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Motivating Yourself to Get Up Early to Workout

Jan 8, 2015 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

how to motivate yourself for a morning workout

bench press up-2

I used to pride myself on my ability to get up early in the morning. I loved a pre dawn workout to make the most of my day. If I left my exercise to the end of the day, then it is very likely that it wouldn’t get done at all- I’d find some sort of excuse, like I’d had too many cups of tea, or was too hungry or tired. Chatting with friends recently about how I fit so much into my life, I told them the trick was to set your alarm earlier, get your fitness done before work, then feel smug for the rest of the day. Last year I often got up before 5.30am to make it to a class. However, apparently my early rising ability isn’t something I’ve brought with me into 2015. A combination of late nights over Xmas and New Year, and too much to do, has pushed my bedtime later meaning my 6am alarm is a shocking, unwanted sound to my sleep deprived ears.

I am determined to readdress this, and become the early riser like 2014 Charlie.

  • Go to bed earlier. This applies to me at the moment; I like going to bed early (like 10pm early), and recently it’s been more like 11-11.30 which is just too late for me when I’m getting up at 5.30am. Getting ready for bed earlier, winding down and turning the light out by 10.15pm should start to change my body clock back again.
  • Switch off in the evening. Try to have some time away from your phone, laptop, TV etc and read a book or magazine before bed. I am trying to stop checking my phone just before I go to sleep, and turn it on to aeroplane mode whilst I sleep. I use my phone mostly as my alarm if I’m getting up before Tom (otherwise I use the dreamy Lumi Light which I would recommend to EVERYONE) so don’t feel comfortable turning it off completely.
  • I’m going to add buy a Lumi Light to make it 10 times easier to wake up- (not sponsored by them, I genuinely love it!)
  •  Have your gym clothes ready to go- I leave mine in a neat pile in the spare room/living room so that I can get up and get dressed without fishing around in the bedroom for socks etc.
  • Pack your bag for work the night before, I ensure that I’ve got mine ready and filled  with smart(ish) work clothes the night before, cutting time needed to get ready in the morning and therefore meaning more time in bed.
  • Make a smoothie, packed brekkie or lunch the previous night so it’s good to go. I usually drink half of my smoothie on the way to the gym/workout then the other half afterwards before eating breakfast at my desk.

stretching by the river

mountain climbers

  • Sign up to a class or have a PT session- if you’ve said you’ll go or better still, paid for something, you’re less likely to skip it.
  • Similarly, arranging to meet a friend can be a really effective way of ensuring that you wake up, get up and work out. You don’t want to be that person that texts to bail at 6am.
  • Download some new music, audiobook or podcast that you really want to listen to, but only allow yourself to listen when you’re working out as an incentive. I may do this with the next Serial series.
  • Remember to warm up, this will give you time to wake up properly before your workout.
  • Treat yourself to a coffee, nice breakfast or 11 o clock snack as a well done for doing your workout. I find that if I workout in the morning, I tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day if I’ve exercised, which is an added bonus!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Photos taken by the lovely Abi!


  1. Scallywag (@ScallywagSprint)

    Im TERRIBLE for this and have literally ignored my 6am alarm all week this week. I have still worked out every day but in some cases I’ve had to randomly jam it in eg at like 9pm, which I know is bad for sleep quality. This morning I even GOT UP at 6 then just sat on my couch going ‘…’ until it was time to get ready for work! Bad Fiona.

    I already do most of these (get stuff ready, pack food). Unfortunately my fitness pal rarely makes 6am workouts. However I think your tip about only being allowed to listen to things when exercising is a great one; that kinda mindset really works on me!

    I also find it easy to get out of bed if Im excited for exercise. Eg its not at all hard for me to get up at 5.30am to head into the hills; or to get up early for a one off exciting class. Maybe I just need to get some more exciting options!

  2. envierose

    This is such good timing. I think the dark mornings are making it even tougher for me at the moment! I need to sort it out! Scheduled sessions are a must.

  3. Hannah Keens

    Perfect timing for me too as I ignored by 5.50am wake up again this morning!

  4. tessietickle

    Great blog, I’m well in the zone with the morning workouts right now, getting up for pre-work runs and PT sessions as well as fitting in lunchtime workouts too.

    You’re right on the organisation – I pack my bag/breakfast/lunch the night before so I literally only have to have a cup of tea and then I’m out the door.

    Just can’t be bothered after work, unless it’s a boxing class or something that’s not on in the mornings. I also reeeeeally want a Lumie but can’t afford it at the mo!

  5. Kathy

    I would love to run in the morning as I find it so hard to motivate myself to go after work. However, I already get up 5.50 for work… can’t face getting up any earlier than that! I do talk alot about running at lunch time but have never actually got there yet so maybe I should try that… Can’t decide if the lack of showers is too gross! If I do bite the bullet and set my alarm extra early I will definately use some of these tips

    • envierose

      Lack of showers doesn’t have to be a deal breaker – if you give yourself a cool down walk/stretch before heading back inside, wet wipes and some cold water from the tap is generally enough 🙂

      • Kathy

        Thanks for the tip… I had thought of wet wipes but not of actually having a cool down before I head back in. I’m gonna try it next week!

  6. annibanani2

    I think my #1 tip would be to put your alarm on the other side of the room! I started plugging my phone in on my dresser, which means I have to get up to turn it off. If I do, I’m less likely to crawl back to bed and the few times I have done it, I definitely needed the sleep!

  7. Lauren

    I’m definitely an early riser. I like to be in bed about 8 hours before my alarm, so make sure I get enough sleep. I usually convince myself that I don’t want to have to get home after work late and do the workout, which usually gets me up and out of bed.

  8. A Magpie in the Sky

    Totally agreed on the Lumi (or similar) I’m using a sleep app at the moment that wakes you up in a half hour window which is working wonders.

  9. Bibi

    I get absolutely everything ready the night before, as I’ve found even needing to find a bobble can derail my best laid plans!
    I like working out on a morning so much that I took a 6.30 class on my day off this week. You know you’ve gone mad when…

  10. Nutty Nutritionist

    This is really good advice! And so true, when I workout in the morning I just feel like eating healthy all day! I’m going to share with my clients!

    • charlotte

      Thanks Heather!

  11. Sammy Thomas

    This is really good advise! I used to go for a run in the morning before work, but as soon as I stopped for a week I haven’t got back into the routine! Liek the idea of getting a friend roped in to it to make sure I go 🙂



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