Why I Work Out in the Morning

It’s been said that a day that ends well is one that started with exercise. I couldn’t agree more.

Exercising regularly is something I’ve struggled with for YEARS. To be fair, I’ve been out of the routine for many more years that I was in the habit of it.

I started running my junior year of high school, but then stopped running as much in college. Then I joined Air Force ROTC and had to go twice a week, but that still wasn’t much.

I exercised regularly for the first year in the Air Force, but that’s it. Since then, it has all gone downhill. Since my diet went downhill as well, it has lead to poor health.

But that’s changing now. I’m eating better and more strategically (implementing intermittent fasting.) I’m exercising in the mornings, and even went at 9pm the other night. Twice in one day!

I want to start pushing myself more. Pushing myself to fail. Pushing myself to pursue bigger things. Pushing myself to become more than I am right now.

That will come from a few things:

  • Building a network of all stars
  • Learning new skills
  • Focusing on the most important things

That’s it. The problem is I have SOOOO many things I want to do right now. It’s tough for me to focus on what matters most.

  • Do I practice interviewing for a job, or try to find freelance clients?
  • Do I go work out to exercise my body, or read to exercise my mind?
  • Do I spend my free mornings meeting people for coffee? Or researching jobs?

All of us struggle with this. There’s an opportunity cost to everything we do, so we just have to keep that in mind as we go through our days.

For example, if I take an hour to go work out, the cost I pay is not doing other things like learning new skills or practicing for a job interview. But if my health is my number one priority, that’s a price I’d gladly pay.

Another example is with what I do in the car. I can listen to an audiobook to hear a great story, learn a language from a podcast, or call someone I haven’t talked to in a while. All of these are good things, but the one I choose to do right now depends on my current goals.

I usually listen to audiobooks, but the sad thing is I don’t take enough action to implement what I learn. Peter Voogd says it’s much better to master a few books in a year than to read 50. I’m finally starting to realize how true and important that is.

Anyways, I feel like this post is going off on a tangent. But here’s the bottom line – I work out in the morning because it works well for me. 

It helps me feel good physically.

It helps me feel accomplished by 6am.

It helps me get more fit and lose weight.

It helps me meet new people.

It aligns with one of my most important goals right now to lose weight.

It’s something I can almost ALWAYS do. If I put this off until any other time of the day, there’s a very good chance I’d get interrupted regularly by something. That’s just how life goes with 2 young kids.

What time of the day works best for you? When do you work out?

All of the Knowledge in the World Won’t Help if You Don’t Do This

I just had a bit of a revelation.

I love learning new things. 

Sometimes it’s software. Right now I’m teaching myself how to use Tableau.

Sometimes it’s more academic- hence why I’m in my MBA program right now.

Sometimes it’s a principle that has helped people. My current Audible book is The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

Constant learning is something I love. It helps me feel like I’m growing as a person. And the more I grow, the more I become.

The problem is that I don’t have the greatest track record of putting what I learn into action.

For example, I first read The Four Hour Work Week over 5 years ago. Even though I’ve tried to incorporate some of its principles into my life, I can’t say that I do it regularly.

 

Another example is nutrition and fitness books. Over the years I’ve learned (and forgotten) more than most people ever learn. So am I in the best shape of my life? No way- even though I’m losing weight right now, I am still very overweight.

It’s said that knowledge is power. But we all know that the real power is applied knowledge. 

If I know eating gluten will cause leaky gut but I continue to stuff my face with bread, my knowledge isn’t helping me at all. In fact, it’s making things worse because I will kick myself later.

If I know I have the choice between a fun activity and working on a passive income stream but I choose the fun activity time after time, I’ll be mad at myself . I will know I cheated my future self, and even my family.

So yes- learning new things is great. But it’s not enough. I need to improve my ability to take action on my goals. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes at a time.

One way I’m going to do that is use the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. The basic premise is that if I have a thought of something I need to do, I immediately start counting down from 5 and then take action.

5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

Then I go.

The reason this is powerful is it doesn’t give me time to “feel” a certain way about the action. I’m not giving myself time for fear or anxiety to build up. I can’t talk myself out of it. I just do it.

Sometimes this may mean working on a blog post (like right now.)

Other times it will be working out or making a phone call or applying to a job. Whatever it is I feel like is the most important thing for me to do at that moment.

This is powerful for another reason though. It helps me build habits. And as I build a new habit, it becomes so strong that I won’t be able to skip it as time goes on.

For example, take writing. I’m not in the habit of sitting down to write everyday. The struggle with getting words on a blank canvas isn’t something I constantly face – even though I want it to be.

But the best way for me to overcome that is to make a habit. Sitting down to write everyday – even if it’s just 50 words. If I do this every day – especially at the same time – I will slowly build a new habit. Before I know it, I’ll have thousands and thousands of words published.

The same goes for working out. I don’t do it regularly. I’ll think about it, but then figure “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t feel like it right now.”

But what I’m learning right now is to use the 5 second rule to overcome that. Even if I only work out for 4 minutes, that’s a lot better than nothing! It builds a habit, it builds a stronger body, it builds momentum and it builds a bias towards action.

This is largely what the book Mini Habits by Stephen Guise is all about. Taking regular, tiny actions towards a goal will build a habit that becomes so strong it’s hard to not do it.

Stephen started by setting a goal of doing just 1 pushup a day. Sometimes that’s all he did, because he suddenly realized it was 11pm and he hadn’t done it. But usually he did a lot more.

There’s a lot of great information out there on habits, and I’m going to write more about them in the future as I get better about them.

Healthy eating, calling old friends, reaching out to influencers, applying for jobs, etc. These are all things I want to do better. Each one of these things can be life-changing if I let them.

But the key is applying the knowledge I’ve learned. Even if it takes some kind of little trick like the 5 second rule, the most important thing is to progress. As I progress and build momentum, I’ll become unstoppable.

All I have to do is improve myself 1% everyday. That’s what James Altucher recommends, and considering how successful the guy is I figure it’s good enough for me.