Wake Up and Smell the Routine

I am such a Type A person. I used to think I wasn’t, and hated to admit that I was because I thought it meant I was uptight and no fun at all. I quickly realized that this is not true, of course. I just like things a certain way and have to do things a certain for any number of reasons. One of those things is my routine.

I am a routine freak. I like having order and like knowing what I have to do. I also like having order in my house and having things done and placed a certain way. Now that doesn’t mean I’m like Danny Tanner.

I’m not planning travels or vacations with a strict agenda and I certainly am not a neat freak, but I am OCD about a few things and my routine is one of them. We all have bad days or weeks, though!

I’ve been feeling especially “off” with my routine when it comes to my morning workouts. Point blank: I haven’t been getting up for my 6am classes in probably 2-3 weeks, and honestly, considering it’s usually part of my routine, I felt bad about it and could almost feel the repercussions of it.

Routine isn’t for everyone, I get that. It’s hard to get up before 5:30 for work let alone for voluntary exercise. I’ve heard the phrase “It takes 21 days to form a habit” a million times, but all it takes is one relapse and for me and it will feel like I’m miles behind where I want to be or where I think I should be.

I found this article on Thrillist and it showed the routines of famous people and why they had to have routine. Some of them were doing so to help with insomnia or depression, but some do it simply because it made them more productive throughout the day. This is why I work out in the morning. I feel more productive, more energized and overall just feel better.

But back to my original train of thought on routine and specifically “workout routine”: it can be hard to find a schedule to exercise during later hours in the day, let alone early-ass morning. Doesn’t matter how motivated you might be, this is a hard thing to do!

This article shares ways to keep motivation for work out routines, and here are my basic takeaways from the article, as well as things I’ve found to be helpful for myself:

• Tell yourself or someone you know “I’m going to work out in the morning.” For me, having that makes me accountable for my actions. And being Type A, if I don’t do it, I see it as a goal I didn’t achieve. Ok, ok, I realize that sounds really harsh, but it helps to have a buddy to have your back and help you see through your goal!

• Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Easier said than done, but for me it’s where I put them. Mine are on my dresser in front of my glasses and in the order in which I will put them on. That way, I know I have to get up, change and put my glasses on to be able to see anything – ha.

• Set two alarms. This sounds silly, but I used do this when I was first starting to attend the early classes. I used to set one alarm for 4:51 so I could snooze. Then the real one was at 5:11 a.m. where I know I HAVE TO GET UP and I actually do get up.

• Take a few deep breaths when you first get up, stretch your arms and reach down, touch your toes. It’s been said that doing morning stretches is a healthy way to start your day and wake up your body and mind. And if you’re getting up that early for your workout, you definitely need all the energy boosts and relievers you can get!

• EAT SOMETHING. I used to work out on an empty stomach and would feel dizzy and downright sick to my stomach. I’ve read studies that say this is the way to go, and I’ve read studies that say you have to eat some kind of carb and sugar to get your energy up in preparation for your workout. I don’t follow either strictly. I just need to have something in my stomach before I go. For me, it’s half a protein bar, usually consumed within 30 minutes of my workout (so, on my drive to the gym). It’s got the sweetness (since mine are usually with peanut butter or chocolate), it’s got the carbs to give me fuel and it has the protein to keep me full. I have something right after my workout too (either a protein shake or the other half of the bar). Food gives you energy and Lord knows having energy at 6 a.m. is a must.

Keep at it. This is the hard one. It was for me anyway. Ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” What is the reason for your routine? What is the outcome?
Now I know that on those days I get up early to work out, it’s just something I do. There isn’t a real question about it. It might take 21 days to form this habit, but it might also only take a week. I feel more energized on the days I work out in the morning despite my complaining the two hours prior to finishing said work out. And having workout buddies and accountability buddies helps! A simple text from a friend, or your spouse or significant other, or anything to help you get there is all it takes.

There’s no science to this, and there is no science to routine. They say the hardest part is typing up your shoes, which used to be (and sometimes still is) true for me.. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be attainable if you at least try and more important, you want to try!

What are things in your life that need routine?

**I am not an expert in exercise nor am I claiming to be! These thoughts are my own and those tips are strictly my takeaways. Each person will have their own views on what to do pre- and post-workout!

9 thoughts on “Wake Up and Smell the Routine

  1. GiGi Eats

    Working out in the AM for me is like brushing my teeth – it is NON negotiable and ALWAYS gets done! Seriously. Everything else in my day can be completely UP IN THE AIR – but the work out – ALWAYS happens!

  2. Rafia

    Hey, if that’s the definition of Type A, then I guess I am too. Except I’m also a bit of a neat and symmetry freak. I never thought I was before I got married, but marriage teaches you a lot of things about your spouse and yourself!

    Anyways, back to your point. I’m also really ocd about routine. I’m at my parents’ house now and that has set my routine out of whack. I didn’t exercise for three days, have been eating more than I should be (it’s just that it’s mom’s cooking!!) and I’ve been feeling really bad about all that. Whenever there is a change of schedule, I’m afraid that I’ll become a glutton again and undo the healthy habits I’ve been struggling with.

    At home, I like to workout midmorning, but I haven’t done early morning workouts ever. That means I’d have to wake up early! Yikes. I’m by no means someone who sleeps in. But I do take time to wake up. You’ve motivated me to atleast workout some time in the day ;)

  3. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

    I love these tips!! I also love having a routine haha. I’m not super structured with my workouts in terms of when I do them, but I have a group text with a few fitness minded friends and we share our workouts so it keeps me in check! It’s definitely nice having people holding me accountable haha :)

  4. Amber

    You are Type A and I love it. I can casually mention plans to you and in no time at all you’ve replied with a full list and pros and cons of each activity! So it works out well for me haha You do the planning work, I enjoy the activity whatever it is.

    I really need to embrace a morning routine. Almost every day I sleep too late and begin my day frantic and in a bad mood, it can’t be healthy. I feel like if I work harder to relax in the morning- maybe with stretches and enjoying a cup of tea or coffee- I can be more mentally prepared for my day.

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      Stretching helps! It’s like a little thing but it can add up over weeks and months! Give it a try for sure. And I’m happy to be Type A for you Ambo! Except when planning TIFF. I leave all that to you and your expertise :D

  5. dixya | food, pleasure, and health

    i wish could exercise in the morning too but its a struggle for me..however, lately i have been better about consistently going to 545 pm class. the thing about stretching or doing something in the morning really helps me set the tone for the day.

    1. Aparna B. Post author

      That’s great you’re going to that nightly class, Dixya. And I agree – I’m amazed at what a simple stretch or breathing exercise can do for me in the morning.

  6. Parita

    Love this post and all of your tips! And that cartoon – so true!

    I need a set routine between the time I wake up and the time I start work. It helps set the tone for the rest of my day!


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