’s okay! Don’t give up. General consensus says it takes around 21 days to make a habit. Commit to keeping up your morning workouts for 21 days and they will begin to feel like part of your routine.
  • Schedule a Workout You Want to Do: For your first morning workout, schedule a workout you want to do. Don’t tackle sprints or a five-mile run on your first morning workout if this is the workout you dread the most! Plan to take your favorite spinning class, walk your dog, or bring a friend with you for an early morning yoga session to give yourself something to look forward to when you get to the gym.

A Walk with Sadie: A Work Out I Always Look Forward To!

  • Revel in the Post-Workout Sense of Accomplishment: When your morning workout is over, make a mental note to remember how great it feels to have your workout done before the day really begins. Remember this feeling when the alarm goes off in the morning.
  • Make it Easy on Yourself: Make getting to the gym in the morning as effortless as possible by laying out your workout clothes, filling up your water bottle and having your keys ready the night before. (Click here for my tips on streamlining your morning routine.)
  • Enjoy that “I’d normally be at the gym right now” Feeling: When I switched my workout to the morning, I loved thinking “I’d normally be at the gym right now” around 5 p.m., when I would typically be working out. It made me appreciate the effort I put into getting my workout done earlier in the day.

*Special thanks to blog reader Katie for inspiring this post! πŸ˜€

Of Possible Interest:

Question of the Afternoon

  • When do you prefer to workout… morning, afternoon or night?

76 Responses

  1. Love this post! I PREFER to workout in the mornings. It really is a nice feeling to be done with it. Then you can do fun things in the evening and not worry about getting to the gym before rush hour traffic gets bad. However, lately my workouts are in the evenings as I can’t seem to get out of bed!! Trying slowly to change that as winter approaches!

  2. I could not agree more! I love the “I would be at the gym right now feeling”. ESPECIALLY when you have that thought while on the couch sipping a nice glass of vino πŸ™‚

  3. Great tips! I really want to work on this. I was I’m the habit of AM workouts at one time and can’t seem to get back to it.

  4. great post πŸ™‚ I just started doing the morning workout thing and I LOVE it. I get up at 5am Mon-Fri to workout every day before work. I feel AMAZING throughout the day when I kick start the morning with a workout.

    Also, I appreciate the commit to it comment… for me, it’s a lot to pack/remember – I pack my breakfast and lunch to eat at work and pack all my work clothes (and shower at the gym). I find this takes time in the evening but then in the morning, I think about how I already spent time getting ready and I might as well just go! I’ve never regretted it πŸ™‚

  5. Since I have the option I much prefer working out mid-morning. I have time to wake up and eat breakfast but still get it out of the day early.

    And my husband swears by the “I’d be working out now” rule. He loves having the rest of the day after work to chill instead of go to the gym. He always goes at 5 am!

  6. I am curious about this…I am working at my first post university job and I’m lucky, my hours are pretty flexible and I’m usually out of the office by 4:30 and get home and out the door again to the gym and arrive by 5:30 or so. But then I get home around 6:30-7, and dinner doesn’t make itself…plus I like to wind down and relax before bed, it’s exhausting!
    I’m wondering if I should try morning workouts, I’m just worried about having time to get ready with makeup and that sort of thing and I have a hard enough time waking up at 6 A.M. as it is!

  7. Morning, most definitely it’s great to have it out of the way and not have to worry about fitting it into the rest of the day!

  8. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. On my “daily mile” comment form, I put that “It was hot, humid and muggy. I need to get used to running in the mornings instead of the late afternoon because my schedule next semester is going to be CRAZY!”. Seriously, I have no idea how I’m going to do it, but I guess I will have to try.

    I’m not sure how this works, but can I have permission to link to this post on my blog?

  9. Love love love the morning workouts!
    I like that my (small) gym has a nice core of morning gym-goers. We’re all doing our own thing, but the camaraderie is there!

  10. Great post! In the past 5 months I have transitioned to a morning exerciser. I find that it works best for me, mentally, because when I am at work I know that it is done for the day! I don’t always work out every single morning and I make the extra-effort to go after work if I’ve missed a morning…but that feeling definitely reminds me that I prefer to workout before work. It also helps me to have my clothes out the night before so it’s one less thing for me to have to do. Another bonus for me is my gym is only a mile away, so it’s not a far distance to travel! The only downside for my morning workouts is I don’t get to workout with my husband – which is something we used to do when I would workout in the evening…

  11. I pretty much have to work out at night. My commute is so long that I already get up at 4:55am just to get to work by 8am (hello DC metro traffic) and there are not too many gyms that open that early, nor do I want to have to hit the sack at 8am just to work out at 4am. So, I pretty much have to head to the gym at around 7pm (the time I get home). During the winter I try and sneak in a lunch-time run every once in a while, but it can be hard with the workload and not having a place to shower afterward. Dove Body Wipes only do the trick if it’s cold enough that I don’t break a sweat.

    I would LOVE to work closer to home so I could take the early 5:30am group fitness classes or get home before 7pm, but it’s just not possible at this time. At least my husband enjoys the gym and evening runs so we can spend a bit of time together – otherwise I’d never see him!

  12. Great post!

    Just what I needed.


  13. I’m a morning worker outer– but definitely not 5am, ha! I think my ideal time is around 9:30– right when the coffee starts to really kick in πŸ™‚

    Luckily, my schedule is very flexible and I can usually arrange my workouts whenever I see best!

  14. Love the post! I, unfortunately, have to work out at night. With 2 kids and a full time job, i already have to get up at 5:00 just to get myself ready for the day and then get them up, fed and ready for school/daycare as well. After getting home and getting everyone fed and bathed, I get to either tackle my 5 mile run or my eliptical/strength training work out. Luckily on Sundays i get dinners/lunches for the week laid out and everyone’s clothes for the week ironed so there isn’t much preparations to do during the weeknights. AND I actually sleep really good after working out, then showering and winding down for an hour by reading. My mind and body are both physically exhausted!

    • Amen sistah! Full time worker and mommy here with a nocturnal child at that! I used to be a morning person PRE kids . . . ahh the good old days. πŸ™‚

      Kudos for you though on making “me time” I know how hard that is with one kid and a husband, let alone two!

  15. I love working out in the morning! I have been a morning exerciser for over 10 years and nothing beats it. But I do get up at 4:30…

  16. Right now I work out at around 430p. I would love to do morning workouts but as it is, my husband and I rarely see each other so I have to adjust to his schedule and stay up later than desired and there would be no way I could do morning workouts AND get to work BY 7a. Oye. Wish I could though!

  17. So do you drive home after your a.m. workout, or do you shower at the gym then head to work?

    I need a lot of privacy getting ready (I can’t even put my makeup on without feeling awkward, in front of the boyf)!!!

    • i actually live w/in walking distance of my gym, so i just walk home to shower. i’ve done both options before! if i had to drive, i’d probably get ready there.

  18. I really wish I could work out in the morning, but my hours are so early, luckily I’m out by 3:30 and at the gym by 4:30 so it’s not too bad going after work.

  19. MORNING! I just wrote a very similar post:

    πŸ™‚ Loved your post!

  20. I love working out in the morning! It feels so nice to be done with it. By night, I am just too tired to go. And the only time I could go would be after dinner, which doesn’t make for a very good work out.

  21. Definitely a fan of the morning workouts. It helps set the tone for the day. Plus, I don’t have to re-shower. πŸ˜‰
    Loving the Operation Healthy! The extra sweets have definitely been happening in this house too over the past few weeks.

  22. Such a great post! Ive really been struggling with this lately but I found that if I lay my clothes and ipod out the night before, I almost always make it happen when I wake up…it really seems to be the only thing that works haha

  23. Thanks so much for this post! I’ve just got a new job and its going to be 4 hours travelling and long hours! I know the only time i have to do my workout is if i get up at 5am aswell!

  24. I don’t like morning workouts, but I’ve been doing them a couple times a week now that I’m training. I actually don’t mind going after work because it gives me a chance to be social (I work in a very small office) and I get antsy after sitting at my desk for 9 hours so it’s nice to get in some movement. However, there are definitely those days when I wish I would have gone in the morning so I could loaf on the couch πŸ™‚

  25. What a great post!
    I do all of my workouts after work and can honestly say, 90% of the time, I am so not motivated to get on out there after 9 hours sitting at my desk. I tried going for a short run before work several weeks ago but was so let down with my lack of enery/motivation/performance. And I remember being exhausted all day long. I have contemplated trying again and sticking to it but I wonder if it might be hard doing it only several mornings a week? A big part of my workout routine includes riding my horse and that’s just not something that can be done in the wee hours of the morning before work.

  26. Thank you so much for this post! I’m not a morning person by any means but I find that when I do work out in the morning that usually sets a good tone for the day. I’m going to try doing it more now πŸ™‚

  27. Awesome post Julie! I usually work out after work (~5PMish) but I think I want to start working out in the morning for precisely the reasons you mention above: to feel accomplished at 7AM and basically, not to have to work out after a looong day. I hope I can take your suggestions and work them into my daily life! Cute pic of you and Sadie, btw!

  28. I like to mix it up depending on my work schedule but I LOVE getting it done first thing in the morning. It makes my whole day brighter just knowing that I’ve accomplished something! Thanks for the tips, I’ve been wanting to switch over to AM workouts full time but it’s the committment part I’m having trouble with. I’m starting a new job next week though so hopefully that motivates me to get my butt in gear!
    Thanks again!

  29. This was totally written for me! I really need to start working out in the morning and its the hardest thing for me to do. These tips are awesome. And hearing that you struggled with morning workouts initially makes me feel a lot better. I never commit because I don’t feel like it will get easier, but I’m going to give it a try now.

  30. Great tips! I’m in the process of switching from afternooon to morning workouts. I only workout in the morning a few days a week but it is starting to get easier, I can definitely see the appeal.

  31. love this post! I workout in the am

  32. Do you eat before you workout in the AM? I have tried working out in the morning but I find I feel sooooo hungry throughout the workout and that I don’t have enough energy. Any suggestions?

    • i actually don’t eat before i workout b/c my body cramps up VERY easily if i eat w/in an hour of working out. i know my friends who eat before working out find that consuming something convenient, like a granola bar or a banana with peanut butter really helps a lot! another friend swears by a small bowl of oatmeal with frozen berries stirred in.

  33. i LOVE woking out in the morning! it really sets the tone for the rest of teh day and I feel like I can do anything!! if plans come up, I can go to them, I am more productive at work and i just FEEL better πŸ™‚

  34. hi julie! i recently started reading your blog and immediately added it to my reader- i love it! thanks for this post! i’m considering switching to early morning workouts once school starts up again so that i have more free time in the afternoon. reading this sealed the deal πŸ™‚

  35. hey Julie…i read your blog almost everyday and am inspired by your healthy lifestyle. i have developed a problem and was hoping you could give some encouraging advice before it gets worse. so i am at a healthy weight,i naturally thin figured but i am trying to lose 4 pounds. i have lost three ready in a couple weeks., the thing is when im at home i have began to eat lots of food and stuff myself. .i think it is because im thinking about the calories too much and i like the feeling of control. for instance by the end of lunch today i had 1000 calories and wanted ice cream and i had 500 extra calories in ice cream/peanut butter. it was scoop by scoop and i always tell myslef ill just work it off but after i feel terrible, i feel like im binging. and the last few times i made myself throw up. its terrible and im too embarrassed to tell my family. i just want to eat normally.

  36. Hi Julie, so glad you made this post. It was funny, a friend of mine and I were just chatting about morning workouts and made a pact to call each other in the morning to help. When I saw your post, I forwarded it to her right away. Thank you!!!

  37. Great post. I work out after work. I have a pretty routine 8-5 job so I stop at the gym on my way home and get a workout in. I’m home by 7 so I have plenty of time to hang out with the hubs before going to bed. Hubby did work out in the mornings for years before starting Krav Magra in the evenings.

  38. Great post! I’m a morning exerciser too- it always feels so good to be done my workout before my day really starts!

  39. This is a really great post. I used to be a morning workout girl as well. After my move this all changed as my gym is on my walk home making it a bit easier to plan out the classes I want to take and get there by that time. Maybe some day I will get back to the a.m. workouts?

  40. i love working out in the AM too. when i leave it for later in the day, it’s way to easy to skip it. i also love the energy boost by running early in the am.

  41. I used to workout in the morning. But now I do it at night due to my work schedule!

  42. I have gotten used to early morning workouts. I love the way I feel afterwards too! Sometimes I’ll take a 5:30pm class because it’s one of my favorite classes πŸ™‚

  43. This post came exactly when I needed it. I’m a teacher and planning to go back to work in a few weeks after having enjoyed a glorious summer vacay of being able to get my morning workout in around 7am. Since I’ll soon have to be out the door each day by 6:15, I’m pondering whether I’ll be able to sustain the morning workouts come fall. Thanks for the tips and encouragement! You are such a great inspiration πŸ™‚

  44. Can i just say how much i appreciate this post? Everyone writes about this, but few people remark on how it gets easier. Whenever i work out in the morning, I am dying. Sweating, breathing too hard, the works. I’ve never continued to do it for more than 2 or three days because it is so discouraging. however, knowing that you, too, struggled with working out in the mornings initially is helpful and useful!! thanks!

  45. I think this is a great post. I have tried in the past to workout in the morning and may in the future but right now I am a night exerciser. I always feel like I SHOULD workout in the morning but, really, I like to workout at night. In my life right now it actually makes more sense to go to the gym at night and not have to wake up at an obscene hour so I would encourage people to workout when it fits in your schedule and when you feel best. I’m not a morning person and I get really intense workouts in at night and look forward to hitting the gym after a long day. It also allows me to eat an after dinner snack without feeling guilty! I plan my meals to allow for the extra post-exercise snack.
    But….if and when my schedule changes I will certainly be looking back on these tips and the idea that going consistently for at least 2 or 3 weeks is the key!

  46. What a good topic. I’ve tried to work out in the morning, but my workouts aren’t nearly as good. I lose my motivation and always feel rushed! Your post gives me confidence it might be possible to switch . . . not tomorrow, some day πŸ™‚

  47. Great timing! I like working out in the morning but lately I’ve been to tired/lazy to get up. Hopefully when the kids go back to school our schedules will get back on track.

  48. This post was SO helpful! πŸ™‚ I’m absolutely awful at finding ways to be super motivated in the morning because whenever I DO work out in the morning, I notice I can’t do as much and get discouraged. Sounds like perseverance is the way to go!

    p.s. Your blog is SO cute, I’ll be looking forward to reading new posts! πŸ™‚

  49. Wow Julie, this was an absolutely amazing post! So true and so helpful! I used to be on morning work outs and everything you say is definitely so true!!

    And your streamlining tips are so helpful!

    Thank you again for a quality post! πŸ™‚

  50. Hi Julie! I just recently started reading your blog and I find it so helpful! This was a great post and just what I needed to hear! Thanks for all the good suggestions πŸ˜‰

  51. As much as I LOVE working out in the morning, sometimes it feel sooo nice to work the stress out of your day in the evening!

  52. I can totally relate to feeling sluggish when you first start working out in the morning. I’d always wanted to start working out in the morning bc I can find every excuse in the book to skip the gym at night. But the first few times I went in the morning I didn’t think I could ever stick with it bc I had NO energy and felt like a zombie, but after a week or so I woke up completely awake & ready to go…and now I work out way harder in the morning than I do at night! And the feeling of knowing that no matter what I already accomplished my goal (working out) for the day is awesome!! I feel so much more energized throughout the day also.

  53. You totally read my mind! While running this afternoon I kept thinking about your morning workouts and wishing I could do them. Something feels different about exercising in the morning and I feel like I can’t do as much. It’s nice to know that will go away within a week or two. Thanks so much for this post!!

  54. I prefer to work out in the afternoons. That way I don’t feel rushed. But I also don’t work a 9-to-5, so my workout schedule is pretty flexible.

  55. Your post exactly describes my thoughts. I’m trying to switch to a morning work-out, but I have my problems with this. I really like the feeling of a morning run, though I generally don’t go as far as I would in the afternoon, plus it’s really chilly in the morning. So on most days I’ll opt for an hour of yoga which leads me to neglect my running routine… I hope that I’ll soon find a new schedule that works for me.

  56. working out in the morning is a difficult task but sometimes it can be refreshing and when its the only time to do it then it becomes easier.

    I usually always work out in the morning because once the afternoon hits I usually don’t want to work out.

  57. Ughhh I am so NOT a morning workout person! I really try to be, but no matter how long I do it for – I would really rather sleep lol

  58. PERFECT post! I’ve been wanting to switch to morning workouts for some time now. My husband works out before he works and loves it as well, but I haven’t been able to make the switch. I keep reading about how all these people are working out in the mornings and wondered if they were just morning people. When I’ve tried it in the past I would only do it for a week before giving up because I lacked in energy and motivation and I would be sluggish all day. I did, however, LOVED the aspect of being able to do other things when I would normally workout midday. Hearing that it took you 1.5 – 2 weeks to get back to normal is all the information I needed to tackle this again. I have almost 2.75 year-old twins so it’s nice to be able to do other things during their nap and pretty soon they won’t be napping at all and I’ll have to find another alternative to working out midday anyhow! Thanks a bunch!

    • i hope it works for you! the first week or so is definitely brutal, but it gets better, i promise!! πŸ™‚

  59. Quick Question: Do you eat before or after you work out in the morning? I would be willing to work out in the morning but I don’t want to wake up super early just to make breakfast. I know there are benefits to eating before and benefits to eating after. What do you think?


  60. I’m a little late on commenting but thanks for the post. I struggle with getting into a morning routine but once I am in a grove I am good to go. Having a friend meet you at the gym is a huge motivator for me. Or at least telling my husband that I will be working out. If I don’t, he will call me out on it.

    I did get out and at least take the dogs for a jog/walk this morning. I had my cousin as a motivator πŸ™‚

  61. Hey Julie, quick question. I noticed you are a coffee drinker like me πŸ™‚ When you work out in the morning, do you ever get a caffeine headache from not drinking coffee before hand? This is the only thing holding me back from making the switch to morning workouts. I don’t want to find myself running on the treadmill with a headache coming on.

    • i actually do not experience a caffeine headache, but i don’t drink coffee daily (usually 3 -4x a week). i know a lot of people who swear by drinking coffee before hitting the gym in the morning b/c they say the caffeine helps their workout. just a thought!

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