Five ways to conquer that early morning workout

Fitting it all in:  How I work out at 5 a.m.

Guest Blogger – Jen Bondurant [read about Jen’s six week weight loss challenge HERE!]

With week two of Orangetheory Fitness Columbus’ 6-week Weight Loss Challenge in the books, I have recommitted to working out at 5 a.m.

First, I am not a morning person. Not. At. All.  I literally fantasize about staying in bed until noon and then lounging on the couch and sipping coffee for another hour or two.  Likewise, I grew up in a family of self-proclaimed night owls, and I have always seemed to naturally gravitate toward staying up late at night.Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.04.17 PM

But…I also know that in order to make healthy, active choices for myself and my family, my routine cannot afford many lazy days or late nights.  One of those healthy, active choices is working out at least five days per week.  Since my husband also regularly works out and our children are too young to be left unaccompanied, let alone join us; the only way to hit my workout goal is for at least two of my days to be before work.

Do I like waking up at 4:30 a.m.?  Absolutely not.  Do I love how I feel at 6 a.m. when my workout is finished?  Unequivocally yes!  So, before every morning workout, there is an epic battle between my motivated self and my lazy self.  I honestly believe, however, that anyone can stick to a morning workout routine.  How do I conquer the battle?  Here are my 5 best tips.

1. Schedule and prioritize.   

My husband and I set aside time every weekend to talk through our upcoming week and schedule our workouts.  It is often difficult to make time to work out and there are many sacrifices.  Most weeks it feels like a challenging chess game as we juggle work, daycare drop-off and pick-up, kid activities and life generally.  But by Sunday evening, we sign-up for our classes and put all our work outs into a shared electronic calendar.  Committing to my workouts for a week at a time has definitely made me much more likely to maintain my 5-day target.

2. Eliminate excuses.

Prepare the night before and go to bed early. I head up to bed at least 30 minutes before I actually want to be falling asleep.  I lay out my workout clothes and everything I need (water bottle, towel, etc.) at night.  Not only do I make less noise when I am getting ready (which my hubby appreciates); but also, I am out the door much quicker (which means more sleep).  Additionally, I hate the thought of looking at my clean workout clothes because I opted to skip out on my workout.

3. Set a “fancy” alarm.

While I don’t use multiple alarms (mostly because my husband would despise the multiple interruptions), I do give my alarm a motivational title.  Currently, my alarm for my 5 a.m. OTF workouts is labeled “You can do this! [orange emoticon] #keepburning.”  It may seem silly, but it really does help motivate me.  Try it!


4. Think about why you do it and how you feel when you’re finished.

No matter the reason for my alarm, my natural thought when it goes off is an excuse for NOT getting out of bed.  So, I have conditioned myself to think about two things instead: (1) the healthy role model I want to be for my kids, and (2) the feeling I have at 6 a.m. when my metabolism is rushing and I have the whole day ahead of me.  Over the years, my inspiration for early morning workouts has changed, but the effect remains the same.  By focusing on the results, I am more motivated to do anything to get there.

5. Water, water, water.

When you wake up, drink a cup of water first thing and splash some on your face while you at it.  Not only does immediately drinking water help remedy the sleep dehydration, but the splash on my face accelerates feeling awake.


Bonus: Find a group of people who inspire you.  At OTF Dublin, the 5 a.m. workouts are my favorite session.  The trainer is fresh and the other members are some of the most focused people I’ve met.  The energy is so inexplicably high, it’s truly palpable.  I actually look forward to being a part of this group.

The bottom line for me is working about at 5 a.m. is all about commitment.  The more you go all-in, the more likely you are to make early morning workouts part of your routine.    Find what works for you and make it a habit!


Thanks Jen!  Hoping this convinces more of us to get up early and start our day off right, at least a few days per week.  Often, our morning mantra is… 

Drink coaster from

One last tip.  Get to bed early!  That 4:30 alarm will be going off before you know it and you NEED your sleep!  For previous blog posts relating to this topic, visit…


Photo credits: OrangeTheory Fitness,,, LivingFitColumbus



  1. Jen-this is awesome! You do such a great job juggling it all while focusing on fitness!!! Maybe I’ll join you sometime at OTF! I’ve never been, but think I’d love it!!!

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