For many of us, early mornings are the only time we can dedicate to sport. During the dark winter months this can be a tough call. Personal trainer Leo Savage, who spent many years getting up before dawn for semi-pro Rugby, reveals his top ten tips for morning motivation.
1. Find a training buddy or invest in a personal trainer. Few of us will repeatedly hit the snooze button if we know there is someone waiting for us. If it’s a friend, you would be letting them down. If it is a trainer, you will be charged. The likelihood of you actually getting out of bed in the dark is much higher if another human is involved.
2. Preparing yourself the night before can buy an extra 30 minutes in bed. Cook double at dinner time and set aside a portion for lunch the next day; iron your work clothes; prepare your bag. Savage even recommends preparing five work outfits on a Sunday to save more time.
3. Get good quality sleep. The number of hours depends on the individual, however it is important to avoid caffeine and excessive alcohol the night before.
4. Hydrate. Especially if you have had a glass of wine at dinner. We’re not all professional athletes, so many of us will go out the night before an early morning workout. That is fine. Just make sure you drink lots of water before bed.
5. Set the mood when you wake up. The age old trick of putting your alarm clock far away from the bed is a good one, says Savage. It forces you to get out of bed. Just make sure you don’t get straight back into it again.
6. Have a purpose and banish negative thoughts. Stop thinking about how many more minutes you can stay in bed before being late. Focus on the positive desire to get fit and healthy. Don’t be poisoned by tiredness.
7. If music gets you going, then turn it on. It doesn’t have to be crazy house music – anything that lifts your mood and helps to motivate will work. Try creating a “I will not be beaten by dark mornings” playlist.
8. To breakfast or not depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you train on an empty stomach you will burn more fat. If you train with a belly full of porridge you will just use the energy from the carbohydrates. Speak to your personal trainer about what works better for you.
9. Relax. Once you are up and out of the house, you need to forget about the pressures of the day and focus on why you are going to the gym. Luxuriate in the moment. And don’t forget to give yourself a tap on the back.
10. You’ve done it. You’ve made it to the gym and it’s not even light. Now you just to have keep doing it. Start by going once a week and enjoy the sense of achievement. Make gradual changes to your fitness routine rather than setting unrealistic targets.