rise & shine

I moved to Florida a few weeks after my college graduation in June of 1997. Within weeks, I joined a gym.
There were three main reasons for my decision: 1. Post-college and freshly planted in a new city, I needed to make some new friends.   2. I finally realized (no one to pressure me) that I needed to do something about my weight–I was nearly 300lb. 3. June in Florida is one of the seven levels of hell—it was 90+degrees at 6:00a.m., so I didn’t plan on doing any outdoor workouts.
Orlando was big city for this small town Pennsylvania girl, and the gym was very intimidating. Not only was it two stories of fitness equipment that I’ve never seen the likes of, there was a smoothie bar (I never heard of a smoothie in the 90s), an indoor AND outdoor pool (equipped with cabanas), small private studios for spinning and pilates, but the icing on the cake of intimidation were the attractive, tan, svelte, tight-fitting-designer-wearing-bodies reflected in every mirror.
And then there was me.
To press through some of fears of gym-going and being seen by the Adonises and Athenas effortlessly working out, I did two things: 1. I went to the gym early every morning to avoid the post-work gym goers that seemed more intimidating than the early morning people–perhaps they were there, but I was just still asleep?!??!
2. To combat my bad case of comparisonitis, I started reading The Bible to learn what God’s word said about me.
As a result of these two practices, I started losing weight and feeling more confident–I began to believe that I was indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.
And that is where my obsession with early morning prayer time and workouts began.
All of this sets the stage to share some tips that I’ve adopted so you, too, may become an early morning workouter:

  1. Start your workout the night before: set out your clothes (sometimes I even sleep in them!) the night before. You have a visible reminder of your morning intention.
  2. I place my phone on the other side of the room so when my alarm goes off, I have to get up to turn it off. I’m up so I might as well stay up, right?
  3. As soon as my alarm sounds, I open my blinds–or during the winter, turn on a light. I am less inclined to stay in bed once I see the light of day!
  4. I create monthly playlists with new music to energize and ignite my workouts and mood!
  5. I have a cuppajoe before my sweat session to jump start my workout before stepping on to the gym floor.
  6. I make a point to talk to three people (and learn their names!) at the gym. This builds camaraderie, gives me (and them!) a friendly boost and gives me a sense of accountability when I know people will wonder where I am each morning.
  7. After my workout, I journal how I feel. I use a 1-10 scale and write a few notes in my journal. This is a tangible incentive if ever I feel unmotivated. (Seldom does anyone feel awful–maybe sore, but not awful–after working out! Hello, endorphins.) 🙂
  8. I buy one new piece of workout gear a month–feeling good and looking good have reciprocal effects.

These are just a few of my tips and tricks to inspire you to adopt an early morning workout routine. I am sure you have others; I’d love to hear them! Tweet. Email. Post.
Oh, and if you want to join live Facebook workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, feel free to request access to join the group: Faith-filled and Fit: Women exercising faith–spirit, mind, and body. Simply click the button below:
We will be working out tomorrow morning at 6:30a.m. EST!  Hope to see you there, sunshine.
With early morning workout love,

I want to be an early morning workouter!