If you asked all my past roommates and exes if I am a morning person, let's just say you'd receive some big laughs and a resounding "No!" A self-proclaimed morning hater for as long as I can remember, I've been known as the queen of excuses such as "three more minutes" (averaging an additional hour of time in bed — no easy feat) and everyone's favorite, "Can you carry me out of bed?" (which I used throughout my college years.)
The concept of being a morning person has always been foreign and intriguing to me. When I was sleeping in too late, throwing myself together, frantically grabbing coffee, and running into the office at the last minute, I felt like my morning-loving co-workers lived secret, zen lives before 9 a.m. that were full of accomplishments out of my reach. I would attempt to become a morning person and hit up the gym or head to yoga before work, but despite all my efforts, my morning routine stayed the same . . . until six months ago. I've experienced a serious change that I (and everyone in my life) once thought to be impossible: I wake up two or three times a week at 6 a.m. to work out. I wish I could say that I woke up one day magically filled with more energy and maturity, but I would be lying. Instead, I fell hard for one workout.
At first, I resisted SoulCycle's advances. This indoor-cycling studio's cult-like following made me skeptical, but after I got my ass handed to me at my first class, I was hooked. I had recently broken up with a long-distance boyfriend, and throwing myself into a new cardio routine I loved made me feel strong and more like myself than I had in months. A few months into my new relationship with SoulCycle, I realized that my weeknights were booking up fast. I spent my evenings sweating at the studio and was saying no to dinners out with friends, relaxing solo Netflix sessions on my couch, or yes, new dates.
After a wavering back and forth, I knew that there was one option that could help me have it all, but it would require me waking up at the crack of dawn. Things didn't change overnight; it definitely took a few weeks to get into the groove. But approximately three weeks into my morning-person project, something clicked — and it stuck. I now realize that my past attempts to exercise in the morning faltered for a number of reasons. Here's what made the difference this time around.
No Option to Snooze
While there's certainly a meditative aspect to my morning SoulCycle routine, the music, group energy, and programming works to wake my body up — there's no option to snooze on my mat like I used to do during a quiet yoga session. In SoulCycle, I find myself invigorated by challenging cardio, dancing on the bike, and other people sweating it out in class. When it comes to a morning workout, making the shift to intense group fitness was a must for me. There's plenty of time for me to chill on my yoga mat after work or on a weekend afternoon.
Before-work sessions fill up in a flash at the SF studio, so signing up and paying for classes days in advance is a must. I quickly learned that the guilt of sleeping in past my wake-up time is only trumped by the realization that I've wasted $30 before getting out of bed. When my alarm goes off and my mind taunts me to stay under the covers, I remember that I'm throwing away money if I don't pop up and out.
The Way You Make Me Feel
Dragging myself out from under the covers has always been a struggle, and heading to a workout that felt like another thing I had to do or cross off my list didn't make the process any easier. This became a nonissue with my new routine, because I genuinely love SoulCycle and the way it makes me feel all day long. Sure, there are tough moments where I'm bitching and moaning on the way, but I am never disappointed with my decision to wake up and work out once I walk into the studio.
At this point, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm a SoulCycle convert. I also get that it is not the ideal morning workout for everyone — just like every workout out there is not for me. Sure, I love group fitness, but I'm not down with any class where I'm berated by an instructor (think military-style boot camp), and I can't fathom the concept of craving a long run. The lesson here? Find your SoulCycle. There is a workout out there that fits your personality and your body's needs, and it can change your tune about waking up early — I'm living proof.