Why You Should Exercise in the Morning

Exercising in the morning is proven to be the most effective for helping you develop a fitness habit, making sure it's part of your busy schedule, and for creating maximum physiologic effects. But how do you keep yourself motivated when it's oh-so-easy to stay in bed?

Mike Ceja, ACE certified personal trainer at Lloyd Athletic Club in Portland, OR says, "I train clients all day, but all my biggest fitness buffs train in the morning. That's because it lets you check off one of the most important things you need to do during your day and improves your mood. Many studies support that you do a cardio workout first thing in the morning to get the biggest weight loss results. People who work out at night sometimes have a tougher time sleeping after a workout and those [who] exercise in the morning get better sleep."

But how do you make sure you get out of your pajamas and into your gym clothes? Follow these five tips:

Pencil it in. You'd never miss an appointment or important meeting that's scheduled in your day planner. Treat your workout the same way. Set a time, make it a priority, and make it happen.

Wake up early. It's easier to plug exercise into the early hours than it is to carve out time late in the day when other responsibilities seem to multiply. Set your alarm an hour or more earlier than usual. Give yourself time for a cup of coffee or glass of juice and maybe a quick snack (nuts or a piece of fruit or yogurt, but nothing heavy) then get out the door.

Grab a date. Grab your spouse, sister, or friend and make a commitment to exercise together. People who work out on the buddy system tend to show up more often, exercise more frequently, and find fewer excuses to slack off on their fitness commitment.

Dress for success. Buy workout clothes and shoes that are a joy to get into. Dress in layers so you're warm enough during the chilly morning hours, but can peel them off as you warm up. Don't forget about accessories like an iPod full of fun workout playlists and a sleek water bottle.

Make an announcement. Tell a friend, family member, or your online community that you're going to be an early bird. When you tell someone you're going to do something, you're less likely to bale on your commitment.

If you don't make it to the gym in the morning, try and evaluate why not? Are you going to bed early enough to wake up on time? Are you stiff and sore in the morning? Make adjustments with your schedule to make morning exercise possible, but if you're just not a morning person, so be it. As long as you make fitness happen, you're on the right track.