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Exercising in the morning has countless benefits. First and foremost, you’ll have your daily intake done for the day before you begin all the tough stuff – whether that means work, school, kids, errands, or anything else – you’ll have your workout done before you tackle the most mind-draining work of your day. If you workout in the morning, you’ll also reap the benefits of an all-day energy boost you can’t get from a cup of coffee.

But what if you’re one of those who rolls out of bed at the last minute as it is? What if you and snooze button are the closest of friends to begin with? How do you start a morning exercise regime if you’re  not really the morning “type?” Read on for some of my tips:

1. Take care of business the night before.

If at all possible, pack your lunch, set your coffee machine, pick our your clothes, and set up your briefcase/school bag/kids’ school bags the night before. This takes some practice, of course, but do anything you can to eliminate tasks in the nights before. When starting your new morning exercise regime, remind yourself that this will be  more work and be more tiresome in the beginning – after a long day, the last thing you probably want to do is set up for the next day – but your newfound energy from the morning workouts will soon catch up to you.

2. Add a motivational picture (or phrase) to your bathroom.

Whether it’s a magazine cut-out of the bathing suit you want to be in prime-time shape for by summer or a picture of the kids you want to be more in shape for, add an image or two by your nighttime tooth-brushing/face-washing area. If you take a gander as you brush and clean at night, you’re more likely to reinforce your reasons for the workout as you go off to bed shortly thereafter, thus hopefully motivating you more in the morning. If an image won’t do it for you, try a motivational quote or mantra that gets you pumped to work out.

3. Sleep in your workout clothes.

This is a big one. If you can find dual-purpose sleep/workout gear, or at least wear one part of the next morning’s get up to bed (think stretchy cotton leggings, ladies – perfect for sleep and for a morning jog; comfy athletic shorts are great for guys), it will make the morning tumble from bed to workout less daunting.

4. Set your alarm with a workout song favorite.

Nothing will get you moving faster than hearing your favorite upbeat workout jam – much better than that annoying alarm buzz, and it will remind you of why you’re up so early in the first place. And put your alarm (or phone) in a nearby room as opposed to next to your bed. You’re more apt to stay up if you have to get up to turn the alarm off. Bonus tip: set another motivational image (or even a quote) next to the place you’ll keep your alarm or phone for an extra push when you want to run back to the covers.

5. Keep it close (and light) when starting your new morning routine.

While in certain parts of the country, the gym may be your only option during those cold winter months; otherwise, consider keeping your morning workouts as close to home as possible (or, better yet, in the house). This may mean a yoga DVD in your home office or a quick jump on a mini trampoline on your back porch. Lift weights in the kitchen while the coffee brews or while you watch the news. In warmer months, just take a jog or walk around the block – the idea here is to just get moving in the morning without the need to drive somewhere, get out, workout, drive home (or shower in a foreign place), etc. The gym or a morning class is of course great, but the idea here is to start small until your mind and body becomes accustomed to the morning activity. Start small and build your way up to the full-fledged gym workout or 5-mile trail run you might be aspiring for.

These are just a few of the many ways you can get yourself started on a morning workout routine. What are your favorite tips for getting moving in the a.m.?

Image Source: Wendy Cope/Flickr