How I Finally Mastered the Morning Workout
You, too, can use the power of the end of daylight savings time to your advantage.
All through high school and college, I adored the idea of the morning workout. Getting my endorphin fix in before a stressful day, homework, and that afternoon slump that makes an afternoon or evening workout seem impossible? Count me in. Unfortunately, wanting to work out in the morning and actually doing so were two different things. Dragging myself out of bed on time to get ready for the day used to feel like a struggle; getting up even earlier to fit in a workout proved to be nearly impossible.
In high school, team practices kept my workouts in the afternoon, but in college I had the flexibility to head to the gym in the morning—assuming I could get myself out of bed on time. If I didn’t, my flexible student schedule left plenty of time for me to go for a run or a yoga class later in the day. It wasn’t until I graduated and joined the working world that morning workouts became a near necessity: I’d get stuck at the office and miss my workout class, or the sun would set before I could get my running shoes on, or a day of endless emails and work-related stress took all the energy I’d use in my workout. I knew I needed to start working out in the morning, but I couldn’t force myself out of bed at that early hour consistently, even with the help of my sunrise alarm clock.
My eventual (and shockingly easy) solution came in November, with the end of daylight saving time. The week before, as I contemplated yet another missed opportunity to head to the gym before work, I realized that the end of daylight saving time came with an hour of extra sleep—an hour I could use to my advantage.
The morning after daylight saving time ended, I set my alarm an hour earlier than usual. (6 a.m., in my case.) Used to waking (barely) at 7, with the time change, I didn’t feel a difference in my internal body clock when I woke at 6 a.m. in the non-daylight saving time world. That night, I went to sleep at 10 p.m.—what felt like 11 to my body—to maintain the sleep pattern I’d had during daylight saving time.
When Monday arrived, I woke bright and early, feeling like I was awake at 7 instead of 6, and made it to my spin class with plenty of time to spare. After a week or so, waking up before sunrise felt natural. I clung to my new, shifted sleep schedule, and by the time daylight saving time began again the following March, I’d finally gotten used to waking earlier.
My little morning workout trick may not work for everyone, but if you’re desperate to shift to working out in the morning and everything else you’ve tried hasn’t worked, it’s worth a shot—and with daylight saving time coming to an end on November 3, your opportunity is coming up. With the busiest part of the holiday season approaching, starting a consistent morning workout routine this weekend could set you up for fitness (and stress-reducing) success during November and December and beyond.