Sticking to a consistent routine is the key to making progress in any endeavour. Achieving success in the weight room (however you choose to define that) is no different. Show up every day, put in the work, and you will achieve your goals. This isn’t some 10,000 Hour Rule pop-psych nonsense. It’s about harnessing the power of positive momentum — using one success to fuel the next — and nothing derails that process like skipping a training session.
Life is unpredictable. You may have packed your gym bag and made a solemn vow to hit the weights after work, but the bossman may have other ideas. Over the years I’ve learned that there is a simple and effective method for ensuring you need never miss another workout thanks to the whims of fate…
I know, getting out of bed at 5:30 AM sucks. There’s no other way to put it. The thing is, once you’re up, once you’ve shaken out the cobwebs and downed a quick coffee, it actually feels pretty good. Try it for a week and chances are you’ll feel the same way.
Not convinced? Before you shun the idea entirely, here are a few points to consider:
The Gym Is Empty
Everyone who trains at a public gym knows the feeling: you’ve spent all day quietly psyching yourself up for that after-work squat session only to find every square inch of the gym floor occupied and a line-up four bodies deep waiting at the racks. The period between 5:00 PM and 7:30 PM is typically the busiest at every gym; if you happen to have a traditional job with traditional hours, fighting through the sweaty masses is simply a fact of life. There isn’t much you can do, aside from quietly stare daggers at everyone in sight and/or pray for a fire alarm to go off.
On the other hand, early mornings at the gym are what I imagine heaven must be like. Everything is quiet and clean and calm. Rarely do you have to wait for a piece of equipment. If the after-work hours are Black Friday, the early mornings are New Year’s Day. No crowds, no chaos, just open floor space and a handful of other like-minded lifters who’d rather sacrifice sleep than deal with the frustration of training after work. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
The People Are Awesome
As Michael Bay illustrated in his surprisingly decent 2013 movie Pain & Gain, the gym is home to a wide range of unique characters. And though there’s a place in my heart for each and every archetype (yes, even Sweaty B.O. Guy), my favourites are the ones you find in the early hours. From the old timers doing the same calisthenic routines they learned in grade school, to the alpha business executives powering through their circuits, everyone seems to be zeroed in on the task at hand. It takes a certain sort of mindset to drag yourself out of bed before sunrise in order to bust your ass in the gym, and if you’re of that mindset it feels like home to be around kindred spirits. Rarely do you come across a more inspiring bunch.
You Can Focus On The Rest Of Your Day
Unlike us fitness pros, most folks have an actual life that doesn’t revolve around the gym. Yes, those pesky jobs and domestic duties tend to take priority, meaning exercise becomes another item on the ever-expanding To Do List. And as the hours pass and energy levels drop, the spectre of THE GYM begins to loom heavy like storm clouds gathering on the horizon. This is how resentment is born.
Let’s be real: the last thing anyone wants to do after a hard day at work is exercise. Getting your workout in early ensures that you never have to bail on your responsibilities. It also allows you the freedom to do whatever the hell you want come 5 o’clock. Do yourself a favour — set that alarm an hour earlier and free yourself from all that mental stress.