Saturday, November 21, 2015

How I wake up early and go to the gym

Somehow, although I don't even recognize myself, I have become the kind of person who goes to an hour-long barre class before work almost every day. Before that, I wasn't a total sloth, but I didn't really ever work out for the sake of working out, except for a 6 month-1 year stint of Core Power Yoga a couple years back which hurt my knees. When I started this class in the spring, they have you fill out a little intro with how often you exercise and at that point all I was doing was the odd weekend hike, bike ride, or xc ski, and in the warmer months biking around the city a couple times a week. I have been going pretty religiously for about 9 months now. For awhile now I've been going only to the 7 am classes on weekdays. Not going to lie, it's rough getting up, especially after daylight savings as it gets darker and colder every morning. Here's how I am doing it:

1. Find a workout that is tough enough that you can brag about it a little, but not so tough that you won't go. This is the secret, I think. If it's spin classes or P90x or something called Sweat, I'm scared and disgusted and won't go, but I also want to feel like I pushed myself and got more fit. Bonus points for being able to see myself look more fit, and have other people see it too. If I don't have some trouble walking down the stairs afterwards, it's like, what was the point. Also, find a place with some kind of rewards program since getting fit is nice and everything but saving money is much more motivating. My friend said she used to go to a lunch-hour class where the instructor was particularly attractive as an added motivation.

2. Prepare everything the night before. I have the world's longest before-bed routine. I pick out my clothes and earrings and put them in my gigantic purse, along with any products I'll need the next morning to get ready. I grind my coffee beans and set my timer coffee maker with milk already in the cup and put it by my bed so I can grab it right after waking up. I prep whatever breakfast and lunch (leftovers) I'm lucky enough to be taking with me the next day. I have workout clothes already hanging up to put on. I hang them over a floor heat vent, so if I'm lucky they are warm when I put them on. I do my skincare routine at night and I don't even splash water on my face in the morning. This way, in the morning, I lie in bed, drinking coffee, looking at my phone, and cuddling my cat and husband for 30 minutes, then I throw on my workout clothes, brush teeth, put in contacts, and leave in 10 minutes.

3. Soften the blow of getting up in the cold and dark. I recently put a star-shaped lantern in the living room and put it on a light timer so as soon as I open the bedroom door to let the cat in, I can see it's nice soft glow. Hanging star lanterns were popular in Iceland in January when we visited, and I think they are big in Scandinavian winter/Christmas decor because they really help with the long dark winters. I also surround the bed with soft plush things like a faux sheepskin rug and my slippers so exiting the warm bed is slightly less painful. The next step is to get a gradual light alarm clock!

4. Minimal morning routine. After my class, I always shower. Quite frankly I am confused and disgusted by the girls who don't, which is 90% of them. Who are you, non-sweating people? Anyway I really only have 15 minutes from end of class to when I should head out to the train. So I don't wash my hair, I just leave it up, sometimes I wash my hairline/scalp around the bun which, you know, don't knock it until you try it. I've been using DIY deodorant; it's been an adventure. I used to use this spray moisturizer, or the regular lotion version which is provided by the locker room, but usually this step takes too long. If I'm in a hurry I do makeup on the train, but usually I do it there. I mix some SPF lotion with BB cream, or just do the SPF lotion if my skin is even. Sometimes I use some concealer, and/or mascara. Boom, done, out. The endorphin boost from the workout helps me to feel like I look great even if my hair is a mess or I didn't put on as much makeup as carefully as I would for a special event or night out.

5. Second cup of coffee. Eat breakfast once at work. Congratulate self.

*terrible phone picture is from my office window around 4:45 pm, to illustrate early sunsets and late sunrises.

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