"My mother always said, you always have time for the first thing you do each day."'
It was one of those conversations that happened organically -- I was wrapped in a towel, doing the awkward dance of trying to pull things out of my gym bag while not drip all over my work clothes, while trying to not expose my nakedness to the entire room. (Locker rooms are awkward -- I'll never be one of those women as comfortable with nudity in a locker room full of strangers as I am in my own house). I was determined today to get my workout done and get to work on time, looking and feeling as put together as possible.
Anyway, I was thinking to myself how annoying the "schlep factor" of working out at the gym is (pack the heavy bag, find a parking spot, drag it into the gym, get changed, go through your motions, shower, dry hair, dress, etc). It is A LOT more work than a simple walk or run out of my front door. Requires planning, packing, etc. Just as these thoughts were running through my head, she SAID them "ugh, it's just so much STUFF to do... makes the workout feel like the easiest part."
This woman was probably my mother's age -- when I heard what she said, my head snapped up, "I was just THINKING those exact thoughts", I exclaimed! And then a few moments later, I quietly offered, "but at least now it’s done for the day - I don't usually have the energy for this after work."
She laughed, “I think MOST people don’t have the energy for this after work… but like my mother always said, “you always have time for the first thing you do each day.”
I’ve always known that I love morning workouts – particularly when they originate from and culminate at my front door – and this is exactly the reason why, but I’ve certainly never been able to articulate it that eloquently. Our casual locker room talk went on to include such topics as the Mayo Clinic, weight loss, careers… but that thought stuck with me and I couldn’t wait to sit down and write about it.
First thing in the morning, there are no excuses. I might be tired, but I certainly can’t say, “I don’t have time.”
First thing in the morning, the exhaustion only lasts a minute. It might be hard to get going, but once I’m going, I have more energy than I’ll have all day.
First thing in the morning, there is still a lot of POSSIBILITY left in the day. Getting my workout done FIRST means that the rest of the day is wide open – a walk with the girls? Yes! A quick happy hour with co-workers? Don’t mind if I do! A late dinner with my guy? How could I say no to THAT?
Prioritizing exercise first thing in the morning means that at 3 PM, if I’m not hungry, I don’t have to force an afternoon snack just so that it is digested in time for my 5:15 workout, lest I be starving by 5:16. It means that when the day of meetings and work and other life obligations has gotten too overwhelming, I can just go home to my cozy house and slipper socks. It means that instead of thinking about all the things I need to get done (yard work, laundry, groceries, cleaning), I can actually DO those things at night, and not feel like my day has been one continuous start-to-finish series of scheduled minutes.
It means I can relax.
Of course, it’s easy to talk myself into popping out of bed at 6 AM right now – its glorious SPRING in Minneapolis – the sun is already up when I wake (I don’t even need to set an alarm, actually), and it is my absolute favorite kind of weather – crisp and sunny in the mornings, warming to high 60s by mid-day, and sun and blue sky as far as the eyes can see. A far cry from the long days of February, when it starts getting dark at 3 PM and stays that way until 7:30 in the morning – paired with the cold temps, ice and snow of a Minneapolis winter, it’s a wonder I leave the house at all – and sometimes, getting out of bed feels like work.
But not these days – filled with productive work, physical activity, healthy food, and early bedtimes… it’s a cycle that easily repeats itself day after day.
As long as I exercise. First thing in the day. Today’s 40 minutes of lap-swimming made me feel relaxed and thoughtful – exactly how I’d like to spend every day.
The best thing about this idea is that no matter whether you're a morning person or a night owl, it holds truth: if you do the most important things first, you'll always have time.
Off and running,