I despise waking up early. I hate it so much. I am a night owl, and given the opportunity and ability to sleep in would be up until midnight most nights. Usually, unless something is keeping my attention, I’ll compromise these desires to go to bed at the same time as my wife so we can still share that time together and set up for some sexy times (hard to do if you’re going to bed at different times). But I still won’t wake up as early as her. Most days. But that’s about to change.
The early bird gets the worm, no doubt about it. Holly likes waking up early and having some quiet time to herself to work on projects or just get warmed up for the day. Despite my hatred toward mornings, when I have a clear and present goal, I will wake up and accomplish something, and in doing so feel full of energy and like kicking ass and taking names the whole day.
My senior year in high school wrestling season, I was at school at 6:30 a.m. for a workout or weights session before going to class. This extra work paid off, as I qualified for state despite being a fairly mediocre wrestler. During my Ironman days, I spent much of the winter and summer waking up at 5:00 a.m. and making it to a Masters swim workout before work. Despite not even knowing how to swim a few years prior, this hard work paid off when a Kona (World Championships) slot slid down to me after only my second attempt at the distance and just three years after I started triathlons. I was motivated by my hard work and how I knew other peers were not putting in the effort I was and how when it came down to it, I would accomplish my goals.
This last winter, and in spurts over previous years, I would wake up early in the morning (5:15 a.m. or so) to get a weight workout in. After Holly quit her CrossFit gym (that she’d work out in the mornings), she started working out with me in our garage gym. Sometimes in the frigid winter mornings. We got to spend some quality time together while building muscle and sweating together in shared camaraderie. This wouldn’t have happened if I had kept to my standard practice of waking up just early enough to get me and the kids ready for school and work.
Knocking out a workout in the morning leaves you feeling energized the rest of the day. Plus, you have money in the bank since no matter what happens the rest of the day, you’ve got your workout in and have done something good for yourself. Often, you’ll find excuses why you can’t work out or do something productive later (tired, not feeling well, family or work obligations, rationalized excuses), so getting it in before starting the day is often the difference between getting it in or not.
Others I know knock out their daily writing to get it in the can before the day hits them. Or whatever hobbies or projects or reading that makes them feel happy. In doing this, it makes going to bed earlier easier and making good decisions (like turning off that reality show or iPad, or not having that glass of wine) easier as well. A friend of mine (regular dad type who had put on a few) with three young kids made a commitment to get fitter and lose fat, getting up at 5 a.m. to do his Insanity workout, and came out looking and felling much better.
I’ve decided to bust out of maintenance mode in the gym, as well as health-wise, and make some progress again. In addition, I need to find some more writing time that doesn’t impact family time, and I think waking up early is the easiest way to do it. Going after this worm in the morning isn’t easy for me, but I know to accomplish your goals and be great in this life sometimes minor sacrifices are necessary. Hopefully you can find your motivation as well to make these good decisions to bump up yourself however you see fit. All it takes is waking the fuck up. If I can do it, I know you can.
My two secrets are to set up the coffee maker the night before so it’s ready to drink early, and to basically get out of bed before my brain can get warmed up and rationalize why I shouldn’t do it. If I am sleeping in sweatpants and a shirt I can work out in, all I have to do is put on socks and shoes and head to my home gym. No excuses. If you have to go to a gym, pack your bag the night before. Tell your spouse you’re going to do it, and execute that plan. Even better is to find an early morning workout buddy. Good luck!