A few years ago, when I was neck-deep in diet culture, I thought that waking up at 5am to workout was THE healthiest thing you could do.
Everyone I followed on instagram or Pinterest who was a health or fitness guru woke at 5am to workout, and it was my goal to wake at 5am to workout.
So I did. I woke at 5am consistently for about 6 months to work out, and in some ways I did feel healthier but on the whole I really didn’t.
Because what isn’t being said loud enough by these people who do wake at 5am to workout, is that if you are not shifting your bedtime earlier so you are still consistently getting your 7-9 hours sleep – you are not improving your health. If anything you are decreasing your health levels.
The truth is even with enough sleep, working out at 5am to do it isn’t making you any healthier than working out at 5pm – it’s getting the work out done in the first place that is the healthy part.
As a side note…If sleep is something you struggle with and you would like to know a bit more about why you need your 7-9 hours of sleep you can read this post here.
So I stopped. Not so much through choice, more through my body couldn’t keep it up any longer and it felt like it took weeks for me to feel fully rested after sleeping again.
I couldn’t quite get the idea out of my head though, not because I believed that working out at 5am made me any more healthier than working out at a different time but because there were so many benefits I found to waking up at 5am whilst everyone was still fast asleep.
- Having some quiet time to myself.
- Waking up in silence, I find it quite difficult waking up the same time as the kids and being bombarded with questions and demands from the moment I open my eyes!
- It was a lot easier to be consistent with my workouts. When I plan a workout in the day or the evening something kept cropping up – one of the kids was ill, or I had to run an unexpected errand or I was just too tired. Not much happens at 5am!
- I’m a morning person, after about 7pm my brain stops wanting to do more than the essentials. Waking early lets me to get much more done.
- Working out first thing seems to give me more energy to get on with the rest of my day.
- Did I mention the quiet?!
A few times over the years I’ve tried to get back into it and lasted a couple of weeks and then stopped. It was only when I realised that unless I’m going to prioritise going to sleep earlier it’s just not going to work.
I’ve been waking early for a little while now and it has been a serious game changer. I’ve stuck to my workout routine (I’ve lately fallen in love with Pilates, such a good workout to wake up with!) consistently.
The best part for me has been the quiet mornings has given me space to think and have some me-time. Between 5am and 6am I fully prioritise myself and that’s something I find difficult to schedule in during the day.
It’s meant that by the time the kids wake (or are woken for school), I’ve done my workout for the day, I’ve had a cup of tea in peace while I sit down and write out my plan for the day in my bullet journal, my hair and makeup are done and I am dressed and ready for the day.
I feel like I have had a pretty good day already by the time the kids wake and it means I greet them in the mornings in a much better mood, the getting ready for school routine doesn’t seem so stressful and I just feel so much happier in general.
If waking up early is something that you would like to try I’ve got a list of tips that might help you!
- Prioritise bedtime.
Choose what time you want to wake up and count 7-8 hours back from there. That is your bed time. You HAVE to stick to it.
- Set your alarm for 10-15 earlier every morning.
If you wake up at 8am normally, waking up at 5am is a huge jump. Set your alarm for 10-15 minutes earlier each day until you reach the time you want to wake up. It will make it so much easier for your body to adapt.
- Make it easy for yourself.
If you want to work out in the morning, set your mat and weights or whatever equipment you will need out the night before. Put your workout clothes ready. Put a glass of water by the sink or in the fridge the night before so it’s just grab it in the morning.
- Give yourself grace.
Miss a morning? Don’t worry! Your body obviously needed it. I try to tell myself ‘you can miss a day but no more than two in a row’ because otherwise I find I fall completely out of routine.
- Be patient.
It takes roughly 66 days for a new habit to form according to the latest research so be patient if it’s not that easy straight away!
- Be consistent.
Even if I don’t have a workout planned for that day, I still wake at the same time. It keeps my body clock in rhythm and makes it so much easier.
- Do something that you look forward to.
Pilates is my motivation for waking up. I love the way I feel after it. I know I will feel better for doing in than for not doing it and that is the motivation I have to keep me waking every day at 5am. If you hate something you are less likely to wake up for it. Maybe a cup of tea in peace is your motivation. Or maybe having 15 minutes of peace to read your book is your motivation. Or an energising shower in peace. Find your motivation – it makes all the difference.
If working out in the morning is your idea of hell, that is okay. Like I said before, working out at 5am isn’t any healthier than at any other time of day. I like it because it allows me to be more consistent, a different time may work better for you.
I think all mums should wake before the kids even if it’s just 15 minutes and being able to have a cuppa in peace before the busy morning starts.
Maybe you would like to have a bit of time to journal or read in the morning, to have a shower and get ready without having to multi-task or quite frankly, to just have some quiet time to yourself.
If you try it let me know how you get on! Or if it’s something you already do, let me know in the comments any tips you have!