transition: becoming an early bird

Michelle is a wonderful friend from the interweb that became an amazing real life friend when I moved to Northern California and she forced me to meet up with her and another knottie and eat Mexican food.  Anyone should be lucky to have her in their life, and we share a lot of the same passions about students and education and how crazy life can be. I’ve referred to her blogging exploits at See Michelle Blog many times here… but you should go check it out again and join me as a member of her fan club.



I’ve never been a “hit the snooze” button person. Why delay the inevitable? The alarm sounds, I turn it off and pop out of bed to get ready for the day. My day starts at 5:20 a.m. Years ago, that time was a complete mystery to me because I lived closer to work and wouldn’t dare wake up before 7:00. I also lived with my mom, was single and had a job that sucked so I’ll happily take the “O-dark-thirty” wake up time, as my husband calls it.

That being said, waking up any earlier than 5:20 was out of the question. NEVER! That was until going to the gym after work became a complete nightmare. I’m an exerciser. You probably wouldn’t know that by looking at me. I tend to eat away any progress I make at the gym but my blood pressure is fantastic. I should know. I sit down at the blood pressure machine whenever I go to Wal-Mart and then record the results in my phone. Nerd alert!

Back in January, I lost all motivation to go to the gym after work. I would walk in the door at 5:00 and all the household responsibilities that I had would start listing themselves out in the permanent thought bubble that lives above my head. If you look closely, you might be able to see it. Clean, make dinner, do laundry, tidy up the house, play with the cat, feed the cat, watch tv. It was just too much and I even though I love to exercise, leaving the house for even just an hour meant that I wasn’t able to spend that time with my husband. Oh yeah, that was on the list too. Whoops. The only way to fit in my daily workouts would be to become something I never thought I would be….

A morning exerciser. Dread came over my face when I realized that this was my only choice. I would have to wake up at 3:45 a.m. I would have to get to the gym at 4:00 a.m. in order to get my 1 hour of cardio and perhaps even earlier if I wanted to add in weight training. 3:30 a.m.? GULP. But I did it. And guess what? I loved it. The gym was empty so it was like I had my own personal workout room. I managed to work out 5 mornings in a row to get started. Once I formed the morning workout habit, it was easy to continue. I kept this up for a few months and then stopped dead in my tracks. Just a short spurt of not waking up at 3:45 got me out of the habit and once again, the thought of waking up that early seemed insane. But the truth was that morning workouts are better for me. Nights just weren’t working. I found myself rushing through my workouts and then rushing home to complete chores, etc. It wasn’t any way to live. It was time to go back.

Last week, my work schedule changed a bit so my morning workouts won’t have to take place from 4:00-5:00. I can push it back about an hour which will make rolling out of bed in the dark and cold easier. I still marvel at myself when I look up at the clock in the gym and see that it is only 4:30 a.m. It still seems like an insane hour to be awake and exercising. I scroll through Twitter and Facebook and in my mind I’m screaming “SOMEONE POST SOMETHING! ENTERTAIN ME!!”

My evenings at home with my husband, my cat, a hot meal and a favorite tv show on the dvr make it worth it. So if you have a transition that you are thinking of making, give it a try. It can’t be as bad as waking up at 3:45 a.m. voluntarily!

What are your exercise habits?
When are you most successful at working out?


  • talda

    I admire anyone that can get up early to do just about anything. I’d much rather sleep! Though, I do feel quite accomplish when I manage to get up early and run. That leaves the whole rest of the day to do whatever.

    • Michelle

      The “whole rest of the day” is my main motivation. Even now, I’m already thinking how great it is that I don’t have to go home and go to the gym. I love me some sleep but getting up to workout is only getting in the way of one thing (sleep) rather than 10 things (house, husband, cat, etc). Running is so great to do in the morning because you can just step out the door and go. The 3 miles I drive to the gym seems like the longest 3 miles in the world!

  • Monica

    Fascinating! But what time do you have to go to bed at night? I need my 7-8 hours, so I can’t imagine waking up that early (doesn’t help that I hardly ever get home from work before 7:30/8).

    • Michelle

      I also need my 7-8 (actually, I could use 9) hours of sleep a night which meant I just had to go to bed earlier to remain awake during my long work days. I started this morning workout thing during a time my husband was working nights so I went to bed early out of boredom. If I can get 8 hours of sleep, I am happy. I get home at 5-6 p.m. from work so it gives me enough time to make dinner, tidy up the house and have some down time before bed. I could see how difficult it would be if you don’t get home until 8. You would have NO time for anything fun!