How to ensure you get up early to exercise

Getting out of bed early to exercise can be a real struggle after some time out from training or even a weekend of partying.

That’s exactly how I felt this week having messed up my entire training and eating schedules all of last week as I prepared for few days of celebration at the weekend. In fact, when the weekend finally arrived – and what a weekend it actually was – my routines were completely turned on their heads thanks to excessive dining on rich foods, creamy deserts, huge breakfasts and copious amounts of bubbly. It was great fun at the time but when Monday arrived, I simply didn’t know where to start – the truth be told I didn’t really want to.

I have to admit that I did hit the snooze button but as I began to drift off once again – a thought began to nag at me. My brain was telling my body to suck it up – it was saying ‘you’ve never regretted getting up early to train – NOT EVER.

The feeling of having completed an early morning session before many are even out of bed is something I love. It provides a feel good factor that sets me up for the rest of the day.

As my snooze period ticked away, my body soon accepted that the decision had been made and there was no need to wait for the alarm to sound for second time.

The weekend was fun and the days preceding it were fraught with questionable eating and training but now the real fun would start again – the fun that your body feels when firing on all cylinders.

I have to admit that I felt far from a finely tuned vehicle that morning, even after my session. However, I know for a fact that I felt a hell of a lot better than I would had I snuggled under the covers until 8am and allowed myself to slip further into the realms of a sluggish sloth.

I knuckled down and got back on the wheel of eating healthy, training smart and living life to the full by not wasting hours on unneeded rest – eight hours is plenty for any adult.

By Tuesday I felt as if I’d never slipped at all. I felt back on top of my game and truly satisfied that I hadn’t given in to the lure of the duvet.

There are several ways to help get yourself out of bed in the morning which I find come in handy on those winter mornings. Here are a few.

 

 

Be prepared 

Searching clothes with one eye open when you wake up in the morning can waste untold amounts of time which when you are half asleep can mean the difference between getting up and staying down. 

To avoid this make sure you have everything you need handy when your alarm sounds. You can even wear your workout clothes to bed, leaving no excuse to get up and get on with it. 

 

 

Be accountable

There are many good reasons to train with a buddy, not least the fact that it gives you the feeling that you can’t let them down by not turning up. Why not ask your buddy to contact you when they get up to ensure you’re on time and you can repay the favour.

 

 

Be alarm smart

Place your alarm at a distance so you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off – no more easy snoozing for you. Make sure your alarm tone is truly horrible as an added safeguard.

 

 

Be motivational 

The most effective tip for me personally is to motivate myself after the alarm goes off. Even when I hit snooze I feel that giving myself a pep talk ensures I’m not still under the covers when the alarm sounds for a second time.

 

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What keeps you from exercising?

 

 

Most people say that “lack of time” is the number one hurdle. We all live very busy lives and sometimes it seems impossible to find even an extra 30 minutes to schedule in a work out. I understand.

 

The solution that works best for me is exercising in the morning. I know, with work schedules and other commitments, this might be difficult for some. However, if the only thing holding you back is a warm bed and sweet dreams then creating a morning exercise routine is within reach – you just need to form the habit.

 

I recommend exercising in the morning for two reasons. First, it gets exercise out of the way before a million excuses start to form and, quite frankly, before I shower. Once I shower and start my day I will not be working up a sweat. Regardless, I can’t even tell you the number of times I would plan to exercise after work. Then 5:00pm would hit and I would be too tired to even think about getting in a workout. Not to mention, I needed to get home and feed my family. By the time all the nightly activities were done it was time to pass out. Therefore, if I don’t exercise in the morning it won’t happen at all. The only excuse that keeps me from getting out and exercising is waking up late. In my opinion, this is a much easier fix than trying to find an hour or two in the middle of the day or at night.

 

The second reason I like to exercise in the morning is it starts my day on a positive note. I use that time to think about life, solve problems, and just be in solitude. That one-hour of exercise helps me stay focused and energized throughout the entire day. Feeling productive and accomplished is a priority for me. I need that. When I start my day with exercise I feel productive, accomplished, and ready to take on the world – all by 8:00am!

If you think exercising in the morning could benefit you then here are 7 tips that can help you start a morning exercise routine.

 

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#1 Pick a realistic time

A time I can stick with is 6:15am. This allows me to get the proper amount of sleep and still enough time for a solid workout. My little boy is starting school in a couple of weeks so I will have exercised, showered and be home before he wakes up! If you pick a time that you can never stick with then you will find it very difficult to create a routine and habit around that.

Once you pick an early morning time to exercise then protect that time. It is easy to get off track doing other things. However, if you decide 6:30am – 7:30am is exercise time then make sure nothing else takes priority.

 

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#2 Get a good night sleep

This goes along with the first tip. If you go to bed at midnight not only will it be difficult to wake up at 6:00am it will be even harder to find the energy for a quality workout. We need at least 6-8 hours of sleep to function at our best. I know we all think we are superhuman and can survive on much less. However, we are looking to thrive, not just survive, so we need our sleep. My goal bedtime is 10:30pm. Any later and I will struggle waking up in the morning.

 

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#3 Put out clothes and runners the night before

This is huge! Trust me the last thing you want to do after waking up is search around for all your work out gear. The number of times I went back to bed because I could not find my running bra is embarrassing. Having your workout gear ready the night before will put you 10 steps ahead come the morning.

Also, plan to get into your workout clothes and put your runners on as soon as you wake up. This lets your mind know you are getting ready for a solid sweaty workout!

 

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#4 Plan out your exercise routine ahead of time

Wake up each morning with an exercise plan. What exercises are you going to do? How long? Are you going to switch up exercises on certain days?  Having an exercise plan helps you getting started and stay focused on your workout. However, don’t feel like you need to do an iron man workout every day. Even a little exercise is better than no exercise so do what can. The point is know what those exercises are going to be.

Not having a plan will just waste the precious time you have in the morning. If time is an issue for you I highly recommend creating a home exercise routine in place of going to the gym.

 

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#5 Give yourself a few minutes to wake up

I usually give myself 10 minutes to wake up. During that 10 minutes I will drink water, stretch, and start listening to my music. I know this seems very basic but it is these simple tips that have shown some of the biggest results for me.

 

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#6 Put together a motivating playlist

The right music is essential to staying motivated during a workout – at least it is for me. When I have high energy motivating music playing I can run 30 minutes without thinking twice about. I highly recommend taking the time to put together a playlist specifically  to listen too when exercising.

 

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#7 Exercise often

Whenever you are forming a new exercise habit the key is to do it often (at least 4-5 days) and for a long period of time (3-4 weeks). If you exercise sporadically it will always feel like you are starting from the beginning. Challenge yourself to stick with it.

When you begin waking up early to exercise it will be hard – very hard. You won’t want to do it and will probably have to push yourself a bit. However, after a few days it will get easier. Then after a week or so you will wake up before the alarm goes off and look forward to exercising. After a few weeks it will become second nature – exercising in the morning will become a habit. Once you form the habit you don’t need to be as strict. However, in my experience, keeping exercising consistent will help sustain your exercise habit.

I say this all the time…IT NEVER GETS EASIER YOU ONLY GET BETTER! Keep that in mind when things feel impossible or out of reach. You can do this!

If you like to exercise in the morning what are your tips for starting and sustaining a routine? I would love to hear from you all 

 

 

 

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Workout motivation tips that really work!

When it comes to fitness, though it’s easy to start off strong, it’s even easier to slowly fall off the workout wagon. All it takes is one little excuse to derail your routine and stall your efforts. And with summer so close we can practically taste it, staying in shape should be at the very top of our to do lists.

With that in mind, here are my top tips on how I stay motivated.

Pencil in your workouts: Instead of just telling yourself you’re going to hit the gym either before or after work, make a point to schedule it into your life. If it’s in your diary, in your phone, or on your computer, it’s easier to stick to your plan. I always try on a Sunday to make sure I have at least 3 sessions organized for the week ahead and work the rest of my day around it!

Grab a friend: Make your gym session a social session. Enlist a friend, boyfriend, family member, or anyone who can help you stay committed. Plus research suggests that working out with a partner can help you lose more weight than going it alone. I love working out with my gym buddy Lisa, it really helps to keep me focused and working towards my goals.

Try something new: Whether you’re an elliptical queen or a running machine, sticking to one type of workout I have found in the past is an easy way to slow down your results and get bored — fast. I have been going to a personal trainer for the past 6 months and find that mixing it up each session is working really well for me so what id suggest is to try strength training one day, slipping into a group fitness class the next, and so on. It’s important to keep your mind and body challenged, by switching things up at the gym, you’ll continue to see improvement and avoid a fitness plateau—results are always motivating!

Track your progress: If there’s one thing that’s all about progress, it’s fitness. Whether you’re looking to lose some weight, training for an event, or just feel better, you work towards milestones—and keeping track of the work it takes (and the achievements you accomplish) to reach them could help keep you accountable and motivated. Luckily, thanks to the many apps and gadgets that are available, it’s easier than ever to log the miles you’ve run, the reps you’ve completed, and basically any component of your fitness routine.

Turn up the tunes: Think of your playlist as a way to fuel your workout and your drive. I personally find that upbeat music inspires me to get to the gym and when there makes me work out harder and stronger.

Try a shorter workout: Tight for time? That’s just an excuse; you can still squeeze in a session, even if it’s just a 15-minute one. A quick workout can still help you stay fit and on track. Interval training is a brilliant way of burning calories and improving your overall cardiovascular fitness and the best part is that you can do it at home.

Rest easy: Working out 7 days a week isn’t really an option for me nor does it interest me. In fact, they say that overtraining can lead to burnout, injuries and even anxiety. Your body needs time to recover, and doing so can help keep you on track. Just as you would schedule your workouts, make a point to pencil in at least two rest days. Consider your rest days the perfect excuse to book a massage, do some light stretching, or just kick back and relax.

 
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Juice Plus+ Announcement: Jason Fowler earns coveted slot to compete in Hawaii IRONMAN Triathlon

 

 

 

 

Jason Fowler is no stranger to the IRONMAN trials in Lubbock, Texas. He knows only too well that the trials are the key to the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii. His ultimate goal has always been qualification, but since last year, Jason’s been training a new attitude.

 

“After winning [IRONMAN] in 2009, I wanted to get back to this race and really enjoy it, said Jason. “I spent so much time with my head down, focused on the training and preparation in the past that this year, I really wanted to enjoy the process and have fun with it.”

 

This time around, Jason committed to what he calls his “no regrets” six months.

 

“I just put everything I had into my training, getting better and trying to get back to IRONMAN Hawaii this year,” he said. “ For the past six months, I’ve just been training, on average, about 18 hours a week.”

 

Coming into the trial in Texas, Jason had also already done three half IRONMANs, a marathon and an Olympic distance triathlon.

 

“I was well prepared and couldn’t have felt any better. It was a spectacular day,” Jason recalls. 

 

While Jason would be elbow to elbow with all of his competition who had travelled there from around the world, he would also be face to face with some really good friends he’s known for a long time.  And they all, each and every one of them, knew exactly what it was going to take to get that coveted one through two position. 

 

Jason stated, “I knew what time I had to make and I knew I had perform my best.  And I went to Texas to qualify, to enjoy it, and to be good with the outcome.  Well, I had my best day, and so I walked away with a second place finish and a spot to go to the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii in October.” 

 

As you can imagine, Jason Fowler is incredibly excited and at the same time, he feels grateful and blessed to race at this level.

 

“I’ve been in wheelchair sports now for over 20 years,” Jason says. “At first, it was just wanting to win, but at the same time I want to savor the experience and what it has to offer. I’m grateful that I can participate in the event— especially using a wheelchair, and show the world that it doesn’t matter that you’re in a wheelchair—you can still do whatever it is that you want to do.”

 

Jason Fowler grew up in Kingston, Mass., where he spent most of his childhood riding motorcycles, becoming a nationally-ranked amateur racer by age ten. Jason’s life was forever changed, however, on March 13, 1991. At 17 years old, while riding his motorcycle, he collided with an obscured rock and hit the ground head first, severing his spinal cord in the process. His injury left him paralyzed from the chest down.

During the weeks following the accident, Jason looked toward the future. He insisted that he would be as active as possible, as soon as possible. Competitive racing had been his passion. Four months after his accident and spinal fusion surgery, his drive, determination and strong will propelled him into racing again – only this time in a wheelchair . He has since completed more than 140 road races, 30 marathons and 25 triathlons.

Despite occasional medical and physical setbacks along the way, Jason has always continued to look ahead. He never accepted that his life would be anything other than extraordinary. Like other world-class athletes, he maintained a rigorous training schedule and continued to tirelessly pursue success.

In late 2004, Jason encountered an unexpected obstacle.

“I was in Kona, Hawaii competing in the IRONMAN Triathlon World Championships,” he remembers. “I had completed the 2.4-mile swim and 106 miles of the 112-mile bike segment, when a race official stepped in front of me and disqualified me from the race because I had failed to meet the 10 hour and 30 minute cutoff for completing the swim and bike segments. I was angry and disappointed with my performance, and it is a race I will never forget.”

After Jason’s disqualification, he made it his mission to get back to Kona and accomplish what he had set out to do: finish IRONMAN Hawaii.

Jason explains that “in order to race in Kona, a triathlete must earn a slot through a qualification race. For the handcycle division, competitors must finish in the top two at one of two races – in Lubbock, Texas or Antwerp, Belgium. This ensures that qualifying for Kona is a special privilege and that eligibility is only for the elite.” 

In 2005 and 2006, Jason competed again in the Lubbock qualifications, but finished in third place both years. He missed qualifying by one position and noted that his greatest challenge was that his fellow handcycle athletes possess significantly more muscle function than he did. His injury prevented him from using any muscle groups below the T5/T6 level, which translates to completing a 140.6 mile race using only his arms and shoulders. Despite this adversity, Jason resolved to do whatever it took to achieve the goal he had been denied in 2004: finishing IRONMAN Hawaii.

Jason competed in Lubbock again in 2007. Despite cutting 43 minutes off his six-hour race time, he missed qualifying once again – this time by five minutes and 10 seconds. “I was disappointed that I didn’t qualify, but I was proud that I had made such great improvement.

“That winter, I trained with intense focus and treated every single workout with emotional intent,” Jason recalls. “That was also the winter I started to work on my swimming with Dr. David Phillips (who was an All-American swimmer in college) and his wife Heidi Phillips, who introduced me to Juice Plus+®.”

Jason qualified for Kona in June of 2008 by finishing first at the Texas race. Then, on October 11, 2008, he successfully completed the IRONMAN World Championship in a personal best time of 11 hours and 29 minutes.  Only one year later, in 2009, Jason went on to win IRONMAN Hawaii.

 

Over the intervening years, Jason has continued to push through barriers, overlook limitations and set new expectations for himself. Today, after a much-needed break to focus on his relationships with friends and family, Jason will be competing again in the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship this October in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.  

 

We’ll have the special opportunity to follow Jason’s IRONMAN regimen, post by post and week by week, as he trains to exceed his personal best time with a new attitude. But know, he is a man with a modified mission. 

“I’ll show you with my posts and video journal that some days it’s very, very tough and there are a lot of ups and downs through this process but I think that’s what makes it special when you get to that point you’ve been aiming for.  So, I’m looking forward to going through that over the next few months and sharing it with all of you.”

And, yes, Jason has found that balance point in his life. In addition to racing, Jason has also excelled academically and professionally. He attended the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the wheelchair racing team, and then returned to Massachusetts to attend Northeastern University in Boston, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. In May 2004, he earned an MBA with a concentration in health care management from Boston University. He now works as a clinical consultant at Medtronic, Inc.
 

Why does Jason do what he does? “It’s because people think I can’t.”

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