How many of you out there follow Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? If you do, then you’re aware of how busy he gets.
He’s either filming, negotiating for the next project he’s doing, working on a clothing line, or entertaining the masses at an arena when he returns to wrestling. Oh yeah, AND he has a family.
So how does he possibly have time to work out? He gets up early. No, I mean real early. It’s nothing for him to be up at 3:30 in the morning so he can get his iron game on.
If you’re serious about your training, then no workout is easy but if you’re planning on making the session the first thing you do, then you need to prepare accordingly.
One doesn’t simply roll out of bed and take on the weights.
Incorporate these 7 strategies now so that tomorrow morning you can have your best workout possible before most of your competition is even awake.
1. Plan the entire day tonight
If you want to have a great early morning workout, then you can’t concern yourself with all of the tasks you have to get done throughout your day. You have a bunch of responsibilities at work, your kids have practices and games, the yard needs mowed, etc.
If you have a checklist of things to do tomorrow, commit a few minutes tonight to plan out when you’re going to take care of those tasks. Schedule them down to the hour.
This practice of addressing those issues now will serve as a form of validation that they will be done. And that can go a long way in helping you take care of the first task on your agenda, training.
2. Get Your Sleep
If you want to be at the gym at 5:00 A.M. then staying up to watch the late night episode of SportsCenter, or binge watching whatever series on Netflix isn’t going to serve you well.
To get the best out of yourself, you need to be well rested. While most people can benefit from 8-9 hours of sleep, 7 is a minimum. And if 6 is the best you can do, then as Arnold would say, “sleep faster.”
In all seriousness, rest is crucial for early workouts so get to bed, get comfortable, and hit the lights. If you have trouble dozing off for whatever reason, take a sleep aid like ZMA or a nighttime tea.
Finally, if you have trouble sleeping or have a bad night, then you should really skip the workout. I know that isn’t the “hardcore” thing to do but I would rather have a good workout later in the day than beat myself up because of a bad workout this morning.
3. Just Say No to the Snooze Button
It doesn’t matter when you’re able to go to sleep, that alarm button is going to go off sooner than you like. You’ll likely look at your phone or alarm, decide in the midst of your slumber that 5 minutes will be ok, and hit snooze.
That’s what it’s there for, right? Don’t make this mistake. That five minutes is going to eat into your workout time and there’s always the chance that you’ll sleep through the snooze alarm which means you’ll lose even more time.
As tough as it may feel in the moment, get up. If you need to, set the phone or clock on the other side of the room so you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re on your feet, you’ll be much more likely to stay awake and get on with your day.
4. Eat a Quality Meal
Yes, time is of the essence but if you want to have the best workout possible, you need calories to provide energy to your body. You’ve went several hours without food because you’ve been sleeping.
Grabbing your pre-workout and jumping in the car seems like a good idea in the moment but if you’re going to lift heavy weights, you need nutrients to fuel your muscles. It’s that simple.
A great and simple pre-workout breakfast is Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and oats mixed in. It only takes a few minutes to make and covers all of the nutritional bases; protein, fast digesting carbs, slow digesting carbs, and fats. There is no cooking, little mess made, and easy for digestion.
Make sure you drink at least 16 ounces of water as well. Your body will need water just as much as it needs food.
5. Take a Good Pre-Workout
I’m not going to get too deep into details on this because each person differs, and his or her individual needs may differ as well.
Some of us may need a lot of caffeine while others are trying to avoid it. Some may prefer more beta-alanine while some people want a high amount of citrulline. In other words, the ingredients that serve you best are based on your goals and your individual needs.
What I am going to suggest is that you invest that money you spend wisely. When you place your order from M&S, look over the product carefully, check out the supplement facts, consider how well it’s rated, and read the reviews from other customers.
6. Get Your Mind Right
Here’s the situation. You’ve gotten up early and the first thing you’re going to do is put your body through the rigors of intense training. Hundreds of pounds will be moved over and over again over the course of that hour or so.
If there’s ever been a time you need to “FOCUS” (calling back to The Rock), this is it. You need to make sure you’re awake, you need to make sure your mind is clear, and you need to be prepared to go all-out.
There’s a chance of injury when you’re training regardless of what time of day you train. If you’re still yawning while wishing you were back in bed, you’re that much more likely to get hurt. When you walk in that door or enter that weight room, you better be ready to clang and bang.
7. Commit to the Warm Up
If you were to train in the afternoon or evening, then your body has already completed a lot of activity by the time you’re ready for fitness. If you want to get after it early, then you’ve been lying in bed and not moving very much at all.
This means your warm up is even more important. You should do some light cardio for a few minutes to get your heart rate up and transport blood throughout the body.
Next, you need to do some movements that work everything from the feet to the head so you activate all the muscle fibers. Calf raises, lunges, squats, twists, pushups, and neck rolls with bodyweight can all be great activities to use.
This will also help your joints. As they get moving and working, synovial fluid will lubricate them so they will be able to function properly.
Finally, you should perform at least two warm up sets with your first movement so you can feel those muscles working like you want them to so by the time that first heavy weight goes up, you can be assured this workout is going to be a good one.