I Wake Up at 5 A.M. to Work Out, and These Are 5 Tricks For Making It Effortless

I was forced to become a morning person. Not because I'm a mom or because I work full-time, but because I needed to make exercising regularly happen. My mindset used to be "Oh, I'll work out later," but later got pushed and pushed into never. With work and family responsibilities, the time to work out never magically fell into my lap.

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

I knew I had to make a serious change, so about two years ago, I decided to try CrossFit. The only classes I could fit in were before the family was awake, before work, at 5:45 a.m. It took about a month for my body to settle into this new routine, but here are five things that made it easier.

I Prep the Night Before

Laying out my workout outfit is a no-brainer. I keep everything I need to wear in the bathroom so I can easily slip it on. I also keep my sneakers and coat by the front door and my gym bag packed with my keys, fitness journal, a jump rope, and a filled water bottle.

At my CrossFit box, the owner posts the workout the night before at 8 p.m., so I always look at that to prepare for my morning workout. If there are exercises I've never heard of, or techniques I want to learn, I google it and watch a few videos while making the kids' lunches for the next day. If I'm not going to CrossFit, I'll plan out my trail run route or find a YouTube workout video I want to follow. Knowing what to expect from the next day's workout helps give me that little burst of energy I need to wake up.

I Connect With My Fitness Buddy

"Class tomorrow?" I get or send this text just about every night with my CrossFit buddy Meghann. We keep each other accountable and exchange comments after looking at the workout like "looks brutal," or "that's a lot of wall balls!" It makes me feel better knowing she'll be there sweating it out, too, and it makes it much harder to skip out after I already committed to go. When I walk into the gym, I'm always greeted with "Hey Sugar!" by the other 5:45 a.m. regulars. Feeling part of a community and knowing that other people care about me makes it easy to stay motivated to get up that early.

I Set 2 Alarms

I'm a snoozer, which means I don't just set my alarm for 5 a.m. and perkily hop out of bed, ready to do burpees! I need to ease into waking up, so for me, setting two alarms is a must. One goes off at 4:42 a.m. (I know, it's frickin' early!). I named that alarm "Kick Ass!" to start getting psyched for my workout. I tap the snooze button so it'll come on again at 4:50 a.m. I have a second alarm set for 4:54 a.m. that says, "Wake up, be AWESOME," just in case I accidentally shut off the first alarm or sleep through it (it's happened!). Naming my alarms really does get me psyched.

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

I Keep Track of My Morning Workouts

Like I mentioned earlier, I keep a fitness journal where I write down all of my workouts. It's inspiring to look back and see all the workouts I've completed and also helpful because I add little notes to help me with future workouts like "use the heavier kettlebell next time." I also track my progress, taking detailed notes about PRs (personal records) I've made with heavy lifts, or how many strict pull-ups I was able to do. There's something truly satisfying about documenting my efforts, and it motivates me to wake up so I can track another workout!

I Say No When Necessary

This is a tough one, but in order to wake up superearly in the morning, I have to miss out on doing things the night before. I usually get in bed between 8:30 and 9 p.m., so I can hopefully be asleep by 9:30 the latest. But with kids to put to bed, lunches to makes, dinner dishes to clean, and other household chores, I don't get to stay up late every night reading charming novels or cuddling on the couch losing myself in Netflix with my husband. Since getting up this early is just a weekday thing, Friday and Saturday nights are devoted to doing all those things I didn't get to do Sunday through Thursday, so it it feels balanced.

You've heard the saying, "I don't have time to work out, I MAKE time," and that's the truth. I pencil it into my schedule like an important meeting or appointment I have, which means it's non-negotiable, and I have to sacrifice at other times. For me, it's worth it though. Making me a priority is imperative because it's one of the most effective things I can do for self-care. If I don't get time every day to move my body, to connect with like-minded people, and to push myself, I don't feel good, and that affects every aspect of my life.