When you think about a 6:00 am start time for an outdoor fitness class, what are some of the thoughts that pop into your head?
Do you think “oh god, that’s not me”?
Do you think “I can’t get up that early”?
How about “there’s no way I can function that early”?
Or the most popular one “I am not a morning person.”
These are classic objections when it comes to working out in the early hours of your day.
Can you relate to any of them?
When someone tells me they aren’t a morning person I always respond with the same line.
“We are whatever we tell ourselves we are.”
Which is very true, isn’t it? Think about any kind of negative (or positive) phrasing we repeat to ourselves, over time we end up believing it. And just like the time it took to create that belief, it takes time to change the belief.
For me, when I think about changing a thought pattern or behaviour, I first start to think about the pain vs pleasure ratio of the behaviour. Here’s a personal example: my pain vs pleasure for early morning bootcamps is – waking up early vs catching a beautiful sunrise at Bell Park.
So let’s start with some pleasures or benefits to waking up early and starting your day with a workout. The most obvious one I can think of is this – if you plan your workouts from 6am – 7am, by the time 7am hits, you’ve already met your workout goal for the day. Everything else, any other movement, stretching, cardio, or strength training you accomplish, just adds to this. Now let’s think of the opposite, let’s think about the pain of not workout in the morning – if you wait until after work to do your workout, or even on your lunch hour, how many obstacles can get in your way? How many surprise office visits, or evening activities, social engagements, impromptu plans can get in the way of an evening workout? What if we plan to workout when we get home at night? Once we get home from a long day, do we have the motivation to put our training clothes on and get after it? Not usually, especially if the habit isn’t already previously built. So the pain would be, not meeting your goals, feeling like a failure and staying at the same fitness level you’re at now.
Now let’s get back to the idea of waking up early…I imagine your house is pretty quiet at 6am. I imagine it’s quiet at 7am too. Maybe your kids aren’t even awake yet, no one is needing you. Are you having a hard time carving out me time? What if you put yourself first, literally. What if the first part of your day is dedicated to you. Dedicated to your body, your goals. BUT…then again…I’m not a morning person.
Ok, sure. I’ll bite. If that’s the story you want to tell yourself to stay on this path that you don’t want to stay on, to stay in this body that doesn’t bring your pride and joy, then that’s cool with me. Actually, it’s not cool with me…but I’ve learned to stay quiet about it. With over 10 years experience in fitness and wellness industry, I have learned that when someone is ready, truly ready, nothing gets in their way, not an early morning snooze fest, not the fact that they don’t have a yoga mat, not the fact that their shoes are muddy from last spring….excuses, I’ve heard them all. When someone is truly ready to step outside of their comfort zone, and get after their goals, the excuses just go away, the reasons not to do something fall short and they are ready to have the pleasure outweigh the pain.
Let me leave you with some tips and suggestions to make your early morning exercise regime easier to obtain:
Your early rise depends on your evening routine.
Do you have an evening routine?
A way you calm your mind and body down at night?
Or do you binge watch your favourite show while snacking until the wee hours of the night?
I wake up at 5 am and to get out of bed easily, I need to be settled by 10 pm. Anything later makes that 5 am alarm a struggle. Knowing that about myself, I can weigh in whether a late bedtime is worth the discomfort in the morning. Because the difference between me and you is I HAVE to be there. If I’m not there, the bootcamp doesn’t happen. That’s my dirty secret to staying consistent with my waking up habits. Actually, that WAS my secret, now it’s habit. How do you create that ‘I HAVE to be there’? All sorts of ways – maybe for you it’s not an I HAVE TO statement, but instead an I GET TO statement, making it a choice, and also a sign of gratitude to your freedom at that time and to your body for being strong and able to be to participate in a workout.
Another way is making the financial commitment. Sometimes putting money down on something will hold you accountable to your goals. I’ve met the “well I paid for it some I’m going to get the most out of it” style of person. This style is great because they know what motivates them, they know what drives them, they honour their hard work and time it takes to generate the money it takes to join an exercise class and that fuels them to fulfill their commitment. If that’s not you, maybe sharing your goals with someone that you look up to, that you might not want to let down, is a way to find that motivation. Maybe that person you don’t want to let down is yourself so writing out your own personal goals, on a chalkboard, on a whiteboard, on a poster board…any kind of board will do, will help keep you accountable!
How about setting yourself up a reward system. I’m never going to tell you to focus on the scale, even if your goals are weight loss. To me, building the habit is wayyyy more important than watching some number move or not move on a digital device. With habit comes consistency and with consistency comes longevity and the next thing you know you ARE a morning person, you ARE a fit person, you ARE the things you set out to be. So what if we reward the consistency. Here’s an example, after meeting your morning workout goals for four weeks straight you treat yourself to a new workout outfit or a new pair of shoes…I think it’s fairly obvious I’m not going to suggest you reward yourself with food. Now, what if you miss one session in that 4 weeks? Does that make you a failure? No, absolutely not, but I will share this with you, I was listening to a podcast with this super-human beast of a man, David Goggins, and he said something that really stuck with me. He explained the difference between Motivation and Drive. Motivation is setting a goal and getting up for bootcamp 3 mornings a week for the entire season and sticking with it until…..that rainy morning hits, or you went to bed a bit late the night before and you push that session off until the next day. But you then your motivation gets you back at it. Now DRIVE is not making excuses. Accepting that rain happens but understanding that you set a goal and you’re driven to meet it NO MATTER WHAT. That’s drive. Sounds intense, right? Well, results are built through intensity. Also, we are all looking for motivation, but to be extraordinary, we should all strive for the drive. Hey, that rhymes!
With that being said, set your alarms, reprogram your messaging in your head and see you at Bell Park starting Monday, May 28th.