I guess you could call me a fitness enthusiast. At twenty-eight years old, I can finally say I have fully incorporated regular exercise into my lifestyle which has been difficult since my life-long affair with formal dance ended after I graduated college. Add two herniated discs and excruciating back pain to the equation and you have a recipe for a life full of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do more than yoga. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with the stubbornness and determination of a viking and an amazing personal trainer and now skipping my morning weight-training session feels like the equivalent of skipping my morning coffee (the horror!).
Yes, I wake up at an ungodly hour, always before sunrise and for a split second I seriously consider launching my iPhone against the wall to make the alarm stop. And then I remember how shitty I feel the rest of the day when I skip my gym sesh and I try to remember how good I feel when I’m strutting out of the gym on my way to work well-before 9 a.m.
Ah, the feeling of accomplishment, the rush of endorphins and the spring in my step are my immediate gratification agents that make this whole activity an addicting one. Yes, the post-workout haze has become my drug. Another key reward factor? The fact that I love what I see in the mirror when I get naked. I can try to sell you hard on the “beauty comes from the inside and I only work out to feel good,” ton-o’-crap, but lets be honest here. We all want to look good naked and the one way you make sure you’re working towards this goal is by making exercise a priority and getting it out of the way before your day gets complicated.
Now, if for whatever reason you can’t make it to the gym/studio/trail (you get it) in the morning, or you’re one those people who prefer to exercise in the evening, that’s perfectly fine! What counts is that you’re getting your fitness on at some point during your day. I’ve learned that I don’t do well with weight training and high-endurance cardio in the evening. I’m usually a little cranky/sleepy/hungry/tired/mental right after work and I’ll come up with a hundred excuses as to why I can’t make it to the gym. These are some legitimate ones I use all the time:
- “It’s raining!” – I’m not sure how this prevents me from working out indoors but I’ve used it so many times it’s not even funny.
- “It’s going to rain” – Yup.
- “I’m too full/too hungry.” – This is a semi-valid excuse.
- “My dog is home alone and misses me.” – Drives straight home feeling guilty only to find a napping dog.
- “I should go home and clean” – Goes home, eats a bowl of popcorn while watching the “novela” and takes a nap.
Get the point? Here are some of the benefits of exercising in the morning:
It sets the tone for the day: Beyoncé ain’t got nothing on this girl in the morning. I feel like a million bucks as I’m leaving the gym in my carefully selected business outfit, makeup and hair done and endorphins flooding my brain.
Energizer bunny: I have more energy throughout the day. Yes, I want to crawl under my desk and take a nap at about 3 p.m. but it’s nothing that a good cup of green tea can’t fix.
Discipline: I make better food choices throughout the day. Listen, I did not get up at 5:45 this morning to sweat my ass off and work on my abs to have Chinese for lunch. You can also take that cupcake elsewhere because this girl is happy with a banana for desert. When I skip the gym, I get the “what the hell” syndrome and I am more likely to eat garbage throughout the day. I know a lot of people who suffer from this syndrome.
Better sleep at night: And if you don’t have kids, you can go home after work and take a little nap to help you power through the rest of your evening.
Faster metabolism: Working out in the morning sets your body up for burning more calories throughout the day. Just make sure you’re prepared with healthy snacks to munch on in between meals. I love baby carrots, celery, almonds and fruit (and I always carry a banana in my purse).
Fail-proof your day: The rest of my day can be a complete waste, or tragically stressful, but since I got my workout on in the morning, I don’t feel like a complete failure.
The morning gym peeps rock: Very few people wake up that early to go shoot the shit at the gym. Typically, the morning crowd is a seriously dedicated bunch that feel the same way you do about making this time a highly productive one. You don’t have to wait as much (if at all) for the machines as you do in the afternoon and you get a lot less “oye mami’s” from the typical gym bro’s who swear they can be your personal trainer. Uh, no thanks.
About this outfit: This one-piece swimsuit should come with a crown because I feel Royal (yes, with a capital R) when I wear this baby. I bought it from Colombian luxury swimwear and lingerie line, Touché. This hat is a personal treasure of mine which I got at an art fair in Port Charlotte from an artisanal hat maker. It is a handmade, Madagascar-style hat woven from the fibers of a palm tree native to the island. It is woven so tightly that it can hold water like a bucket and the double layer of fibers ensures no sun-rays get through, making a perfect hat to protect the delicate skin on your face and chest from harmful UV rays. I chose these sky-high, nude wedges from Steve Madden because they make your legs look suuuper long and because they’re a neutral complement to the busy leopard-like pattern in the swimsuit. My favorite birdie necklace makes an appearance yet again with a pop of gold and these mint-colored round earrings from Forever 21 complete the look with a feminine and sophisticated touch.
Pictures taken by the amazing Chantal Lawrie. See more of her work at www.ImagesByChantal.com and