When your alarm goes off, do you curse its very existence and hit the snooze button eight times before finally dragging yourself out of bed? While you may not be one of those naturally perky turkeys who happily wakes up an hour before work to slip on their sports bra for a sweat session, if you find you're skipping out on exercise altogether because you're too busy or too tired, then you might have to learn to love morning workouts. Here's how a nonmorning person like yourself can turn into an early-rising morning exerciser.

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  • Tuck yourself in early: You can't go to bed at midnight and expect to rise and shine at 5 a.m. with barrels of energy for a kick-butt morning workout. Get into the habit of going to bed early enough so you get at least eight hours of zzz's.
  • Induce sleepiness: Not sleepy enough to fall asleep early? Try limiting your caffeine during the day, and be finished with your last caffeinated drink by 4 p.m. Warm baths, a cup of tea, a calming sleep-inducing yoga sequence, ditching the TV and computer use before bed, eating these foods, and sticking to a regular exercise routine can help you fall asleep more easily and help you have a more restful, solid night of sleep.
  • Get personal: Find creative ways to inspire morning workouts. Remember, it doesn't even have to do with the workout — conjure up an image of that cute guy you've seen at the gym lately, or get excited about a tasty new breakfast idea you can enjoy post-workout. If you need a bigger push to get you through the actual workout, getting to listen to new songs from your favorite artist or the next chapter in that riveting book on tape might be just the thing. Or maybe the excitement of using new sneakers or trying a different running route. If you have something you're looking forward to once you wake up, you'll find it impossible not to get out of bed.
  • Make a date: You know you love Zumba and your gym only offers it at 6 a.m. Make an appointment with a trainer or plan to meet a fitness buddy at the park to go for a run. Scheduling morning workouts with specific times is a surefire way to get you there.
  • Go ahead and reward: Either give yourself a little treat after each morning workout or make a goal to exercise every day, Monday through Friday and on the last day, buy yourself a new fitness top, get a pedicure, or go to the movies with a friend. Rewards are huge motivators, and thinking about the pleasure that comes after your hard work may give you that emotional push out of bed.