As a self-proclaimed morning person, I’m almost embarrassed to admit the internal battle I have with myself every time the 5 a.m. alarm goes off for a workout. (Please tell me I’m not alone.)
The night before, I ease into my evening, confident and excited about the next morning. I actually look forward to starting the day off on an empowering, positive note, and I know I always leave a sweat session feeling on top of the world. Plus—if I’m being honest—it justifies the glass of rosé I’m likely enjoying when I book the class.
Fast-forward to the morning, and once that alarm goes off, I’m thinking of every excuse on the planet to stay in bed vs. sweat for 45 minutes. In the most literal sense, my mood is night and day. My thought process goes a little something like this…
8:00 p.m.: “YES! Scored my favorite bike in class tomorrow morning. I cannot wait!”
8:45 p.m.: “I should set out my clothes and gym bag so I can save myself time and make coffee before I leave.” *pats self on back*
9:30 p.m.: “Clothes laid out: check. Alarm set: check. Water bottle filled: check. Time for bed.”
9:45 p.m.: “Ugh, can’t sleep. What if I sleep through my alarm? I cannot miss this class. Maybe one episode of The Mindy Project will help me relax.”
10:32 p.m.: (Two episodes later) “OK, lights out, you’ve got an early morning.”
10:37 p.m.: “I hope my instructor plays Beyoncé. Or Janet Jackson. Or both.”
5:00 a.m.: (alarm goes off) “What is that horrible noise? Didn’t I just fall asleep?” *hits snooze*
5:09 a.m.: (second alarm goes off) “Oh sh*t. That’s right, I signed up for Spin. Why? WHY do I book early classes? Dumbest idea ever.”
5:18 a.m.: (third alarm goes off) “What if I accidentally slept through class? Clearly I’m tired otherwise I would be up by now. Didn’t I read that sleep is more important than a workout?”
5:22 a.m.: “Why did you have to buy the world’s coziest bed and sheets? This is all your fault.”
5:27 a.m.: (slowly begins to roll out of bed) “I should have a coffee. That will wake me up. Oh, is that a warm spot I feel? Actually, just five more minutes in bed is probably better for me anyway.”
5:30 a.m.: “You have to get up and get going. You are stronger than this. You can DO this.”
5:32 a.m.: “Wait, is that a stomachache coming on? Maybe I should lie down and wait it out.”
5:35 a.m.: “You cannot miss a $30 workout class. That’s ridiculous. You paid for it; now get up and GO.”
5:38 a.m.: “I also have a lot of emails to respond to. It’s a crazy day of meetings. See, I should 100 percent stay in bed and work.”
5:41 a.m.: “Maybe if I put my workout clothes on, I won’t want to crawl back into bed.”
5:43 a.m.: “I mean, at this point, I’m probably going to be late. The instructor hates when people show up late, so what’s the point of going?”
5:50 a.m.: (en route to class) “This is the worst idea ever.”
5:59 a.m.: (sitting on the bike) “No more 6 a.m. classes again. Only 8 a.m. or later.”
6:45 a.m.: “OMG I AM A ROCKSTAR. THAT WAS THE BEST IDEA EVER. I should leave my job and pursue working out full-time.”
7:00 a.m.: “I hope bike number 1 is open for tomorrow’s 6 a.m. class.”
While it sounds a bit dramatic, I keep the following in the back of my mind when it’s hard to physically get out of bed:
1). I cannot justify losing a chunk of money to sleep an extra hour. And when I think about it, it’s like I’m paying to sleep in my own bed vs. going to a class, which is just ridiculous.
2). I remember that my BEST ideas happen on the bike, or any workout where I’m away from my phone, computer, and other distractions. I can burn calories and think of new business opportunities? Yes, please.
3). I won’t work out later. I know this about myself after years of committing to evening workouts, only to cancel last minute. At the end of the day, I have zero energy in the evenings to do anything but relax.
4). I’m tired now, but I’ll also be tired when I wake up in five, 30, or 60 minutes from now, so I might as well get up now and deal with it. Plus, the earlier I rise, the easier it is for me to fall asleep at night.
5). My favorite mantra: “If not now, when?” No joke, I actually say to myself, “OK, when are you going to do this then?” Knowing I’m usually in meetings all day, and evenings are a no-go, 6 a.m. is the time that works best for me.
6). There’s a reward on the other side. Sometimes the reward is an iced coffee; other times it’s a really good mood. Either way, I know I leave feeling like a better person both mentally and physically.
My most productive days start with a morning fueled by taking care of myself mentally and physically, and chances are, if it’s hard for me to get going, it means I need it more than ever. While I’ll always listen to my body and not push my limits if I’m injured or sore, it usually just comes down to a short-lived, Western-style standoff between my bed and me. And I’m OK with that—as long as I usually win.