It feels like training: Preparing kit the night before and setting the alarm for 5:30am, clambering around the house looking for USB cables to charge my lights, filling bottles then heading off to bed. For a large chunk of the year, the sky is still dark at that time, and the birds have yet to wake. The world still sleeps and the roads are quiet. The only noise is that of the hum of the tyres on the road, the odd gear change and the heavy breathing of exertion. The glow of street lights fades with each turn of the pedals as the sun slowly rises.
I’m not really sure why I’m up and riding so early – I’ve not set any plans for the year ahead – but I know it’s good to be up. The early mornings require an early night and sufficient sleep – otherwise the snooze button becomes both my best friend and my worst enemy. The sun will be up soon, the birds will be singing and the roads will start to get busier, but for now it’s just me and the village milkman who share the lanes.
If you’re not a morning person (and I’m not) then it’s not always the easiest thing to do to get up at and be out by 6, but I’ve never regretted an early morning bike ride! At this time of the day, I find it useful to know why I’m up and at ‘em as opposed to the rest of the world.
Three motivators to get you moving
Start as you mean to go on
People who exercise in the morning get a host of benefits that can last for the rest of the day, including a surge of energy to last well beyond the 8-10 hours at the office due to the cardiovascular kickstart and an increase of endorphins to power you through.
Eat and be merry
Before exercise, I tend to eat a fairly healthy breakfast compared to my usual snoozed mornings. It not only fuels my early morning ride, but helps to keep snacking at bay throughout the day. Afterwards, my metabolism is busy at work burning up to 20% more calories than an equivalent evening workout, so I don’t feel the need to top up again come 10am.
Focus on what’s important
Concentration is improved by the early energy burst and the mornings provide time to work through the tasks of the day ahead often from the comfort of my saddle. Whether it’s work, family, or simply trying to fit in some personal time, the quiet and calm of the morning will help solve the world’s ills!
That’s the logic sorted, now what?
I always get my kit sorted the night before, lay it out on the sofa downstairs so I can simply roll out of bed and tiptoe through the house without waking anyone. The last thing I want to do is wake up my other half and get ‘the look’ at 5:30!
There are plenty of words written out on the world wide web about the benefit of early morning fasted exercise to stimulate fat burn. Do it! But be prepared to refuel afterwards! If you are heading straight in an office, have it packed and ready. If you are back and the house is still quiet, have it ready on the counter top so there’s little risk of making additional noise.
Find a buddy
Have you got a cycling/running buddy who is willing and able to get out with you? A workout shared is a workout more intense! But it also helps to develop more commitment to the cause and stops you from bailing/hitting the snooze if you know someone else is out there waiting for you.
Next time you go to use the excuse of no time, set your alarm for 5:30 and you’ll realise there’s a unique part of the day when you can feel like you have the whole world to yourself. Ditch the TV, limit late night social media, stop reading blogs in bed and get an early night. You know what they say: early to bed, early to shred!