If I had to pick one I’d say I’ve always been a lark.
I didn’t drink coffee until after college & have pretty much consistently leaped out of bed like a puppy.
For me the promise of what could happen during any 24 hour period has always been enough to launch me from bed before sunrise.
most of my friends feel like THIS about mornings
Back when I owned my boutique training studio, I was renown for my lark-status.
As a result, I was frequently asked exactly what time of day I thought was the best to exercise.
My response to this query was always the same:
The perfect time to exercise is when you will actually do it!
I’d definitely seen greater success with clients who worked out in the morning, but I credited much of that to the fact they rarely canceled our sessions.
Meetings, kids, conference calls and LIFE seemed to intrude far less at 6am versus 6 pm.
I witnessed how morning workouts were the perfect way to launch the day for some yet for others, the OWLS among us, early sessions were to be avoided at all costs.
I respected that.
I could no more summon the motivation to exercise at 8pm (!) than I could….do absolutely anything else which demanded a preponderance of energy later in the evening.
(nighttime, fleece-tanked, no-mojo Carla)
And then I did my homework and read a few studies.
And then I moved & was reminded of the double depression whammy of colder climates & shorter days.
And then I saw this:
(Source: Health Magazine)
GONE was my benevolent:
Explore! Discover what works best for you!
BACK was my verging-on evangelical from my first days of working out:
OOOH People. There’s no question. Mornings are the ONLY time to get your workout on!!
And BACK were your questions about how on EARTH I get up at 4 am.
My 4-step process to becoming a lark:
- Make decision/tell accountability partners (friends, family, social media). This is the easiest and most challenging step. In this step you’re letting the proverbial cat out of the bag (types the blogger who has a canine): Once you’ve announced your plan you cannot retract it. And, quite frankly, that’s the plan! Announce. Commit. DON’T START. Which leads me to…
- Plan workout routine. For any life–transition to work it requires we set ourselves up for success. I’m currently an intuitive exerciser, but when I launched my morning-routine I planned in advance precisely what I would do. Identify the method of planning which works for you (workout log to online source) map out workouts for the next few weeks and practice them. Eliminate excuses (“It’s too early to think! I don’t know how this goes!”) before they occur. And then…
- Wake up–don’t move! Set alarm for planned waking time and don’t exercise. I’m a believer in the power of visualization. I also discovered this step of visualizing myself exiting the bed/exercising in exactly the manner I’d planned acclimated my body to the new routine. Don’t get stuck on this step—I recommend a week—but do allow your body to adjust to the change. (Here’s where an expert might say: Move bedtime up earlier! I do not say that because I’m aware we’re all so busy earlier bedtime may not be an option.)
- Go go go! The goal here is simple one: Get up and do your best. One morning you may rock your planned workout. The next you may practically phone it in. No one workout matters more than any other. We aren’t training for competition—we are striving to shift exercise time! Each morning you wake, climb out of bed and move yer bod is a victory. What’s most important is you commit and don’t stop. Consistency. ZERO FITS AND STARTS. That equates to success.
These 4 tips are the process I used when committing to my own early morning movement.
sugar salt coat it: I repeated steps #1-3 a few times before I nailed #4.
As with all things healthy living LARK’ing is a simple process….to explain.
Change, even when chosen, requires time and patience to implement. Be kind to yourself as you transition.
- Are you an owl who’s ready to become a lark? Are you a committer hooter who never plans to move in the morning?
Allie saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 4:42 am
Sometimes I feel like we’re the same person. I was born a LARK, had that status and rep when I had my PT studio and always run before and with the sun coming up and loved every single minute!! I continue to be a lark (it’s currently 5:41am as I type) and I wouldn’t want it any other way… Although I could stand being able to stay awake after 10pm sometimes 🙂
Bea saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 5:09 am
I am all about being a night owl. I don’t think I could do this? But I definitely skip more workouts these days than I actually complete. :/
messymimi saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 5:51 am
Although i’ve always been a morning person, i have become a morning person who always needs a nap. You are right that getting to where you get up and do something before you have time to think about it and talk yourself out of it is the best way. Late in the day exercise plans always fail me for that reason, i can talk myself out of them, there’s plenty of time to find reasons i can’t. First thing means no time to find those reasons.
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:08 am
I’m definitely a lark. The way that happened was a complete change in my body chemistry when I turned 13 (no lie). But since then, I’ve just continued to cultivate it! And when I got my full time job a few years ago, that really made it stick.
Coco saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:34 am
I became a lark when I decided to make exercise part of my daily routine, because it is the only time of day I have full control over my schedule, but now I’m up and at ’em even if it’s a rest day, and I love it.
lindsay Cotter saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 6:53 am
I’m a lark. I get up and savor the morning. For sure! but it’s just quiet and peaceful. I need that “dont move and visualization” time.
shelley saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:02 am
It is SO hard to get up and do it before the sun is even out! But it helps me if I know I’ve got an exercise buddy who is waiting for me to show up.
JavaChick saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:13 am
Owl. Not ready to become a lark. Even as a child, I was not a morning person. My sister was naturally up early, I never was.
I did do morning workouts for 6 months or so a few years back and I hated it. It made me cranky. It did not make me feel energized or cheerful. I don’t have energy to put into a workout first thing in the morning, I do so much better later in the day.
So while I get the reasoning, it will never be me. Everyone is different.
Carol A Cassara saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:24 am
I’m definitely a morning person overall and that’s when I go to the gym. Unless I go in the afternoon, occasionally. Just so I go.
Darlene saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 8:52 am
I am 100% a morning person and I love my 6 AM morning power walks. Nothing holds me back…not even the occasional morning downpour. Exercise is is a core element of my self care regimen. I fully agree that you need to plan for your morning work-out routine if you want to be successful. I lay out my clothes and shoes the night before, so I am in “exercise mode” from the night before. When my alarm goes off at 5:30 AM, I am already in an exercise mindset and ready to go!
Carol ("Mimi") saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 10:08 am
Thanks for this post. I’ve been in such an exercise slump for a long time, now. But — when I look back on times when I was at my best, it seems that the early morning exercising pattern was most beneficial for me. Thanks for the motivation!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 11:51 am
If I don’t get it done in the morning, it doesn’t happen! Morning person here.
Sandra Laflamme saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 11:53 am
I used to be a rower and mornings were when the water was best to head out! I loved it. Now I struggle with the a.m. and so wish I could reverse my daily waking sleeping pattern. Thanks for the tips and maybe I need a good swift kick too . . .
Mary Jane Bruce saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 2:43 pm
I’ve tried several times to become an early morning exerciser and failed miserably. The last time I tried it, I backed out of the garage….before opening up the garage door. I’m a morning person in that I’m most energetic and creative between about 6 AM and 2 PM. But earlier than that is not gonna happen. I’ve been a consistent after work exerciser for years. Recently, I started working out over the noon hour. That’s been the best changed. I get a shot of energy in the middle of the day, just before I start to fade. And I can go home after work, fix dinner, walk my dogs and actually have an evening to enjoy. It’s the best schedule for me so far.
Leanne | crestingthehill saysJanuary 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm
I’m never going to be a lark – but I find if I don’t go for a walk in the morning, then there is a pretty good chance I won’t get around to it for the rest of the day (no matter how often I tell myself otherwise!)
Adrian | AdriansCrazyLife saysJanuary 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm
I have to admit, I am always puzzled by people who get up at such early hours. To me, that is PRIME sleeping time – it’s quiet, it’s dark, it’s the time that you’re meant to be sleeping. And really, for me, I couldn’t manage with that much less sleep. I rarely get to bed before midnight, so trying to get up after four short hours sounds almost cruel.
That said, I do try to get in a bit of easy exercise in the morning. A quick spin on the treadmill or a YouTube video before I head out to work. I do try to get in some exercise during the day, but my baby boomer work ethic makes it hard to break away from my desk for something as trivial as “me-time”.
Chery; saysJanuary 15, 2017 at 6:44 pm
I am 63…have been getting up to see the sun rise (and run or something) for 45 years! Fellow baby boomer here…what does that have to do with anything?
Chery; saysJanuary 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm
I’m up at 3:45 most mornings and out the door by 4:20 for my bike, run or swim. I feel awesome all day at work while others are dragging butt, I am chipper and calm with the 40 preschoolers I see on a daily basis. They sense my mood too and flock to me.
Nicole @OldSchoolReads saysJanuary 21, 2017 at 4:26 am
I am definitely an early bird, but now I’ve got some new terminology for it (LARK). Magic happens at 3 a.m. I appreciate your advice to get up and do your best. Getting down on ourselves is not inspiring, be us lark or night owl.
Have an awesome morning.