Fellow morning swamp-monsters... come this way.
If you've just about given up on the idea of exercising first thing in the morning, I implore you to give it one more try.
I know that the baltic weather and dark mornings doesn't make tying your shoelaces at 6am appealing, but listen to my logic.
I firmly believe that if you form this early-morning habit in the coldest, darkest days of the year, you will be unshakeable come bikini season.
Now, that's a lovely idea - but what about actually doing it.
I've tried countless hacks - setting out my workout gear the night before, putting my phone at the other side of the room so that I have to get up - none of it has worked for me.
Here's what I was doing wrong. I was prepping physically, but it was my mentality that was screwing me over.
My first thoughts when the alarm went off were always overwhelmingly negative without me even realising:
'I have to do this because I ate a massive pizza last night', 'If I don't do this I'm going to feel so bad later'.
Then come the positive thoughts I associate with staying in bed.
'How good would it feel if I set my alarm for 7:30am and went back to sleep', 'I really deserve an extra hour in bed because I have that big meeting today'.
Gym = negative. Bed = positive.
*You've cracked it Captain Obvious!* I hear you say... but while it sounds simple, there really is something in it.
At the root of it I want to go to the gym and I don't want to stay in bed, but because I allow myself time to think in the morning, I always manage to convince myself of the opposite.
What worked for me is a simple three-step process outlined by New York fitness trainer and be.come founder, Bethany Meyers.
Here are the steps.
1. Write down a clear, direct positive reason to go to the gym.
Eg. 'I have a massive meeting and working out before work will make me feel strong and prepared.'
2. When you wake up, DON'T THINK. You must say your positive intention five times first. Only let other thoughts in once you've said it five times.
3. Put your two feet on the floor. Just put them on the floor. The rest is easy.
“The positive affirmation of how it will directly influence the success of your day will make your morning workouts seem like a privilege and not a chore.”
Why does this work so well? Getting up is psychological - the less thinking we do, the better hope we have of taking positive action. So instead of pre-preparing your gym gear in the morning (it's easy to put it all on once you're up), pre-prepare your thoughts.
Let me know how you get on!