You've tried to become one of those morning workout people, but when that dreaded alarm goes off, your body is all, 'No. Just no.' And by the time your mind remembers that you totally wouldn't haterunning a marathon or rocking a crazy pack of abs, you've already hit snooze four too many times to get to the gym for the intense morning sweat session that you penciled into your schedule the day before.
Jordan Metzl, M.D., a sports medicine physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery, gets how hard it is to wake up to work out. "It's a tough habit to get into," he says. That said: "I'm a huge believer in morning workouts because it starts your metabolic furnace and ensures you'll actually get that workout in," says Metzl (who's run 31 marathons and completed 11 Ironman triathlons).
So what's the solution? "Employing trickster strategies now can develop sustainable morning workout habits," he says. Basically, you've got to get clever and fake it until you make it. Here's how:
Dress for Success—the Night Before
Why waste time getting dressed in the morning if you don't have to? "If I'm going to get up to work out, I want to make sure that time is going to actually exercising," says Jen Ator, C.S.C.S., Women's Health's fitness director. She nixes up to 20 minutes off her morning routine by wearing her workout clothes to bed. Whether you tack that extra time onto your sweat session or your REM cycle, it's going to pay off majorly—and give you one less reason to pull the covers over your head.
Update Your Buddy System
We all know that nabbing a workout buddy keeps you accountable. Jenn Seracuse, director of FLEX Pilates at FLEX Studios NYC, totally agrees—but suggests that you take that tried-and-true accountability rule one step further: "Ask your trainer, instructor, or workout buddy to tweet at you," says Seracuse, who loves to tweet things like, "See your beautiful, sweaty face at 6 a.m.!" to her clients. Use this trick and you'll be held to your workout by the whole Internet. And you know you can't let down the Internet.
MORE: 3 Surprising Things That Can Mess With Your Morning Workout
Stash Mints in Your Nightstand
Brett Hoebel, founder of Hoebel Fitness and trainer on NBC’s Biggest Loser season 11, suggests grabbing a mint the second your alarm goes off. The sugar in the mint will excite and your brain, and the mint itself will liven up your tongue’s taste buds and nerve endings, says Hoebel. “You can completely fool your body into thinking food is coming,” he says. The gist: You’ll get rid of morning breath and wake up your mind and body for a sweat session.
Tell Your Alarm You Need Some Space
It's not your alarm, it's you. And distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? "Turn up the volume and put (your alarm) way across the room," says Metzl. That way you'll have to get out of bed to turn it off. "It's not a new idea, but it's really helpful," he says. And when it comes to this trick, Ator is an expert. "Successfully getting up early in the morning to work out is all about removing as many obstacles and excuses as possible," she says. So at night, she sets her alarm and then puts her running shoes close to the door with her phone resting across the laces. "Even if I'm exhausted and dragging my feet, it always gets me out of the door," says Ator. Another genius move: "Setting your alarm to an unpleasant ring works wonders,” says Hoebel. “My friends always comment that I have the most obnoxious alarm, but it works."
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Seracuse actually recommends hitting your old friend, snooze—but instead of then drifting back to sleep, she says to lay still with your eyes closed and your mind in mental preparation mode. Mallory Weggemann, a Paralympic Gold Medalist and world record-holding swimmer, employs the same trick: "I give myself a five- to 10-minute pep talk," she says, "like, 'OK, you can do this,' or, 'Get you butt out of bed.' It depends on my mood!" Essentially, you have to convince yourself that you're pumped for your workout—even if you're 100 percent lying.