Yesterday, I mentioned that I had to be out the door for work at 6:40.  I also mentioned a long time ago that I do yoga every morning before work.

I know for some people an early wake-up call is easy and they have the most energy and do the best work in the morning hours.

That’s not the case for me.  In fact, given the opportunity I think I’d sleep through most of the day and just get up in the early afternoon and start my day then.  Okay, okay, you caught me.  My days off are a lot like that 🙂

During the week though, I have a pretty strict morning routine that allows me to do yoga, shower, read emails, eat (usually) and sometimes even do some cleaning or homework.

This is not an easy feat.  It took me about a year to get to this point and in all honesty some days are easy, but there are many struggles.

How did I do it??

First, you need to get used to getting up early.  There are some keys to this.

  • Start Slow. There was a time that getting up before 6AM seemed like an impossible task that was only worth it for the sake of a vacation.  Now, it’s normal.  In fact, I’m toying with the idea of a 4:45 alarm time.  I know crazy right?  I used to get up at 6:00 (or later) and slowly worked up by five minutes a week.
  • Set a regular alarm time. For me, that means the same alarm everyday.  Setting a regular time will allow your body to adjust its internal clock.  Even if it’s a rest day, I’d say get up and use the time to get an annoying chore out of the way.  I usually scrub my bathroom on my rest day… It’s not my favorite chore but I get it out of the way first thing and I just feel so accomplished the rest of the day.  Ideally, vacation days and weekends would be included in this.  Honestly, I don’t do that.  That’s why one of my rest days is Monday because it’s so rough.  That day, I just catch up on work emails and such so at least I can stay in my bed. (Thursday is bathroom day 🙂 ).
  • Make it worth it. What? By that I mean, take those five minutes and do something that you can look forward to.  The first five minute increment I added soy milk to my coffee (Black was the usual because I like the flavor but adding the milk made it seem decadent).  If I didn’t get up- then it was gone.
  • Don’t do anything. As in, don’t start running or hitting the gym right away.  The key here is to build the time into your schedule before you start doing anything.  You want to give your body time to adjust so that you will have energy and so you won’t burn out before you begin.
  • Go To Bed! This is where I struggle.  Shows that start at 10 get DVRed because I know it’ll mean getting sucked in and not getting myself to bed on time.

After, your body is ready for an early wake-up call you want to get into the routine of exercising in the morning.

  • Start Small. Again? Yes.  That means don’t head out for a 10-miler the first day.  Honestly, that’s why I *only* do yoga currently.  I plan to start including strength training as I go along and when I finally get myself together a run.
  • Be prepared. I sleep in yoga gear and have the DVD, YogaDownload, or DVRed FitTV program ready to go the night before. A plan is nice too.  In my hazy morning state, I need to know what I’m going to do (which is why I need to have those runs planned so I’ll know mileage without having to think/remember anything).
  • Think ahead. Initially, I struggled because I’d run out of time for exercise because I’d be preparing my breakfast or lunch.  So, now I *try* to keep everything prepped the night before.  That means my lunch is mostly, if not all, packed.  I either have a set breakfast plan that’s easy (cereal), have the ingredients prepped (pre-measured oats in the pot, and milk, and other add-in measured and ready as well) or have something prepared (breakfast cookie, museli, etc).  I also have my outfit ready because I really can’t afford three outfit changes. My purse is all packed as well.

I’m actually going to work on implementing these steps myself as I plan to start running more seriously and want to build in the time for longer runs now before the cold winds of December make my warm bed seem even more pleasant!  I do kind of like how hazy my brain is in the morning when it comes to exercise.  Not thinking and just moving is good sometimes and it really helps me get in touch with me rather than with whatever playlist is on my iPod.

My morning routine now looks something like this:

5:18 Alarm goes off, I stumble out of bed, turn it off and hit the bathroom
5:23 Grab a glass of water for post-exercise.  Turn on the TV and get everything started.
5:25 Yoga Time (quick so I’ll have time for the next thing)
5:45 Meditate
5:55 Grab my water and get my coffee pot and/or tea kettle going.
6:00 Jump in the shower.
6:10 Get dressed and “all that.”
6:15 Breakfast and coffee.
6:35 Shoes, bag, keys, lunch and coffee to go (on those days I didn’t follow that bed rule)

I don’t spend a lot of time on the “all that.” Most days my hair is pulled back in a ponytail and aside from the (very) occasional mascara is my morning routine. I also sit on a bus for a about an hour which means if I decide I want *more* to my look I have time to do so, it’s not like I’m driving. I also have a pretty standard work look that’s basic pants (black, dark grey, dark trouser jeans on occasion and a button down OR a day dress so it’s not too hard there). The key for me is preparedness and my cell phone alarm clock.  It starts vibrating at 5:55 and goes off every five minutes which helps me keep track of time.

I hope this helps you guys and maybe one of these I’ll get myself behind the drivers seat and get an extra half hour in my day.  Or even better a new career where I start later in the day or work from home.  One can dream 🙂

Speaking of dreams, it’s time for this lady to get to bed. Night!