A woman doing yoga near a lake in the morning.

Whether your schedule has changed or you’re just tired of never fitting in your workout, many people find themselves having to exercise in the morning. If you’re not an early riser by nature, making the transition can be tough. However, these tips should make it a bit easier.

Many people love rising with the sun and waking themselves up with an energetic workout. If you’re not a fan of mornings, however, this might just sound awful. If mornings are the only time you have to exercise, though, the tips below can help you get used to a new routine.

Who knows? You might even become an early bird for life! (OK, probably not.)

Prioritize Sleep

When it comes to morning workouts, it’s not getting up early that sucks so much—it’s getting up early after you’ve only had four or five hours of sleep.

When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies pay the price. From moodiness and weight gain to a higher risk of heart disease, not getting enough sleep can have some serious adverse effects.

The first thing to do after you decide to start getting up earlier is to go to bed earlier. That earlier alarm won’t be nearly as bad if you’re well-rested.

If you’re having a hard time falling asleep, try one of these tactics to get more Z’s.

Start Slow

The Philips SmartSleep sunrise/sunset alarm clock.

While jumping in at the deep end might work well for some things, changing your sleep pattern usually isn’t one of them. A slow transition to an earlier start might be more manageable.

Start by setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual and going to bed 30 minutes before your normal bedtime. After you get used to that, keep adjusting the times until you can get a full workout in without feeling stressed before work.

If you need some additional help resetting your internal clock, the Philips SmartSleep clock can help. It simulates sunrise and sunset, so you can wake up (and fall asleep) in a more natural, less jarring way than with a regular alarm.

Sleep in Your Workout Clothes

We can probably all agree that stripping off your nice, warm pajamas and putting on a cold pair of tight clothes in the morning isn’t fun.

So, why not skip this unpleasant step altogether and just wear workout clothes to bed? It can carve out some precious extra time in your morning routine. It will also give you one less excuse to skip the gym or your workout.

If sleeping in your current workout clothes sounds about as comfy as sleeping on the old futon in the basement, you can always invest in some new, more comfortable workout gear.

Make a Breakfast Plan

A woman in workout clothes eating a protein bar at a park.

Some people need a meal before they work out and others don’t. Figuring out what makes you feel best before you hit the gym can significantly improve your day.

If you need a meal before your workout, try some of these healthy recipes that you can make in under 10 minutes. If you can’t handle any food in your system in the morning, grab a smoothie for an energy boost to push you through every last rep or mile.

It can also help to prep and freeze your meals for the entire week over the weekend, so you can just grab and go in the mornings.

Have a Bedtime Snack

If you’re not a breakfast person, eat a nutritious snack before bed instead. Some people prefer something high carb, like cereal or a banana, while others like smoothies or powdered green drinks.

You’ll feel a lot more energized in the morning because you’ll still have some fuel left over from your snack to get you going.

These snacks are ideal because they’re healthy and can also be prepped ahead of time, so you can just grab one on your way to bed.

Turn on a Light First Thing in the Morning

If you sleep alone or get up later than your partner, turn on a lamp as soon as the alarm goes off. The brightness will wake up your body and make it easier to get going.

Better yet, open the curtains and let some natural sunlight fill the room. Natural light tells your body that it’s time to wake up, and it will also help you get better sleep at night. If it’s dark when you get up, you can always get your blast of bright light with a therapy light too!

When All Else Fails, Grab Some Caffeine

A man drinking a cup of coffee.

Some people are naturally energetic in the morning and others are not. If you’re struggling, have some coffee or a pre-workout supplement as soon as you get up. By the time you reach the gym, you’ll actually be excited about your workout.

Keep in mind, the FDA recommends that adults drink no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (about four cups) to avoid adverse side effects. Some pre-workout supplements contain that amount in a single serving, so make sure that you check the label before adding these to your diet.

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout supplement is a good option, as it contains only 175 milligrams of caffeine and comes in several flavors.

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