How to Become a Ride or Die Morning Athlete

Let’s talk mornings. Glorious and full of potential? Or plain terrible?*

The reasons to exercise in the morning are obvious:

  • Post-work hours are clear for socializing
  • You theoretically have more energy in the am
  • You’re less likely to flake out on your workout if you do it first thing

And of course the most unmissable one:

  • You get to be gloriously smug about having run 10 miles while your friends and colleagues wasted the morning accumulating an extra hour of pillow drool.

But if you’re not naturally of the ever-pious “morning person” variety there is hope for you yet.  Personally I require between 10 and 12 hours of sleep. That’s only slightly hyperbolic. Waking up early (OK waking up period) does not come easily for me. So that’s where this lesson is going to start, right here at Morning Workout 101.

morning runner
Your future self says “‘sup, sugar”

I wanted to workout in the am because it was too hot and I was too tired after work. I was also allured by the idea of “getting your workout out of the way.”  After a few weeks – they say it takes 21 days to create a habit – I got happily into the swing of the pre-work run/sweat session and here are my tips for how you can too.

4 Ways to Become a Ride or Die Morning Person. Let’s hit it:

1. Do not rage or stay up late the night before.  Staying up late is an advanced move and you are in an introductory course. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do this. Go to bed early the night before. In fact start going to bed a bit earlier even before you plan your first am workout. It will condition your body to fall asleep at an earlier time.

2. Make a date with a friend.  If someone is waiting for you at Engineers’ Gate at 6:30am you’re not going to stand them up. Not unless you’re a really bad person. So yes part of becoming a morning person involves peer pressure and maintaining friendships.

3. Sign up for a class (like SoulCycle or Physique) that you can’t cancel without financial penalty morning of. Think about how guilty you will feel to not only miss your workout but lose $34.

4. Sleep in your gym clothes. Getting dressed is now one less thing you have to do! When you wake up in a sports bra you will feel too ridiculous not to workout.  A lower key approach is just to lay out your clothes the night before but the more intense version is what’s worked for me.

These tactics feel tough at first. I am instructing you to play mind games and it isn’t fun, but it works. After a few weeks you will happily and naturally get up in the am. Even if you don’t sleep in your spin shoes.Just don’t go running too early. It’s not street legal.

Any other tips for making mornings easier?

*Every time I asked questions into the internet ether I think: “Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret.)


  1. October 8, 2014 / 6:39 pm

    Thanks for the motivation. I dread the idea of morning exercise but, this is good advise to kick start my mornings.

    • Nicole
      October 8, 2014 / 6:40 pm

      Yea! Once you get going it gets so much easier. Let me know how it goes!

  2. October 14, 2014 / 9:59 pm

    When I work out in the AM I sleep in my gym clothes too!

  3. January 17, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    I really couldn’t sleep in my gym clothes, the first thing I do when I get home is take my bra off and get into my pyjamas! I do love a morning workout though, I put my phone outside my room so I have to get up on first alarm.

    • Nicole
      January 17, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      that’s a great idea.

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