Shorter days and colder mornings can make it challenging to get up and out for an early workout, but your mind and body will thank you for it later! Studies and powerhouse leaders extol the benefits of starting the day with some endorphins, so here are my tips to make that a reality for you!

1. COMMIT – Keep yourself accountable to your workout by engaging friends and registering for classes beforehand. You’re less likely to flake out on a workout if it means standing up a friend or if you’ll incur a pricey late cancel fee. Signing up beforehand also ensures that you’ve secured a spot, which is essential because nothing is worse than getting up early only to be told you can’t participate!  When feasible, I’ve found it helpful to make carpool plans with friends because it helps us all arrive on time and reduces any traffic and parking stress.

2. LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE – By this I really mean, leave nothing to your sleepy brain. I have a bad habit of hitting snooze a lot when in a slumber state, so find it necessary to set at least two alarms around the time I need to get up, and another one for when I need to leave the house in order to be not be late. It may sound excessive but I cannot tell you how much I’ve come to rely on this system!

3. PREPARE – The night before, lay out your entire workout outfit, including warm layers, socks, shoes, water bottle, towel and any accessories (mat, earbuds, etc) you need. If you live with someone else who would be disturbed by you turning the light on or making noise at such an early hour, place your items in another room or the bathroom. If you are going for a run or solo workout, prep your playlist the night before and set out your earbuds and phone arm band.

4. CAFFEINATE – I’m not trying to push my caffeine addiction onto anyone, but I do think that my coffee machine’s autobrew setting is a huge contributing factor to my morning workout routine. Studies find that caffeine can boost athletic performance, so don’t feel bad about sipping on some java or tea (along with water) beforehand. If you don’t have a coffee maker with an autobrew function, simply prep what you’ll need the night before. I.e. fill your kettle and set your coffee or tea stuff out on the counter with your travel mug. It’s especially comforting to have a warm beverage on these dark and color winter mornings, so unless your bowel movements are highly sensitive to caffeine, go for it!

5. CONSIDER POST WORKOUT PLANS – To make morning workouts a practice you enjoy, it’s important to think through your whole morning so you don’t get frazzled by having to madly rush around after exercising. Specifically, think about how much time you’ll have between your workout and work, and make a schedule accordingly. This may mean picking out your work wardrobe the night before, preparing a breakfast you can grab on the go, or bringing a full bag with you to the gym so you can shower there and immediately head into the office.

Let us know if these work for you and if you have others to add! Sweat on!

Images by Andrea Posadas for HonestlyFIT; (image 1) wearing Girlfriend Collective set and Allbirds; (image 2) adidas jacket and Bkr bottle