The Nightly Routine That Helps Ensure My Morning Workouts Actually Happen

Getty / Anon Krudsumlit / EyeEm

If I could have the perfect morning routine, it would go like this: wake up, brush teeth, work out. It’s a good system for me! While I’m definitely not a before-dawn person, I do enjoy getting up before work, laundry, my kids, and all of life’s other commitments get in the way, and getting my sweat on. However, what I would like to do and what I actually do are not always the same thing. That snooze button is so dang tempting! But, knowing me, if I don’t work out in the morning, then I probably won’t do it at all. Recently, I’ve recommitted to a 30-minute-a-day, five-days-a-week workout plan, and I’ve figured out one thing that keeps me motivated day after day: setting out all my workout gear the night before.

Yes, I definitely stole this tip from my childhood, thank you very much. But don’t knock it until you try it – because it actually freaking works. So, every evening before bed, I make sure the living room is clean (read: no stray Legos in sight), push the coffee table against the couch, and lay out my yoga mat. Then, I pull up YouTube on my iPad and search for a workout I want to do, as I’ve lost time in the morning struggling to pick one before. Once that’s set, I double check the gear I’m going to need and lay that out, too. Usually, it’s weights and sometimes resistance bands. On the coffee table, I always set out a mini Clif bar and a water bottle. Finally, I’ll pick out a tank top, sports bra, leggings, and sneakers, and set it all on the chair by my bed. (It has total pick-out-your-outfit-for-school vibes, and that’s OK with me.)

It may seem unnecessary, and sure I could do this in the morning, but there’s something about seeing everything ready to go when I first wake up that makes working out so tempting. It’s more of a hassle not to work out, as I would have to go through the motions of putting everything back up before I could start the day. Might as well just do a quick video first, right? Plus, seeing everything right in front of me makes it really hard to forget about it, or not feel like it, or any of the other excuses I try to use to get out of doing cardio in the morning.

There’s something about seeing everything ready to go when I first wake up that makes working out so tempting.

This system was working for a while, until I accidentally slept in late one day. But, instead of letting it derail me, I still put on my workout clothes. I didn’t get to work out right away, but as soon as I clocked out for the day I did. Wearing the athleisure all day kept fitness top-of-mind, so it made it easier to jump in after work. It’s progress!

If you don’t work from home or don’t like exercising at home, this system can still work for you. Just pack your gym bag the night before – including any pre- or post-workout snacks you might need – and put it in your car. When I worked in an office, I used to change into my workout clothes in the bathroom before heading to the car, so I would be more likely to stop at the gym. It’s all about making things as easy as possible on yourself so you stay motivated!

For my fitness journey, preparation is key. I’m so glad I went back to my childhood roots to plan ahead and get ready for the morning each night – now I’m never going back!

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