Here’s a catch 22 for you. With the sun setting earlier this time of year, many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which can cause depression, moodiness and lack of energy. One way to zap yourself out of it is by working out. But with shorter days, it’s hard to find the time to get out and exercise before the sun goes down. The one alternative I’ve found? Work out in the morning. Trust me, night owls — it can be done. Here’s how I’ve managed to get my butt in gear and out the door (even when it’s snowing).
Still Hit the Snooze
I am a firm advocate of the snooze button. I love the feeling of being in control and allowing myself the option to lay in bed, even for only five extra minutes. For days you’re working out in the morning, trick yourself into getting up early. For a 7 a.m. run, I’ll set my alarm for 6:40. I can snooze once and be up at 6:50 — just enough time to be out the door.
Lay Out Your Clothes
To hide out under the covers as long as possible, I have my clothes, sneakers, keys, headphones — anything I’ll need that morning — laid out on a chair next to my bed. That way I can grab them and go. For more stubborn types, sleep in your workout clothes a few times to get yourself acquainted with the idea. Just think how guilty you’ll feel taking off your clean sports bra and gym shorts if you skip your workout.
A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that working out on an empty stomach actually burns 20% more fat. However, don’t skip the water. Drinking just one glass energizes and refreshes the body. I leave a glass of water by my bed so I can grab it right when my alarm goes off.
Keep it Short
A workout as short as 15 minutes is enough to boost your energy and metabolism for the rest of the day. Commit to a short workout to get yourself out the door. Oftentimes, I’ll go out for three miles, but once I get my body moving I’ll be motivated to do four.
Keep it Local
If your gym is too far to make a morning workout practical, keep it local with a run around the neighborhood. (Who wants two commutes, am I right?) Or even simpler, stream a yoga video or 20-minute abs workout you can do in the comfort (and warmth) of your living room.
If you commit to a routine that takes up more time than you realistically have, you’re less likely you’ll actually stick with it. Instead, plan for a.m. workouts two to three times a week. Then treat yourself on days off with a few extra snoozes and a second cup of coffee.
Read more: 101 Ways to Lose a Pound