I started going to the gym at 5am two to three days a week. I know, I am that person and that person is insane. It means I get up at 4:15 in the morning, and it means I shower at the gym. I am prioritizing my physical fitness.

I’m a public school teacher. School starts at 7:30 am, which means I am at work by 6:45am. My day officially ends anywhere between 2:30 and 5pm depending on the day. Teaching teenagers is hard! Teaching American Government in 2019 is hard! I am usually exhausted, both physically and mentally. I drive between 20-40 minutes home and then there’s dinner and family responsibilities. For months last year, I was good at finding excuses not to go to the gym or train. Something was always coming up. You know when things don’t come up? 5am. That’s what did it for me. Actually finding the time in my schedule, so that I could prioritize family dinner and family time without guilt about neglecting my physical fitness.

What has getting up and training early in the morning taught me?

It’s possible to schedule your workouts early.

Is it easy? Absolutely not. There are some days when that alarm sounds and I want to pull the blankets over my head. Yet, I have never regretted going to the gym after my hour-long session. I set my clothes out the night before, pack my gym and school bags, and put my coffee on automatic timer. I have little to think about or find excuses for in the morning. At 6am I’ve already completed a vigorous workout and checked off something important on my to-do list.

It wakes me up!

I thought I’d be dragging myself into work after an early-morning sweat-sesh, but I’m not. I’m awake, grounded, and excited for the day.

You have to have an incentive.

My incentive is the charge that comes in from my gym if I cancel a session. My incentive is also my family and seeing them, cooking with them, eating with them after my work day.

You have to prioritize physical fitness.

I know, I know- we already know this AND I know my life gets crazy. I love my family, I want to spend time with them after work and I love my friends, I would like to see them during the work-week sometimes. To do this, I have to find the time. Casa de Papel / Money Heist binge on the couch at night is so worth the early morning workout. That family time is my priority and there’s no guilt about not working out.

I’m not saying all self-care starts at 4am. I am saying, if something is important to you and you’re having trouble finding the time in your life, there are more hours in your day. For me, waking up early a few days a week has made me clearer headed, given me more energy, and helped me achieve fitness goals I thought were impossible. My self-care starts early because I know my priorities and my tendency for excuses, so I won’t go back. I’m one of those people now.

pbr