Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to ACTUALLY Wake Up Early for the Gym

You know those articles that talk about how to wake up at 5am and get to the gym before work—or before anyone else in your house wakes up? Usually it’s something about sleeping in your gym clothes or tricking your best friend into going with you. Now, I don’t doubt those things actually work sometimes—I’ve been known to sleep in a workout tank a time or two, myself.

But you want to know what actually works? What will really motivate you to get out of bed even though it's super comfortable in there and it's kind of dark outside? When it is the only damn option left. That, my friends, is the secret it took me the last two years to figure out—maybe even the last 10 years to figure out.

After I had Luca, I started doing some workouts at home while he napped or crawled around on the floor. It was pretty sporadic and I never really stuck to it. Truth be told, in those early days I felt so guilty going anywhere except work and home that my living room was the only place I even wanted to work out.

Once I got over that ridiculousness (note to new moms: do NOT feel guilty about this! Or really, about anything! You’re doing the best you can and that is enough! More than enough! I could go on…), I finally joined a new kickboxing studio. Kickboxing is the one workout I actually really, really like—and the one that I keep coming back to year after year.

I aimed to do that twice a week, and while I stuck with it to some extent, it was a weekly juggling act—making sure John didn’t have anything going on, swapping one day for another, going to whatever class fit into the schedule instead of the ones I actually wanted to try. And also, wanting my weeknights free to do everything else. It was just a mess.

So sometime in June I decided that was enough. I like the way I feel after I work out. I like that it makes me feel strong and that, for that one hour, I’m not actively thinking about anything else. They’re the typical reasons that are typical for a reason.

I’ve never been the type to want to wake up early to go to the gym but it had finally come down to the fact that if I wanted to make it a regular routine, if I wanted to actually get on somewhat of a schedule, I had to do it this way. Enter the moral: It's the only option that works right now. 

So now I go to a 5:45 am kickboxing class twice a week. I’m aiming to get there three times a week, but baby steps and all that. I’ll try and run on that third day, but it doesn’t always happen. And that’s ok.

It’s not about how many times I go or how many calories I burn. It’s partly about feeling like I’m starting the day by doing something that I want to do instead of something that I have to do. And mostly because I’ve finally realized that you fit things in where they fit in. You change things up when they don’t work and you work them in when they do.

And sometimes, having no easier options makes it the easiest decision to make. Plus, the best part of all, I actually surprisingly, really just like it. 

I know I’m not the first person to come to this realization, and maybe it did take two years of trial and error to get there. But, at least for now, I’m glad I’m here.


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