motivation for early morning workouts

How to Motivate Yourself to Lift Weights in the Early Mornings

What’s the best time to lift weights? Hands-down, it’s early morning.

There are so many benefits to morning workouts. The simple fact that it kick-starts the rest of your day is only one of them.

But the problem is maybe you can’t fathom waking up earlier than you already do to go lift weights. Besides, as soon as you wake up you’re already thinking about the hectic day ahead of you…so how are you supposed to find the motivation to workout that early?

In this post, I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do to motivate and prepare yourself for early morning workouts. And as crazy as it sounds, this is literally going to change your life, for the better!

Why Early Morning Weight Training is Better

Before we dive into the tips for motivation, let’s quickly talk about why early morning workouts are better.
*Feel free to skip down to the net section if you’re already convinced, like me!

Here are some benefits of training first-thing in the morning

  • You get the most difficult task of your day completed first
  • You accomplish something amazing first-thing in the morning!
  • Because of that, it sets the tone for success for the rest of your day
  • Gyms are typically less crowded in the mornings, so you can get in and out of the gym much faster, and without having to wait on equipment
  • Most people that train early mornings are like-minded and driven, so you’ll also feed off of each other’s energy
  • Your testosterone levels are higher in the mornings so you may find that you’re stronger at this time

There are many other reasons, and if you’d like to read more about that, check out my post: How Early Morning Workouts Help You Build More Muscle.

Prepping the Night Before Your Workout

Gym gear: gym bag, Dark Iron Belt, Straps

For this moment, forget about the morning and forget about what time you need to wake up. Because it all starts the night before – that’s when you need to prepare for tomorrow morning’s workout.

Waiting until the morning of your workout to prepare is going to cause two things:

  1. Kills your motivation to workout
  2. Sets your schedule back (your intent to be on your first set by 5 AM can quickly turn into 6:30 AM)

This is the most crucial part of early morning workout motivation. It’s the preparation you do the night before.

Your goal is to get up and get out the door as fast as possible. You don’t want to be lolly-gagging around!

Tips for Waking Up Motivated to Workout

  • Have your gym clothes out and ready so that you can quickly throw them on
  • Have your gym bag ready and prepared with everything you need (lifting belt, gym towel, straps, etc.)
  • Make a full glass of water and put it in the fridge (you’ll read why later)
  • Have your pre-workout meal ready
    TIP: Things like protein bars make this much easier but if you prefer a whole food meal, try to make it in advance and store it in the fridge – you can just heat it up or eat it cold, depending on the meal
  • Have your pre-workout or energy drink ready
    TIP: I sometimes just drink coffee and I’ll have the k-cup already in my Keurig so all I have to do is push the start button to make my cup of coffee
  • It doesn’t hurt to eat a full meal about an hour before bed; you’re going to use this to energize your workout the next morning – just don’t eat anything with a bunch of sugar
  • Make sure you’re relaxed for those last couple of hours or so before bed
    TIP: Don’t watch the news or social media for those last few hours before bed as getting riled up is going to impact your sleep – rather, do some Yoga and read or watch something positive

This is the most lengthy. However, I’ll reiterate this is the most important aspect of lifting weights in the early mornings. You need to be rested and focused to train that early and make gains!

Be Consistent with Your Bedtime and Waking Times

The next most important correlates directly with what we just talked about. But we need to take this a level deeper.

You need to set a schedule for yourself so that you’re consistent in going to bed at a specific time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning that you train.

Even on days you don’t workout, it’s still important to stick to a schedule, although there is a little flexibility for non-training days. I’ll get more into that in a second.

Before you set your bedtime and wakeup times, you need to assess how much sleep you actually need. Of course, you want to get plenty of rest so that you’re focused and strong for your morning workouts. But there’s also such a thing as too much sleep.

I recommend starting with 7 hours of sleep and go from there.

You have to find that balance that workouts for you. And sometimes that can take a week or more. So don’t get discouraged – experiment with different times and see what works for you. In fact, here’s an example below…

Example of Bedtime/Wake-up Schedule for Early Morning Training

I personally operate well on about 6.5 to 7 hours of sleep. So I’ll give you my bedtime and wake up times as an example below:

DayBedtimeWake-up Time
Workout Days9:30 – 10:00 PM4:30 – 5:00 AM
Rest Days10:00 – 11:00 PM6:00 – 6:30 AM

There are a couple of things I want you to notice here:

  • I give myself a range of time instead of one hard-coded time – having that flexibility will fuel your motivation even more as you won’t feel so restricted
  • I give myself even more flexibility on non-training days, and also I may sleep just a little more

**Some have trouble getting used to going to bed and waking up earlier at first. To help, about 30 minutes before your bedtime you can drink some caffeinated herbal tea, like Sleepy Time tea, or take ZMA (a combination of zinc, magnesium, and B6).

Morning Muscle Motivation

get pumped - jason stallworth

By this point, you may be thinking:

‘Where are the tips on motivation?’

We’re here, and I’m about to give you an easy-to-follow plan to crank up your drive and motivation so that you can go annihilate the weights.

But you need to understand that everything we talked about up to this point is far more important than what we’re about to dive into, which is the fun stuff.

However, without the latter, what we’re about to get into won’t be much help. So I encourage even now to go back and re-read those first two sections again!

Alright, let’s get into what I like to call ‘Morning Muscle Motivation!’

Before Your Morning Training Session

What’s great about this part is there aren’t that many steps. Remember, the ultimate goal of lifting weights in the early mornings is to get out of your house as fast as possible. Again, this is why the first section is so crucial because it prepares you for this moment.

Here’s what you need to do from the time you get out of bed to the time you step into the gym. And this is a mix of tasks, or ‘to-dos’ as well as tapping into your utmost inner energy.

  1. Immediately put your gym clothes on
  2. Brush your teeth and use a dental scraper for your tongue (and put your deodorant on)
  3. Now, before you go into the kitchen, take a brief moment of silence and allow yourself to experience gratitude – be thankful that you have the ability to get up and go workout, and be thankful for the people you have in your life at that moment – although I don’t recommend waking your partner up to tell them how thankful you are for them that early in the morning…lol!
  4. Open the fridge and remember that glass of water you poured the night before? Down it!
  5. Eat your pre-workout meal – again, this should already be prepared, although sometimes I will just mix a scoop of whey protein powder and creatine and drink that, which only takes a few seconds
  6. Grab your gym bag and pre-workout drink – you can gulp down your pre-workout at home, or take it without – I have some cheap homemade pre-workout options in this post
  7. Before you get into your car, take 2 minutes to do some deep breathing exercises – breathe in slowly through your nose, hold it for about 5 seconds and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat this 4-5 times

We’re not done yet! But I want to stop here briefly to tell you some things that you absolutely should not do first thing in the morning…

Don’t Do These When You Wake Up!

  • DO NOT check social media
  • DO NOT turn on the TV
  • DO NOT read anything related to media or news or current events
  • DO NOT start thinking about the things you have to do that day
  • DO NOT let your mind wander off into negative thoughts

I would also add ‘do not hit the snooze button.’ But if you have to hit snooze, chances are you missed one or more of the night-before preparation steps to relax your mind and get quality sleep.

Tips for Extreme Motivation on the Way to the Gym

Here’s where we start to crank things up (that wasn’t a pun, as you’re cranking up your vehicle to drive to the gym!).

As soon as you get into your car, you can do one of three things…

  • Listen to a motivational podcast
  • Listen to music (like the Heavy Metal Workout album!)
  • Ride in complete silence

I do a mixture of all three. Sometimes I may want to listen to words of someone like Tony Robbins or Jocko Willink. Sometimes I put on some heavy metal music. And there are days where I drive to the gym in silence.

*Be careful driving in silence not to let your mind veer off to any type of negativity.

On the way to the gym, there are two things I do:

  1. First half of the drive: reflect on the awesome things and people you have in your life – continue that moment of gratitude
  2. Second half of the drive: start mentally going through your workout that you’re about to do and prime your mind for the work that’s about to take place!

**All of the programs that I offer on this site include a section for priming your mind for workout out. You can take a look at my programs here.

And it doesn’t matter how long or short your drive to the gym is. This formula is something I’ve found that works like a charm.

Where Your Motivation Comes From

dumbbell rows back exercise

Lastly, motivation isn’t something you just conjure up. I hear people all the time say things like…

‘I Just can’t seem to find the motivation.’
‘I’m just not motivated.’
‘Where do you find the motivation?

Motivation isn’t a random thing that just appears from the heavens. And if you’re waiting to be motivated by something or someone, you may find yourself waiting for a while.

Motivation comes from action.

You have to set yourself in motion. This is why the first part of this blog post is so important.

Think about it. You prep for your workout the night before. That action is going to motivate you to get up and go workout. If you woke up and thought about all of the prep work you have to do to get out of the house and go train, you may be more apt to just stay in bed.
Action = motivation.

Likewise, you now have a quick routine that gets you out of the house quickly and on your way to the gym. You also have these short rituals that feed your mind positivity.

By the time you get to the gym, you’re pumped, filled with positive energy, and your mind is focused.

I encourage you to go back and re-read this post. Also, you may alter some things to fit your schedule or belief-pattern. And that’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to follow my advice exactly the way it’s written. Feel free to use this as a guide and make changes that cater to add things that inspire you to workout.

Train with Passion,


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