Tuesday, July 8, 2014

RISE AND SHINE! 5 tips for waking up earlier than the sun

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Today's mood ring: energized. I've been relying on runs and walks outside for workouts lately, but have really missed having access to a variety of cardio machines and weights. Last week I decided to splurge (what's $49/month for your mental and physical well-being, right?) and started going to a new gym in Butler Plaza with a plan to squeeze in 45-minute sweat sessions in the mornings before work. After a long weekend away, I gave myself Monday to sleep in (6AM—what a luxury). Today was judgment day. And I followed through! I got out of bed at the first (4:30AM) alarm, caught some CNN on the elliptical, ran to Rita Ora on the treadmill, then finished with quick sets of free weights, squats and sit-ups. It's always so worth the early wake-up call once you're done, muscles satisfyingly sore, but I love to sleep and it's often hard to see the post-exercise high through tightly sealed eyes. Here's the cheat sheet for what gets me up before the sun.

1. MAKE BELIEVE. When you have a deadline you can't miss, like an early flight, you make it out of bed. This is proof that you can, in fact, get up early and survive thrive. Fake yourself out and pretend you have somewhere really important to be. It'll get you at least out from under the covers, and hopefully your willpower can carry you from there. After a week, you'll be programmed, promise.

2. SAY YOU WANT IT. Waking up early is not a common free association for "fun." We all prefer a little extra shut-eye like we all prefer to inherit millions. But don't focus on that part. Focus on the feel-good endorphins (that you'll inevitably need as the work day progresses) and smokin' bod you're getting by waking up a little earlier. Tell yourself you want to wake up early, and it won't feel like you're being forced against your will. It'll feel like your choice.

3. EXTRA INCENTIVE. I love to watch the news, but don't get home until 6:15PM most nights, which means I always miss my beloved Brian Williams and the 5:30 Nightly News (sniff, sniff). An early workout is a chance to catch up on headlines I would miss that evening (and see other stories). If your hour at the gym is also the time you do something else you enjoy, skipping it will deprive yourself of more than just your daily toning—maybe it's forty uninterrupted minutes of your favorite podcast (browse here! I like 99% Invisible, Freakonomics and This American Life) or newest playlist (download this now), a fresh smoothie at the juice bar, the cute guys in the weight room...

4. THE RIGHT UNIFORM. This one's obvious. There's nothing worse than going out on Saturday night in an outfit you're not into, and going to the gym is the same. Modern, trendy clothes that fit well will make spinning, biking and lifting feel like a fun occasion—JUST like sipping cocktails at your favorite bar (ha). I'm all about Athleta. This top (tons of colors!), these tights (really versatile) and this hoodie (so comfy) are worth waking up for.

5. THE NEXT BIG THING. A trip to the lake, an outdoor wedding, a concert in the city—whatever your next social event is, let it be your first thought when your eyes struggle open. Everyone and their dog will be Instagramming from every angle, so plan ahead and you'll have no "bad side." If there's no set event on the horizon, no sweat. A popular quote on Pinterest reads: "Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen." Look and feel your best, and you'll be primed (and in fact, promote) for that reality.

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