Making Friends with Five AM

I picked up this book from Amazon recently and have since devoured it. I’m not a very efficient person by nature; I get distracted super easily. I’ll write down an ample to-do list, get excited about all the things, and then never get started on any of it.

The 5 a.m. Miracle does a great job at explaining how we have precious little willpower when it comes to doing things well. I now wake up at 5 in the morning and consciously plan my day, starting with exercise.  I am trying to get some meditation in there, too, but my mornings are cramped before work, so we’ll see.

Morning Exercise vs Evening Exercise

This is an actual picture I took jogging; I apparently live in Silent Hill

I used to try to exercise after work and let me tell you; “trying” to exercise after work looks a lot like “sitting down and playing video games while pizza rolls cook”.  I was always just too tired or too burnt out, even though exercise would have helped both of those things, it was easier to opt out.

Working out in the morning, however, is easy, even though it sucks when it’s cold. You’re super focused in the morning, once you’re alert. You have the most willpower you’re going to have right after you wake up, and exercise improves blood flow, boosts metabolism, and improves focus all day. I decided a long time ago that morning exercise was for me.

Still, distraction is always waiting in the weeds, so if you’re a slow starter like me, you may benefit from my own strategies for ensuring morning workouts happen.

Preventing Distracted Exercise

  1. Phone goes on charger, first thing.If I don’t do this, I’ll find a reason to putz around until I lose motivation or simply run out of time.
  2. No tv.I can pull out my iPod and have music queued up, but the act of turning on the tv, finding a show, and then trying to strike a balance between actual exercise and mindless consumption is difficult. For this reason, no tv.
  3. Equipment at the ready the night before.I don’t have ready access to a gym, so I have to work out at home. This means weights, bench, resistance bands are all out before bed. This way I can walk downstairs and work out immediately after starting the coffee pot. Same goes for cardio days; I have my running shoes and hoodie by the door, ready to go
  4. Water bottle and pre-workoutOk, so I say “pre-workout” but what I really mean is “cold coffee from yesterday” but I have it ready as well.
  5. Stop WatchI’m pretty awful at controlling my time usage during workouts when I’m not at the gym and have a limited frame with which to exercise in. Timing my rests, setting a midpoint for the workout to stay on task, and finally having a 5-minute cooldown warning are all indispensable to my training. I have the programmed on my phone as alarms, and I have a Garmin to track increments of rest.
  6. Fasted ExerciseI used to believe that working out without eating first wasted muscle. This isn’t true, and without going into painful detail, fasted exercise is a great way to burn fat and increase human growth hormone. (1) The nice thing about this is that it keeps you from having to throw together breakfast. It also helps with insulin sensitivity, so there you go, three good reasons to skip eating before exercise.

What Dad Did Last Week

I had intended to track everything I ate or drank last week, but I kept screwing it up, so that didn’t happen.

Good stuff: I exercised 3 times last week, and hit my step goal everyday though, so that makes happy. I stayed 90% keto.

Bad stuff: I want to exercise 5-6 times a week, which didn’t happen. I went over calories nearly every day (damn you peanut butter!). I didn’t stay 100% keto. I binged hard on Saturday.

The lessons I took away from last week were that plugging in my macros, even if it sucks, is absolutely key. If I enter what I am going to eat before I eat it, it’s a huge pain to go back and adjust. Drinking water and eating slower are both tried and true methods to ensure satiation before overeating, things I will be consciously practicing this week.

Stuff to do for week 3: Stick to the program I’ve outlined! If you care to follow the crap I’m doing for yourself, this is the plan I’ve created:

Monday: 
Dumbbell Bench 3×12 @ 40, 2×12 @ 50, superset with
One-arm Rows 3 x 10 @ 40, 2 x 8 @ 50

Dumbbell Bicep Curls 3 x 10 @ 40 superset with
Lying Tricep Extensions 3 x 12 @ 40

Dumbbell Shrugs 3 x 15 @ 50 superset with
Push-ups to failure x 3

Tuesday:
HIIT Cardio – Tabata Squats (20 seconds of squats, 10 seconds of rest, 4 minutes total)
20 minutes LISS Cardio, bike
Back-care pilates routine, 15 minutes

Wednesday:
Bodyweight Squats 3 x 20
Toe-touches 3 x 20

Goblet Squats 3 x 10 @ 40, 1 x 5 @ 50
Dumbbell Stiff-legged Deadlifts 3 x 10 @ 40, 2 x 10 @ 50

Bodyweight Lunges 3 x 10

Thursday:
30 minutes of Pilates or Yoga, alternating

Friday:
Circuit: Dumbbell Bench x 10
Rows x 8
Goblet Squat x 10
Stiff-legged DB Deadlifts x 10
Push-ups x 10 or failure
Bodyweight squats x 20
Hundreds
Prayer Press x 100
This circuit is done with as little rest as possible while maintaining good form, ideally 3 times.

Saturday:
MISS Cardio – bike
Back-care pilates routine, 15 minutes

Sunday:
Rest, long walk ( 2 miles)

Calories for week 1: Toogoddamnmanyugh
Exercise for week 1: Notgoddamnenoughughugh
Steps for week 1: 38,987 (my Garmin adjusts my goal as my steps increase)

I have a solid mindset and approach for this coming week, and should have less-embarrassing data on my next update.

(1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/exercising-empty-stomach-secret-weight-loss/

 

One Comment

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    I am a morning exerciser, too, Tony. Sometimes on my days off I will exercise in the afternoon but I always feel better if I do it in the morning. Like you I have done my workout on an empty stomach and I was shocked that I could do it and felt just fine! It stifled my hunger in fact. There is no way after a long work day that I have the discipline to exercise before I slump into a chair with a glass of wine. I might as well admit that about myself and move on!

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