Early Birds and Gym Rats

Whenever there’s a huge change in my life (or more importantly, my schedule), I freak out about how my workout routine will be affected. With our recent move to the city, I wasn’t sure exactly what would change, but with a whole new gym and a change in commute, it’s been a bit of an adjustment. When we lived in the suburbs, we could wake up at 5:30, hit our gym, come home and shower in time to walk out the door at our appointed times. With the amended arrangement, we need to get up at 5am (30 minutes can make a BIG difference at that time of morning!) in order to make it to the gym and stay on track. The extra needed time combined with the fact that I haven’t been sleeping well (chalk it up to a new environment and Penny’s newfound affinity for barking at all hours of the night) has led to me being a lazybones and not dragging myself out of bed in the morning to work out. Which I hate. I have been fitting in fitness in other ways, luckily. Our new office has a gym, so when I’m not inundated with client calls, I head down to the basement to run on the treadmill, ellipticize or even lift weights. I’ve also been making great use of my fitness DVD’s, including Jillian and Jackie. I have also learned the amazingness that is Comcast’s On Demand fitness videos – everything from kickboxing, Pilates, Yoga to cardio dance and strength training. Even with all of these options (not to mention running, biking, walking outside alllllll over the city!), I have come to a realization. I’m a gym rat – through and through. I love the sense of accomplishment that accompanies a trip to the gym. I love packing my gym bag, filling my water bottle and participating in all my gym rituals. I love the added motivation of exercising in a place where so many others are working toward their own personal goal. I love making my visits there a part of my regular routine. I recently read an article from Greatist about the time of day you exercise, which actually states that afternoon workouts can be a bit better if you can motivate yourself to keep up with them. Your muscles are warmer, performance is higher, etc, etc, etc. Here’s the problem – if I go to the gym in the afternoon, it is PACKED. I can’t get an exercise in edgewise. If all I’m going to do is cardio, I can usually snag a machine, but weight training, circuits, etc, are out of the question. Also, I LOVE working out in the morning. I love walking out of the gym and knowing that before I officially “start” my day, I’ve done something super productive. I love knowing that my calorie burn throughout the day is higher for it (I know, because I’ve done experiments on this topic with my trusty BodyMedia). I’m in a better mood, I’m more productive – it’s just the way to go.

Lately, however, I’ve been having a hard time rousing myself at the appropriate hour. When Dan goes with me, it’s a lot easier, but soon, he’ll be working out at his fancy, state-of-the-art university gym, so I NEED to find ways to motivate myself to get up. The problem is, I associate sleeping in with positive thoughts. I view it as a reward. I think things like, “I worked out yesterday, so I will reward myself by sleeping in today.” SO, I need to find away to intrinsically link the early morning wakeup/workout with positive memories, associations and thoughts. I also need to start sleeping a little better and get fully entrenched in my routine so that waking up is not such an issue.

How do YOU reward yourself for an early morning workout? OR do you prefer working out in the afternoon? 

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