Ep #96: Creating Your Morning Exercise Routine

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | Creating Your Morning Exercise Routine
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One thing I hear from listeners and clients alike is that they want to become morning exercisers. For some people, morning exercise just does not work. Whether it’s because of your work schedule, your kids, or just personal preference, this episode isn’t about why you should be a morning exercise person, but rather, I’m here to reinforce the importance of finding a time of day that works for you, so you can get your exercise in consistently.

If you want to become someone who exercises in the morning, you are not alone. There are some super-useful tools and strategies for making morning exercise a habit, and I’m bringing them to you on today’s show.

Tune in this week as I make the process of transitioning to morning exercise as easy and painless as possible for you. I give you practical tips and tools for making morning exercise your new reality, and I even show you how to take into consideration what your new morning exercise routine means for the rest of the people in your life, like your family.

Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.

What You Will Discover:

  • How sticking to exercise in the morning can set you up for other healthy habits throughout your day.
  • Why working out in the morning doesn’t zap your energy, but it actually boosts your energy.
  • How working out benefits your brain and improves cognitive function throughout the day.
  • Some of the biggest struggles you’ll face in establishing a morning exercise routine.
  • My tips for consistently getting yourself out of bed.
  • Why getting your exercise in the morning benefits your whole family.
  • How to build a solid routine around your morning workout.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #96. If you want to become a morning exerciser, let me help you put it into action.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy, working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and certified life coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So, what’s good here, we are going to talk about creating your morning routine. Specifically, we’re going to talk about becoming a morning exerciser. So, this episode comes in response to a number of questions I’ve gotten both from listeners and from clients about how to create the habit of morning exercise.

If that’s you, if you want to be a morning exerciser, I want to help you make this process as easy and as painless as possible. Okay? Before I go any further, I want to spell something out. I recognize 100% that for some of you, morning exercise does not work. I fully get that for some of you getting up at the crack of dawn just does not work, nor does that appeal to you.

That may be because of work schedules, kids, or straight-up personal preference. And, that is totally fine. My goal in this podcast is not to turn you into a morning exerciser if that is not your thing. Okay? I want to make it clear from the outset that I’m not here today to tell you that you should be a morning exerciser. I’m not here to sell you on that.

Instead, yes, I will certainly talk about the benefits of morning exercise, but then I’m going to get into how to make it happen for you, if that’s what you want to do. I’m going to give you some tips and tools so that you can make morning exercise happen for yourself. I’m also going to talk about some important considerations, like your family and your family’s schedule, and what your morning exercise means for the rest of the people who live with you. We’re going to get into some of the nitty gritty today, so that if morning exercise is a goal you have the tools to make it a habit.

But again, to make a much larger, more important point here before I even get started, I really do not care what time you exercise. I am not here to be all holier-than-thou and tout how you should get your exercise in the morning, and tell you why it’s so much better than doing it later. No, that is not true, and that’s not the point today.

I don’t care when you exercise, what really matters to me is that you find the time of day that works for you to get your exercise in consistently and then you stick with it. So, if that means you exercise first thing in the morning, you do it. If that means you get it in during lunch, no problem. If it’s after work, or after your kids go to bed, fine. Ultimately, I really don’t care when you do your workout, I just care that you find a time when you can do it consistently.

That being said, many of you have identified that first thing in the morning is the best time for you to get your exercise done, but you’ve struggled creating that habit and you’ve asked me how to do it. So, this is what I’m going to speak to you today. I’m going to set you up for success so that your morning routine is streamlined and you get your exercise done, so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. Alright? Let’s go.

First, let’s talk about why bother. Why bother lugging yourself out of bed before the sun comes up to get your workout in, when you could potentially do it later in the day? What are some of the benefits of morning exercise? There are many, but let’s talk through some of the big ones. First and foremost, and this is probably the biggest benefit to morning exercise, but getting it done first thing prevents you from talking yourself out of doing it later in the day. I know this may sound silly, but it’s true. For many of you, there is nowhere else you have to be at 5am.

Seriously, where else do you need to be at five o’clock in the morning? So, when you get your workout done first thing, before anything else, that box is checked. No matter what happens during the rest of the day, you got your exercise done. And this is instead of saving it for the end of the day, and potentially running the risk that something sidetracks you so you don’t get it done after work.

I see this all the time. A meeting runs over, a last minute patient gets scheduled, a case in the O.R. goes long, you have to get your kids somewhere by a certain time. These are all things that have happened to my clients. You may have run into these issues yourself. More fires come up as the day goes on, and all of those can potentially get in the way of your workout.

But when you get your exercise done before you go to work, even if you have a meeting that goes 30 minutes over time, it’s okay. It’s not cutting into your workout because your workout is already done. You won’t feel that sense of rush and tension and frustration while you’re sitting in a long, drawn-out meeting that’s going way over. You won’t feel that impatience of wanting to run out and hurry up to get into your workout class, because you’ve already checked that box.

So, one of my clients said it best, and I will use her words once again here. She’s a rheumatologist, and she’s super busy between her clinical practice and her teaching duties. And with time, and tiny shifts to her schedule, she was able to establish the habit of regular morning exercise.

At one point, she said, “When I get my workout in first thing, I feel untouchable. No matter what happens to the rest of my day, I have taken care of myself physically. And I’ve given myself that time to clear my brain. I am untouchable.” Yes, I cannot love that more.

Okay, next. So, the next benefit you might see from taking on morning exercise is that it can help you to eat better throughout the day. Remember a few weeks ago, when we were talking about keystone habits? As a reminder, a keystone habit is one that initiates a chain reaction of other habits to happen.

I think of the keystone habit as the one that holds some of your other habits together. And for some of you, your keystone habit is exercise. So, if this is you, it may very well be that morning exercise sets you up to make better choices about your food throughout the day.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, in my own life, exercise is most definitely a keystone habit. And after I exercise, I am much more inclined to eat healthy food. I don’t want pancakes and hashbrowns after I’ve just had an awesome run, that doesn’t really feel good to me. So, morning exercise sets me up to make better decisions about how I eat during the day.

And the point here is that exercising first thing in the morning may be a habit that drives you to take on other healthful habits. You may choose to skip Chinese takeout with your coworkers for lunch, when just a few hours earlier you were crushing it with the weights and you don’t want to follow up your workout with a big, greasy meal.

Because you know that the takeout isn’t going to serve you as much as the salad and chicken you packed for yourself will. So, sticking to that one habit at the beginning of the day has the potential to set you up for other positive habits throughout the rest of your day. It’s a snowball effect.

Let me add another potential benefit here. Similar to how morning exercise may set you up to make healthy food decisions throughout today, they also set you up to move more overall during your day. There are some small studies that suggest this as a potential benefit to morning exercise. It may be, again, related to habit, because success breeds success, right?

So, for some of you, after you’ve had a solid workout in the morning, you may be more inclined to get up and walk more throughout the day. You may be more inclined to take a walk in the evening, instead of sitting in front of your TV. You may get out and do yard work or clean your garage. Starting your day with exercise can lead you to make other healthy decisions throughout the rest of the day, including the decision to move more.

There’s a misconception that exercise can sap your energy, but in reality it gives you energy; it’s the opposite. So, take the energy that your workout gives you and do something else with it. Keep moving. Exercise will most definitely give that to you, seriously.

And you may notice the opposite to be true here, too. So, I don’t know about you, but on days I don’t exercise I feel more sluggish. I tend to be more slothful, and I just don’t move as much. I feel like I’m dragging. You may notice this effect in either direction, okay?

Alright, next. Another reason morning exercise might benefit you is that it will wake you up. Some of my clients have talked about how they are generally dragging through their mornings, and this can be for any number of reasons.

Some of them hit the snooze button over and over again until they are essentially racing through their mornings, and then they get to work and they feel straight up blah. Not only have they skipped their morning workout, but they don’t get the best sleep when the snooze alarm keeps going off. So, it becomes a lose-lose situation.

But on the flip side, a morning workout will most definitely wake you up. Morning workouts take advantage of your body’s natural increase in cortisol at that time, and by the time you’re done exercising I promise you are going to feel even more awake.

I don’t know that I’ve ever finished a workout and felt like going back to bed, because by the end of it I’m pretty alert and awake. The runner’s high is certainly true for running and other forms of cardio, but we know now that it also applies to strength training too. So, you can take advantage of that and use your morning exercise to wake you up and boost your energy.

In addition to waking you up, morning exercise will also help you focus. Have you ever noticed that you think more clearly after you exercise? There’s a reason for that. Granted, this is true no matter when you exercise, but exercise will improve your cognition by increasing the blood flow to the part of your brain that helps with memory and thinking. That part is the hippocampus.

Exercise has been shown to be associated with increased volume to your hippocampus. So, the take home here is that exercise is good for your brain and cognitive function. And you may find that this benefit is most useful to you during the day while you’re at work. But you will most definitely reap that benefit regardless of when you exercise. Alright?

Before I move on to how to actually establish a morning routine, I want to share just a few other potential benefits of morning exercise. To be clear, these benefits I’m sharing, while they are noted in the literature, are not slam dunks. Okay?

You know I like evidence, and I like good evidence. And as of yet, many of these benefits are not overwhelmingly supported by repeatable, high-powered, high-quality literature. But I’m going to share them here anyway. My hope is that we’ll get more evidence over time to support these. But for now, this is what we got.

Here they are, other potential benefits of morning exercise. First, improved sleep. This has also been shown to be true for evening exercise, as long as it’s done one to two hours before bedtime. Anecdotally, I will say that for myself, and for many of my clients, waking up in the four or five o’clock hour most definitely helps me sleep at night.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, but by nine o’clock at night, I’m toast. I attribute that largely to getting up before five o’clock. So, it may be that early morning exercise improves your sleep, because you’re just tired by the end of the day from being up for so long. But either way, I will take it because it means that when my head hits the pillow, I’m out.

Another potential benefit is improved appetite control. There are small studies that suggest morning exercise may improve how your brain responds to food. So, we already know that exercise helps regulate your appetite by decreasing ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone. But there may be more to this than we know just yet.

Some literature suggests that morning exercise may improve your response to food cues. Meaning, you see food, and you have less of a response to it, or less of a desire or craving for it when you’ve gotten in your morning exercise. This is interesting, and we need a lot more data on this but you may see more about this in the future. It’s pretty cool.

Last, I want to share one other big one, because it made all kinds of headlines last year. It may be that morning exercise could help with weight loss. I hesitate to even mention this, but it was a big deal in the news towards the end of 2023, and I want to mention it.

There was an article in the journal Obesity that suggested morning exercise might help with weight loss. The problem is, we don’t know with certainty that the timing of exercise alone was responsible for these subjects’ weight loss. There are many other factors that could have contributed to these morning exercisers being at a lower weight than the subjects who exercise later in the day. So, we cannot definitively tie morning exercise to weight loss.

And you know what I’m going to say anyway, I really strongly caution you from using exercise to lose weight, because it’s a great way to create resentment towards exercise if and when it doesn’t deliver. I don’t advocate using exercise for the sole purpose of weight loss, okay? It just does not have the impact on your weight that you’re looking for.

But what this article highlighted was the need for more studies to determine if exercise timing can play a role in weight loss. We just don’t know with certainty if there’s a correlation here. But I wanted to bring it up because this study made headlines all over the news last fall, and it was a big deal for a minute.

Now that we spent some time talking about the potential benefits of morning exercise, let’s talk about how to do this. How do you actually put this into practice and set up your life so you’ve got a morning exercise routine? The first thing I typically suggest is to work the process backwards, starting with your result.

If, for example, your goal is to wake up at 5am, go backwards and ask yourself what time you need to go to bed. That, in my honest opinion, is the most important first step. Figure out how much sleep you need, ideally, seven, eight hours, do some math, and figure out what time you need to go to bed.

For many of you, that may mean you need to go to bed earlier. That, in and of itself, may be a huge shift for you, and we’re going to talk more about that in a little bit. Because your early bedtime will likely not only impact you, especially if you live with people, like a partner or kids. So, one thing that comes up commonly from my clients is the question of whether or not to get up at the same time every morning. Again, that is entirely personal. You know I am a huge fan of consistency and patterns and habits, so for me, it works to get up at the same time every day.

That means for me, I’m up at 4:45 every weekday. I typically sleep until six or maybe even seven sometimes, on the weekends. But otherwise, I keep it consistent and get up at the same time every day during the week. That works for me.

I would encourage you to experiment with this and decide what works for you. If having a fluctuating wakeup time works for you, then do that. I have some clients who shift, or change their wakeup time, depending on when they start work. They’ve done the math, and they know that they maybe need two hours from the time they wake up to the time they head out the door. So, they just do the math and figure that out, and wake up two hours earlier from when they need to leave, depending on their workday.

For other clients, it works better for them to get up at the same time every day, no matter what time they have to be out the door. At the end of the day, there is no one right way to do this. But what I do know is that consistency is essential. Find what works for you, practice it, and make it a habit.

Decide what your wakeup time will be and go with it, whether that’s the same time every day, or a certain number of hours in front of when you need to be out the door. Alright, once you’ve decided on a bedtime, keep going and keep working backwards. So, say you’ve decided you need to be in bed by 9:30 in order to get up at 5:00. What needs to happen?

If you have kids and they’re young, and you are part of the bedtime process, what does that mean for your kids’ bedtime? Do you need to start the process, and it is most definitely a process, earlier? What does that mean for your own nighttime routine? Do you need to turn off the TV or get off your phone earlier? Do you need to stop working at night after your kids go to bed? Which is an entirely separate conversation, in a separate podcast.

I know that none of these questions are easy to answer, but these are some of the things you may have to wrangle with as you figure out how to make an early wakeup time possible for you. I would encourage you as you do this, to be really patient with yourself in this process. Changing up your nighttime routine, in order to change up your morning routine, that is no joke. This will most definitely take some trial and error.

If you’re used to going to bed at 11:00 and now you want to get up earlier, it may be a huge stretch to start going to bed at 9:30. That can be quite a change. It may take some time for your new bedtime, and your new wakeup time, to become a habit. So, I want you to be prepared for that. Okay?

Once you’ve worked the process backwards, and you’ve decided on both a bedtime and a wakeup time, the next step in this process is to have a plan; you knew it was coming. I know I may sound like a broken record, but this is just another area of your life where having a plan is essential. If you’re going to go through all of the trouble to rearrange your schedule, and essentially rearrange your life, so that you can get up early to exercise, have a plan. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to make decisions about an outfit or workout or what equipment you need at five in the morning, while you’re still trying to open your eyes.

So, do yourself a favor, and make planning for your workout part of your nighttime routine. That may mean making decisions like: Are you working out at home? Are you headed to the gym or an exercise class? Where do you need to be in order to get your exercise done?

And besides the location of your workout, you also want to ensure that you’ve got what you’ve need ready. What equipment do you need? Are your workout clothes laid out? Where are your shoes, your water bottle, your music? All the things.

If you’re working out on your own, whether that’s at home or at your gym, versus meeting a trainer or going to a workout class, decide what your workout is going to be. Is it a ride on the Peloton app? Is it a strength training session that’s guided? Or do you have a workout written already?

As a reminder, you can check out my YouTube channel where I post workouts six days a week. I’ll link it in the show notes. And please know that my workout videos are not fancy at all, but there are short demonstrations of the exercise along with suggested set and rep counts. My workouts are an option for you if you’re just not sure where to start.

But whatever it is you decide to do, choose your workout ahead of time. I know this may sound tedious, but I’m suggesting this because these are some of the things that have tripped up my clients. It is a lot easier to get up and execute a 30-minute strength session that you’ve decided on the night before, with equipment out and ready to go.

Versus waking up and wasting time searching for a workout, and hemming and hawing as to whether it’s a cardio day or a strength day, then trying to find your dumbbells, and getting totally flustered in the process. So, the more things you have ready and decided the night before, the less fumbling you will do in the morning, the less time you will waste getting ready for your workout, and the less decisions you’ll need to make at the crack of dawn when you may not be quite awake yet.

So, for me, for my own schedule and planning, especially now that it’s triathlon training season, I sit down on Saturday or Sunday and write out all of my workouts on our family calendar. I plan it out ahead of time, so I know which days I’m doing what and when I’ll get my lifts in. I have all of my workout gear readily accessible, and I get my caffeine and my water bottle out the night before. Everything is ready to go, so that when I get out of bed I just have to execute.

There are very, very few decisions to be made in the morning, and that is by design. I don’t want to think that hard at 4:45, I just want to move my body. And planning ahead the night before does that for me. So, take advantage of the night before your workout by making as many decisions as you can, and getting as much gear and equipment and accessories ready as you can, so that the morning is easy.

It will take time, but eventually your morning will flow and it will become a habit. It will be automatic. It will be easy. Okay?

Now that we’ve talked through your approach to setting up your morning routine, let’s troubleshoot some of the things that might come up and potentially derail you. First and foremost, one of the biggest struggles my clients encounter is going to bed earlier. Between that and hitting the snooze button, those are probably the two biggest obstacles that come up when they try to establish a morning exercise routine.

So, let’s start with bedtime. This one can be hard, especially if you are used to staying up late. What I would suggest here is to take a stepwise approach. If you usually stay up till 11:00, but you want to be going to bed at 9:30, start taking your bedtime back by 15 or 20 minute increments. Or you decide, this is totally arbitrary here. Decide on an increment that makes sense to you, and start dialing back your bedtime as you work up to your goal morning wakeup time.

That may mean, you go to bed at 10:30 and get up at 5:30 instead of getting up at 5:00, which is your ultimate goal. It may mean that, as a result, you do a shorter morning workout instead of a full 30 minutes, at least at the outset.

And my response to that is, awesome. That’s okay, your workouts don’t have to happen at your ideal wake up time from the outset. You can do this in small, incremental steps so that you’re not ripping the Band-Aid off and throwing your entire life and schedule for a loop by going to bed over an hour earlier than usual. That typically does not work for most people.

So if you’re shifting your bedtime backwards by quite a bit, do it in small chunks. And it may mean that you do a shorter workout in the morning because you don’t have a lot of time. That’s okay. Those 10 or 15 minutes of exercise that you get done in the morning are more than the zero minutes you would get done if you put it off to the evening, only to skip out on it entirely. Okay? Please remind yourself, that something is better than nothing, and keep dialing your wakeup time back bit by bit. This is the concept of taking the small one, right here. It’s a small but significant win to get up early and get a workout done, no matter how long that workout is. Okay? You can take those small wins to fuel more small wins, and gradually dial your wakeup time backwards until you get to your goal.

Alright, next. Another obstacle you might encounter is actually getting yourself out of bed. So, despite having everything planned and ready to go, when push comes to shove you may still find it hard to get out of bed. You may still feel the urge to hit snooze when your alarm goes off. And as I said before, just as you move your bedtime back in small increments, I would also encourage you to move your wakeup time back in small increments to make this less drastic.

But beyond that, there are some well-known tricks that you may have come across previously. Things like moving your phone, or whatever you use for an alarm, moving it away from your bed so you have to get up in order to turn it off. Then, you’re already up and out of bed because you had to go turn off your alarm.

Or you can sleep in your gym clothes. I’ve had clients do that while they were in transition to an early morning wake up, so that it was one less thing to have to do in the morning. I did it in residency; don’t judge, okay?

Here are some other things to consider. So, this is interesting. I found there are some studies suggesting that a less jarring alarm sound may be more likely to get you up and moving than an alarm that scares you awake. Things like birds chirping or other nature sounds, versus the loud roar of a buzzer. That calmer sound is more likely to keep you from hitting the snooze button.

You can program these calm-sounding alarms on your phone, or in an app, to gradually increase their volume to their peak at your desired wake up time. So, imagine the sound of happy birds quietly chirping and gradually getting louder by the time you want to wake up. That would be a lot more pleasant than the sound of most traditional alarms, right?

Similarly, you can also use a sunrise alarm clock, if it’s not disruptive to anyone else in your bedroom. That’s just a light that gradually gets brighter before your alarm ultimately goes off, to make the actual wakeup less abrupt.

So, other alarms you can set would be something like your coffee maker. If you are someone who drinks coffee before your morning workout, which some of my clients do, you can certainly set a timer to get your coffee going before you wake up. Then you have the scent of coffee looming in the air before you even get out of bed, and that can also help you get moving. One other method you can experiment with to get you out of bed is to start putting some skin in the game. Meaning, you hire a personal trainer, that you’ve paid money to, to put you through a workout.

Or you sign up and pay for a workout class at a certain time in the morning. Or you make a date to meet a friend for an early morning workout or run. Any one of these things takes it outside yourself and adds another layer of accountability. You’re meeting someone. You’ve paid someone. Someone is expecting you to show up. And when you have those commitments, you’re more likely to show up. It’s one thing to bail when it’s just you, because no one’s watching. No one’s waiting for you. But we are less likely to sleep past our alarm when someone is waiting for us. So, if that’s what it takes to get you out of bed, consider it.

Last, I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again here, come back to your “why”. Remind yourself why this matters to you. When that alarm goes off, and you’re in that brief ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ moment, debating whether or not to get up and get your workout done, remember why it’s important to you. Remind yourself why this matters. Why are you choosing to exercise? One of the things I do on days when I’m lying in bed warm and cozy, eyes open but I’m debating going back to sleep, I remind myself what it will feel like when I’m all done, especially if it’s a swim day. I’ve mentioned it before, swimming is not my strong suit and I’m not a fan of cold water at all. So, the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn, especially during the freezing, cold, snowy winters here in Michigan, the idea of getting up only to shlep myself to a pool and jump into freezing cold water, that doesn’t do it for me.

So, it’s especially on those days that I have to remind myself why it matters. I want to do triathlons, and because I have that goal I’ve got to swim. I also visualize what it feels like to hit “stop” on my timer, take off my swim cap and goggles, and get my towel to dry off. I imagine what it feels like when I’m all done. And honestly, that is my most favorite part of my swim workouts, being finished.

So sure, eventually, I warm up, stop hyperventilating in the water and I get into a groove. But for me, swimming is a challenge. It’s not always super appealing, especially on freezing, cold mornings. But I remind myself over and over again how good it feels to finish the workout. I keep an image of that finish line in my brain all the way up until I jump in the water and I have to focus on what’s in front of me.

I would encourage you to do the same. Imagine how awesome it feels when you’re all done. Imagine how proud you feel when you get your workout done before most people have gotten out of bed. There’s pride in that. Don’t shy away from it. Keep your finish line in mind, and let that finish line drive you to get started. And then, you do it. I don’t know what else to say, but you just do it. You get yourself out of bed.

I’m not going to lie, the first few days, or maybe even the first few weeks of getting up early, they’re likely not going to be easy. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s hard at first. You may feel groggy. You may need caffeine to open your eyeballs. Your workouts may not be rock solid. That’s okay, let it be icky. Lean into that yuck and keep going.

Because here’s what will happen. Just like any habit, the more you do it the easier it gets, seriously. If you are consistent and you’re committed, and you keep getting up, it will get easier. I promise. You may even get to a point where you start waking up before your alarm clock goes off. That happened to me. Most days now, I’m awake before my alarm goes off because my body is totally used to getting up early. Even on weekends, when I don’t have to be out of bed at 4:45, my body still wakes me up at 4:40. It’s a habit. And it’s only because I’ve been doing it for years and I’ve been consistent with it. Now, it’s just how I roll.

But it wasn’t easy at first. In fact, it was painful. But that was years ago, and I’ve been a converted morning exerciser for almost 20 years. I will say, one thing that helps now is that Adam is usually about 15 minutes or so after me. So, I know I’m going to see him downstairs in our basement within a few minutes of waking up, and that makes the sting a little less. I know he’s getting up early to exercise too, so I’m not going to snooze away in bed. I’m going to get up. I know how fortunate I am to have a partner that values the same habits and lifestyle that I do, and that our schedules match up for us to be able to do that. I’m super lucky and grateful that we can support each other in our efforts to stay fit. And, I do not take that for granted.

But all of this to say it can be a challenge, at first anyway. So, let it be hard. Do everything you can to make it as painless as possible, but keep going. You can absolutely shift your schedule, but you’ve got to stay consistent with it. It will happen. Okay?

That brings me to the last potential roadblock I want to talk about, and that is the impact that your morning exercise has on your family. So, I mentioned last week about your house rhythm, every home has one. Very simply, I think of your house rhythm as the flow of your home. You may have a certain routine or a certain flow that you uphold, and it may be that it’s what you’ve done for years; it’s your family routine.

And now, with your desire to start a morning exercise routine, that may very well shake things up, and likely you will not be the only person impacted by your early morning workout. It is very likely going to affect your house rhythm.

So, if you have a partner and/or kids, you may need your partner’s help. As an example, if you’re the one who usually handles your young children when they get up early, you may need your partner’s help with the morning. Or if your kids are older, you may need to work with them to get their morning routine started on their own.

For me, there are days now when I have my kids get their breakfast going while I’m getting ready for work after my workout, and they do it. They make their own breakfast and it’s not a huge deal. But it was a shift. Whatever your particular situation is, you may need help and support from your family in order to get your workout done in the morning.

It may mean a shift to your house’s rhythm. That can be a big change, not just for you but for whoever lives with you, and that can be a deterrent. Some of you have told me straight up that it would be too hard to shake up your routine at home in order to get a morning workout done. And, you let that stop you before you even get started.

This is just another place where I’m going to call on you to think in terms of possibility. This is where thinking about what is possible, versus thinking about all the ways that morning exercise is not possible, can lead you to solutions. Thinking in terms of possibility is not being unrealistic. Instead, I think of it as getting creative, because it can force you to think outside the box.

Yes, switching up your family’s routine is a change, and that’s not always easy. But think about the positives that come from this. When you’re done with work, for example, at the end of your day, you don’t have to think about exercise, it’s done. Getting dinner together, getting kids wherever they need to be, meeting your friends for a night out, whatever it is, you can be there. You can be present, because you’ve taken care of your needs and you’ve gotten your exercise in already. You won’t feel that tension of “Oh, I really want to exercise, but it’s already 5:30, there’s two places we need to be, and I only have 10 minutes. So, forget it. I’ll try again tomorrow.” There’s none of that anymore because by shifting your schedule, it’s done.

And truthfully, I don’t know about you, but I am a nicer person when I exercise. I would argue that my entire family sees the value in me exercising, because I just feel better after I do. When my workout is done and I come upstairs to get my day going, I feel good. I’m in a better mood.

I am ready for whatever comes out of me. And, you will be too. So, there it is. I hope this gives you some ideas to consider if you’ve been thinking about transitioning to morning exercise. Again, my goal is not to sell you on it and tell you that you have to be a morning exerciser. To be clear, I don’t care when you exercise. I just want you to find a time when you can consistently do it and do it then.

For many of you, you’ve told me that you want to do it in the morning because you’ve either done it before, or you know that it is really the only time you can consistently get it done. So, my hope is that you’ve heard some of the benefits today about why having a morning exercise routine can be helpful to you.

Beyond that, if you want to become a morning exerciser you can take what we’ve talked about today and apply it. Work the process backwards and determine what you need to do in order to make morning exercise happen for you. Start with the night before and work it backwards. Start small and slowly. Incrementally move your bedtime back at the same time you move your wakeup time back. Have a plan. Get as much ready the night before as you can, so that you have minimal decisions to make in the morning. And then, look for trouble spots.

Whether that’s creating a nighttime routine and honoring your bedtime, snoozing your alarm in the morning, or working through the change to your family’s house rhythm, whatever your own unique obstacles are, think in terms of possibility and get creative to find solutions. Because here’s the thing, if exercise truly is a priority for you, and the mornings are the only time you have to reliably get your workouts done, you have your answer. You become a morning exerciser, and the rest is determining the details.

I hope this episode gives you some ideas to try out. When you make morning exercise work for you, it can not only change your day, it can also change your life. Really. If you want help with this, let’s go. This is just one of the many things we do in coaching. We create habits and routines like morning exercise to set you up for success. I will meet you where you’re at right now, And we’ll do the work to create a lifestyle and a schedule that works for you. So, check out my website, send me a message at www.CarrieHollandMD.com/contact, And let’s get started. Alright?

Thank you again for hanging out with me. I’ll catch you again next week. If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. Share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media.

Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you. This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up.

You know making that change starts with how you think, and that is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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