I’ve been exercising for nearly 15 years now. I choose to make it a priority in my life. I like the way it makes me feel and I love the places it takes me and the things I’ve had the chance to do. That doesn’t mean that I’ve somehow figured out how to make fitness easy in the past 15 years. It’s still hard. And one of the hardest aspects of trying to stay healthy and fit is finding the time to do it. For a lot of us, that means we need to get our exercise in before the rest of the day begins to swallow up our time. Which means, more often than not, we’re up at the crack of dawn, laying down those miles, jumping in the pool or hitting the gym. Even successful entrepreneurs know how powerful getting up early can be. Let’s face it, leaving your soft, warm sheets to put on some clothes, force yourself to be uncomfortable -and like it- isn’t easy, even for the most dedicated person. I’ve had my ups and downs with a consistent morning exercise routine, as, I’m sure, many of you have. But I’ve learned a few tricks over the years that have allowed me to rarely miss a wake up call. So, I figured today we’d talk about a few great ways to make getting up early a little easier.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. If you want to be faster, you consistently train at a fast pace. If you want to be stronger, you work the same weights or movements until your body adapts and becomes stronger. It’s the same with sleep. There is no way you’re going to be able to wake up consistently at 5 AM if you’re not dedicated to making it happen. And usually that dedication comes into play the night before. Make sure you’re going to bed about 7-9 hours (depending on how much sleep you think you need) before you want to wake up. If you’re consistent with your bedtime, you’ll be consistent with your wake up time.
Put Away Your Phone
The light emitted from a phone, pad, television, or computer actually suppresses melatonin production in the body. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle. The best thing to do is put away your phone and turn off the TV. They’ll be there tomorrow, I promise. Maybe try reading a (gasp!) good book. And if you’re worried about suppressing melatonin in your body then…..
Take a Melatonin Supplement
We here at Gnarly are all about keeping it all natural. Melatonin pills (here’s a good one) are a great way to naturally allow your body to start feeling ready to sleep -It’s not nearly as scary as a sleeping pill because they’re not addicting. Unlike Arrested Development. Which you should turn off immediately and go to bed.
Get Your Gear Ready to Go
Here’s a little personal info: If I’m doing a 6AM crossfit workout, I’m sleeping in the shorts I’ll be wearing for the WOD. If I’m running up a trail with my good friend, running shoe expert, and Gnarly Athlete BJ Christensen, I’m wearing my splits (sexy, huh ladies). Now, you can sleep in whatever you want, but it also helps to have everything you’ll need to change into laid out and ready to go. The same goes for your shoes, hydration packs, helmets, carabiners, hang gliders, etc.
When You’re Up, Get Going!
Finally, once you do get up, don’t hesitate, stumble around, and search for the drawer you put your phone in to check texts and emails (still, I’m proud you actually put it away) – get going! Start doing some things to wake you up. Brush your teeth, wash your face with some cool water, and move with a purpose. It’s a great idea to let some light in your bedroom, either by opening the curtains or by switching on a light. Remember when I said light would naturally stop your body from thinking it’s time to sleep? Well, once you’re up, that’s a good thing! switch on the light in the bathroom and pour yourself of water to rehydrate from the hours you spent sleeping and not taking in fluids. In fact, why not try a little Gnarly Hydrate in that water.
So there it is, a few really simple suggestions on how to get up earlier. I will say this, If I know I can’t get the 7ish hours I personally need to feel rested, I get up anyway. I do this for two reasons. First, If I sleep in, I’ll miss my workout. And then I’ll be bummed that I slept in AND didn’t exercise. Second, it goes back to consistency. If I sleep in and skip a workout, I’m more likely to stay up late that evening. Then the pattern repeats itself and all the sudden I’m watching Robocop at 3AM and I’m 400lbs. Not ideal.