How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise in the Morning

Osuleo/iStock/Getty Images

Psyching yourself up for exercise can be a chore any time of the day, but it may seem nearly impossible when you need to drag yourself out of bed for early morning exercise. Whether you get up for an early-morning jog, yoga routine or strength-training regimen, the simple fact is that staying beneath your bed covers is generally a lot more enjoyable than engaging in a strenuous physical workout. The key to motivating yourself to exercise in the morning is to focus on making physical activity more attractive.

Talk to a family member or friend about becoming your morning exercise partner, suggests June Kahn, American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and co-author of “Morning Cardio Workouts.” Make sure you choose someone who is cheerful and happy in the morning; the last thing you need is a workout compatriot who saps your positive energy by complaining about getting up with the birds. Schedule an early morning, pre-exercise motivational phone call between the two of you; giving in to the temptation to fall back asleep becomes a lot harder if you know you’re about to get a phone call and pep talk.

Prepare your workout items before going to bed the night before your early morning exercise regimen. Get your water bottle ready and fill your gym bag with any specialized equipment you may need. Lay your exercise clothing out on top of your dresser so you can get dressed quickly and easily when you awaken.

Find an object or item of clothing -- such as a swimsuit or a pair of skinny jeans -- that represents your fitness and weight loss goals. Lay the chosen item out in a prominent place in your bedroom, positioning it so you’ll see it when you wake up in the morning.

Program your alarm clock so that it awakens you with an inspirational message that helps focus you on your fitness goals. If your alarm clock doesn’t have a record option, check your cell phone, since many models allow you to pre-record a message for use as an alarm. Highlight a weight loss or fitness goal in your alarm message or just include an inspirational quote from your favorite workout video or book.

Go to bed early the night before your morning workout. Draw your curtains or blinds or don a sleep mask to help darken your bedroom. Rearrange your schedule to ensure that you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night; not only does this increase your chances of awakening chipper and cheerful for your morning workout, but it also keeps your body from producing excessive amounts of diet-busting ghrelin, an appetite-boosting hormone fueled by lack of sleep, says Cathleen Murakami, 20-year-veteran professional fitness instructor and author of “Morning Pilates Workouts.”


Self-motivation is an on-going exercise. It's all too easy to get side-tracked from your goals by distractions or a grumpy mood first thing in the morning. Remind yourself how good you will feel after exercising and how free you'll be to tackle or enjoy the rest of your day.


Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.