Your Guide to Working Out Before Work

lacing sneakers with sunrise
Looking to get your daily exercise in before it's time to clock in? We can help.

by Lindsay Tigar

As you watch the clock tick toward 5 p.m. and contemplate your post-office gym session, you might begin to envy anyone who makes a habit of working out before work. But before you doubt yourself, remember that with a bit of practice and a routine adjustment, you too can nail the pre-work workout!

The secret? Setting yourself up for seamless success that's free of roadblocks. This means planning ahead, packing wisely, and giving yourself that much-needed pep talk to get out of bed and into the gym. Here's a helpful guide to working out before work.

Prep the Night Before

While you might think your morning sweat session begins when you arrive at the gym, it actually begins the evening before. In addition to getting to bed at a reasonable hour, you should strategize a few workout goals for the next morning. Give yourself a pep talk before bed; remind yourself how good you'll feel after your workout and how much more you'll accomplish throughout your day. Visualize yourself waking up with the sun, refreshed and ready to hit the gym.

From laying out your athletic clothes (or, as some fitness enthusiasts swear by, sleeping in them) to setting a couple alarms that will ensure you wake up and get ready to go, this extra effort can go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of working out before work.

Pack Your Bag With Everything You'll Need

Since you'll likely need to shower after your morning gym session, you might not be able to pack super light for your predawn workout. That's OK, though — getting into a healthier habit always warrants a shopping trip!

In addition to a change of (workplace-appropriate) clothes, you'll need to pack some portable hygiene, makeup, and hair products. Having these packed and ready to go makes getting out the door easy and fast. Though everyone is different, a few must-haves include a towel, deodorant, dry shampoo, a brush or comb, and a travel-size perfume or cologne. And don't forget what you need when you're actually on the gym floor — including your water bottle and headphones.

Plan Your Exercise Routine

The fewer questions you have to answer the morning of your workout, the better. Many people find themselves discouraged if they're trying to prep for the gym in the midst of their morning brain fog. To avoid this uncomfortable (and frustrating) situation, take some time to map out your plans the night before.

This might mean loading up a workout playlist or planning a session with a certified trainer so you don't have to stop and think about each exercise. When you can wake up, grab your bag, and quickly head out the door, you're more likely to stick to your morning routine.

Eat the Right Amount

When you walk into the gym first thing in the morning, you want to make sure you have enough energy to complete your workout and power through your day. Pay attention to your body and what it's telling you. Some people have great results when they fuel up ahead of their workout while others prefer to wait until after. No matter how you go about it, it's important to get the sustenance you need to keep going. In addition to a small cup of coffee to open your eyes, choosing a meal that's rich in protein and healthy fats will have you burning calories from the get-go.

When you nourish yourself, give your workout your all, and keep it going, you'll likely be amazed at the surge of creativity and energy you'll reap throughout your workday. And then if you want to enjoy time with your friends after work, you certainly don't have to feel guilty about it!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.