If I don’t plan to exercise, it doesn’t happen. I mean, I’ve never just been hanging out doing nothing and suddenly found myself in the middle of spin class at the gym, sweating like crazy.
While I will find myself absent-mindedly scrolling Facebook or eating goldfish crackers, I’ve never just mindlessly started doing burpees.
Nope. Like most people, in order to exercise I’ve had to plan it and get myself motivated.
And if working out in general takes planning and effort, doing it as a busy mom can feel like trying to organize and choreograph a hundred-person flash mob in the park.
If you’ve ever wondered “how can I make time to exercise with a busy schedule” or “when is the best time to exercise when you’re a busy mom”, then this post is for you. Because I’m going to outline why mornings are the perfect time to fit in a workout as a busy mom and how you can plan out your workout schedule so it actually happens.
There’s even an awesome free printable at the end you can download to help you create your workout plan.
MORNINGS ARE BEST FOR A MOM’S WORKOUT SCHEDULE
Whether you’re a working or stay-at-home mom, when it comes to when to fit in exercise the morning is often the answer.
Because mom days are jam packed. You have a million things competing for your attention and time. And after a long day, convincing yourself to workout after the kids are in bed is going to be tough. That’s when we’re ready with all sorts of excuses–the house is a mess, you’re exhausted, the kids need you, you need to get to bed soon, Netflix is calling to your like a mythical sea siren.
Which is why we need to get in our workout before there’s even time for those excuses to arise. Rip it off like a bandaid.
I mean, how many times have you planned to workout in the evening and totally bailed?
I did it all the time.
But I completely get it if mornings are tough for you. As a night owl, early mornings have were always really tough for me. And exercising in the morning was something that I hadn’t ever been successful at until in recent years when I’ve figured out how to get myself up in the morning (using these tips to wake up early).
Before having kids, I was an avid night exerciser. As a college student, I’d go on long runs in the middle of the night and I’ve always held a deep love for gyms open 24 hours. But I’d always wanted to workout in the mornings.
Because at the end of the day, I’d often make excuses and bail on my workout. It just felt impossible.
(Side note: The one time in college I managed to wake up early to swim laps, I swear I felt like I was going to die. The entire time. I took a 2 hour nap after my workout and it was a solid decade before I tried to wake up early and workout again)
But in the years since becoming a working mom of 4 little ones, I’ve transitioned to being an avid morning exerciser. I excise 5-6 mornings a week. And I’m here to tell you the grass is greener over here. Even if you’re a night owl.
Because even if I don’t get to the other things on my to-do list, I’ve already exercised. I start the day feeling accomplished.
So how can you make morning workouts happen? How can you get exercise out of the way first thing. These 7 tips will help you create a morning workout plan that will get you up and exercising first thing.
TIPS TO EXERCISE IN THE MORNING AS A BUSY MOM
1. Set up the night before.
The choice to workout in the morning starts the night before. You want to make it as easy as possible to simply wake up, go through the motions and start your workout.
First and foremost, you should definitely set out your workout clothes the night before. That way it’s easy to get ready to workout without even thinking.
And you should also set out anything else you can to get ready fro your workout. For example:
- Doing a workout video? Then set it up in your DVD player, and clear the floor so all you have to do it push play and do what they tell you to do.
- Going for a run? Then get your headphones, house key, and gear out and ready to just grab on your way out the door.
- Headed to the gym? Have your bag, car keys, and gear ready to go.
Whatever you can do to prepare for your planned morning workout, do it the night before.
(If you’re looking for some awesome at-home workout options, check out 10 Quick Workouts Busy Moms Can Fit in at Home).
Personally, I go to the gym every weekday morning after dropping off my two oldest at their elementary school. So the night before I prep the diaper bag and make sure I’ve got my headphones, wallet, protein bar, and anything else I might need in my bag ready to go. That way, if we’re running late I don’t have any excuse to not go to the gym. I’m ready.
Additionally, you’ll also want to prepare by getting enough sleep and being prepared to wake up early. As a night owl, convincing myself to pull myself from my soft warm bed is far more challenging than convincing myself to get my sweat on.
2. Get dressed in workout gear first thing.
For me, the decision to workout is not made when I get in the car to head to the gym or when I pop out my front door for a run around my neighborhood. The decision to workout is made when I get dressed in the morning in my workout clothes.
If you follow step 1, you should already have your workout clothes set out. So the first thing you do when you wake up is put them on. Not only does it help wake up, but it makes it all the more likely you’ll do your workout.
Most every morning, I put on exercise clothes right after waking up. If I put on the clothes, I workout. If I don’t and say “I’ll workout later” 9 times out of 10 I’m not going to do it.
3. Just do it for 10 minutes.
When you’re tired and feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list, getting motivated to workout for an hour can be a serious challenge. So instead, tell yourself you’ll workout for just 10 minutes. You can always handle 10 minutes, right?
And then one of two things will happen. One, you’ll workout for 10 minutes, get a mini endorphin boost, and feel good that you’re sticking to your habit. Or two, you’ll end up getting into your workout and going for much longer. Either way, you’re going to feel good and be headed in the right direction.
This strategy has been really helpful for me as I went from going to the gym 3-4 days a week, to going every single weekday. On mornings I’m sore or tired, I just tell myself I’ll do 10 minutes of easy cardio and then I can call it a day. No weights, burpees, or box jumps.
That gets me in my workout clothes and headed to the gym as usual. And usually once I’m there, I’m in the zone and will do my full workout.
4. Make it convenient.
What we do often comes down to convenience. The fast food place you always stop at, the grocery stores your frequent, the meals you make, the snacks you grab–it often comes down to what’s most convenient.
So how can you make morning workout more convenient?
The answer may be different for everyone given their unique personality and situation. But here are a few ideas to help you make exercise more convenient:
- Get quick workout videos that you enjoy (I personally LOVE The Beachbody workouts–they’re fun, and there’s a ton of variety)
- Get a running stroller so you can go on a run with your kids
- Invest in home workout equipment and keep the equipment where you have easy access
When something is convenient, we’re way more likely to do it no matter what it is.
5. Get an accountability buddy.
When it comes to keeping our goals and following through with plans, most of us benefit greatly from some sort of accountability system (someone or something keeping tabs on our progress).
In fact, a lot of people actually NEED accountability or they won’t get anywhere.
So get an accountability buddy or join a group that will keep tabs on you.
If you struggle to exercise, then maybe you need to hire a trainer, join a running group, or get a workout buddy.
If a workout buddy alone isn’t enough, maybe you and your workout buddy need to swap one of your shoes so that in order to get in your workouts, you both need to show up with the other’s shoe!
Perhaps you just find someone who you need to check in with everyday/week in order to follow up on progress.
For example, my sister texted me every time she went to the gym in order to stay accountable. So no text meant I knew she didn’t exercise, which helped motivate her to fit in her pre-scheduled workouts.
6. Schedule the Days You Workout
A lot of us have a specific number in mind when it comes to working out. But instead of waking up every morning and asking yourself whether today is one of your workout days (when it’s so easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”), creating a weekly workout schedule is a powerful way to create a regular morning exercise habit.
Let’s say you set the goal to workout for 3 days a week. So you’ll plan that every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you’re going to workout (whether you pop on a workout video, go for a run, or hit up the gym). Therefore, when you wake up on those mornings, you already made your decision.
Side note: Start slowly. And don’t set unrealistic expectations. If you don’t workout at all, setting the goal to work out 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes is doable. The goal to work out 5 days a week for and hour is not. You’ve got to build up to that.
To help you create your workout plan, use this awesome little Workout Planning worksheet to work through these tips and come up with a rock-solid morning workout plan.
FREE DAILY PLANNER PRINTABLES
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7. Create a Morning Ritual
Like my morning ritual to put on exercise clothes, I also automatically head straight to the gym after dropping my 2 oldest kids at school at 7:45. When you create a ritual (or routine) in which you end up exercising, you’re more likely to exercise even when you don’t feel like it.
You just rely on your ritual. You simply go through the motions, which includes your regular workout.
I’m a big believer in the power of a solid morning routine. When I started a solid and intentional morning routine, my whole life changed for the better. I even created a free Morning Makeover 5-Day Email Challenge.
For help creating an awesome morning routine for moms, check out 9 Tips to Create an Awesome Morning Routine.
YOU CAN MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE WITH A BUSY SCHEDULE
If you plan and prepare, you can create a regular morning workout schedule. Even if you’re a night owl. Follow these tips and get started with your morning workout schedule.
And don’t forget to download the free printable Workout Plan worksheet to create your morning workout plan. Writing down your plan makes you more likely to follow through.
You’ve got this, mama!
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