Typically when you have three kids all under the age of 6, you crave every second of sleep you can get. You cherish every moment your head is on that pillow and wouldn’t trade a minute of that for anything. Now let me stop you right there. *SLAP* This is where mindsets need to be altered to live differently than maybe the next mom who is struggling to get going in the morning or to lose those last 10 pounds. DO. THINGS. DIFFERENTLY.

For me, I needed more hours in the day if I were to accomplish everything I truly wanted to. Most of the time it seems like there’s not enough days in the week! Once my littlest (currently 9 months old) was sleeping through the night, I decided to make a change. Wanting to incorporate cardio into my training regimen felt like I was spending more time than I wanted to in the gym. Or I simply did not have the time to do a solid training session and cardio. Cue the 5am wake up calls.

Now that my life is back to consistently waking up comfortably by 6:30, I thought to myself “what all could I get accomplished in that hour before the kids wake up”?? Hmmm the possibilities….

Now, who the hell wants to get up at 5am? Even when I’m laying in bed looking at the alarm go off at 5:08 after I’ve hit the first ‘snooze’, I still have the voice in my head telling me to go back to sleep. The voice is telling me that I’m doing great and who needs that extra morning of cardio, we’ll do it tomorrow. The voice is telling me that I deserve to go back to sleep. That extra 60-90 minutes of sleep is really what my body needs. The voice is also telling me that only a crazy person chooses to get up this much earlier than needed.

Ignore that voice. That’s the voice everyone would hear, and thats the voice only the committed would ignore. It’s ok to ignore it. Be committed. Be different.

Now that I’ve been on this 5am cardio regimen for a month, I’ll tell you this: that voice does not go away. It doesn’t get much easier. Sorry. What does get easier, and better, is your morning and day going forward. Every. Single. Time. The moments when you’re laying in bed may not get easier, but that goes away real quick and being one month into this, I can tell you what I’ve learned. Three things you may learn about yourself from doing early morning cardio:

1) Immediately accomplishing a goal. You’ve literally just fought a mental battle and won within minutes of waking up. Go you! There’s nothing you can’t do at this point! At least thats how I feel. What an incredible way to go into your day, knowing you’ve pushed yourself into doing something you wanted to fight against. Mentally, you’re already starting the day on a positive note. From this moment forward, you’re more likely to make decisions in a positive direction and feel more confident about it. But let’s face it, not every day is going to be a “good” day or a productive day, so when you lay your head down at night you can look back in your day and think “at least I got my exercise in”. #winwin

2) Creating healthy habits.I don’t know about you, but I simply never have time to shower in the morning, even though I do find it to be a great feeling to start the day. Not to get too technical with my shower routines, but they usually happen before bed. Now that I’ve been getting sweaty in the morning, and kids are still asleep (thats key), I’ve been able to shower before even starting my day. Very refreshing. Along with showering, I’m also immediately downing an entire bottle of water before I take in anything else. Prior to this new routine, I’d wake up and grab a giant cup of coffee as I sit staring into a tv of Paw Patrol. **No jobs too big, no pups too small….** Even though I know drinking a big glass of water is the healthier option, there was just nothing forcing me to. Until now. So not only am I cleansed by 6:30am, but I’m hydrated and loaded up on my vitamins. To be honest, half the time I don’t even grab my cup of coffee until an hour into the kids being awake. Then caffeine is a must.

3) Mental benefits are huge. Piggy backing off of the previous two points made, what I’m speaking about now is possible because of the obvious benefits already mentioned. I can honestly say, especially after having mornings where I skip my early morning cardio (big mistake), that I am in such a different place mentally, especially when the kids wake up. Not that I was in a “bad” place before, I was just starting my day like any other typical parent dealing with young kids. Roll out of bed, make coffee, changing diapers, making a bottle and getting kids settled all while still trying to wake up. Now put yourself in those same scenarios except this time you’ve been up, gotten dressed, possibly eaten something and have released some awesome happy hormones called Endorphins because of exercise. Mentally, things seem a little easier, a little more pleasant to deal with, a little chippier. (Is that a word?) Not only is this great for yourself, but this energy will radiate to the family. I’m a big believer in transfer of energy, meaning that your energy is contagious, whether that be good or bad. Sure its not a fool-proof method to never have another chaotic morning again, but I guarantee that there will be fewer and when they do arise, you’re able to handle that sh!t way better.

Now that I’ve outlined exactly how I’ve felt early morning cardio has effected my life, let me finish this off by saying that not only am I goal crushing, cultivating healthier habits and enhancing my morning routine, but I also FEEL like I’m burning more fat! While its not the only way to drop fat by cardio, I do believe there are benefits to getting your body moving and burning extra calories in a fasted state. For me personally, I’ve done cardio in every which way possible: pre/post-breakfast, post workout, pre bedtime, mid day, you name it, I’ve done it. I personally feel I get the best results when I get it done first thing in the morning before putting anything into my body. I also feel my first meal is being utilized in a more beneficial way than if I were to eat prior.

So there you have it, my personal take on the whole morning cardio thing and why I think YOU could benefit from it. Whether you think you could use the change up or not, its worth a try. You never know, you might get addicted.

Darielle Singerman