So you’ve decided to workout in the mornings. Good on you. Not only will you get all the proven benefits of rising and getting the blood pumping early, you’ll also have a cool new thing to lord over people. Nothing boosts the ego like a casual “while I was at the gym this morning… ”
There’s only one problem. While you want everyone and their neighbour to know that you’re #SuperHealthy and go to the gym while they’re hitting “snooze” for the seventh time, you also don’t want to look like it. Because, let’s face it, when you’re done your workout, you might feel great, but you look like a sweaty hot mess. And you’re STARVING.
Don’t let that discourage you from hitting the gym in the AM. We’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to get the workout you want, then turn it all around and look (and feel) like the classy professional you are.
Get the right gear
Sweat-wicking athletic wear and a cooling towel are your new best gym buddies because the thing that’s really going to make or break you at the end of your workout is how sweaty you are. If you can finish your workout as dry as possible, you’re in a much better position to freshen up and get yourself looking like a million bucks.
You’re also going to want a gym bag that holds everything you need without betraying the fact that it’s full of sweaty, stinky workout clothes. Bags that have “Adidas” emblazoned on the side might have been all the rage ten years ago, but in 2018, we’re all about the more professional gym backpacks or totes. Checkout bags like these, these or these for an easy gym to office transition.
Make your own travel kit
If you’re getting up early to hit the gym before work, you could end up spending upwards of 12 hours out of the house at a time. Not only is that an entire half a day, you’re also planning on getting ready and possibly showering in that time. Rather than lug all your products in their normal-sized bottles to the gym with you, take a bit of extra time and set yourself up with a little homemade travel kit. Filling your own mini plastic bottles is cheaper than buying travel versions of soaps and sprays and it also means you aren’t limited to the products and brands that are offered in mini form. We know filling little bottles can be a total pain, but it’s worth it.
Preparation is the key to success
Prep everything the night before. And by “everything” we mean everything. Pack your bag with all the work items, gym clothes, work clothes, shoes, bathroom supplies, makeup and anything else you’ll need except for refrigerated food. Have all your meals for the day ready to either take with you or quickly prep in the morning — yes, this includes breakfast (meals like overnight oats and pre-made smoothies are a morning gym-goer’s go-to).
Food is particularly important for having a successful post-gym day. Since you’re working out in the morning, you’re burning calories early which means you might need to eat a little more throughout the day to not feel tired, hungry and irritable. Take that into consideration and make sure to pack yourself some healthy and filling snacks that contain a good amount of protein. Your body (and any coworkers who know how hangry you get) will thank you.
Put together a killer morning playlist
A common tip for getting into a good morning routine is to create a timed playlist so you know how long you have to get ready. The same applies if you’re going to the gym early. Make yourself timed playlists for all the stages of your morning to get you in the right mood and give you an idea of how much time you have. That means playlists for before you leave the house, while you’re working out and while you’re getting ready. Might we suggest waking up to “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King? That’s a stellar way to start your morning.
Start with cardio
Once you’re at the gym, you want to get a good workout but keep in mind that you only have a short amount of time before you have to be office-ready. In order to make your post-workout cleanup a little easier, do your cardio first thing when you get to the gym so you can get the sweatiest part over with at the beginning. If you save cardio for last, you’ll still be sweaty and panting when it’s makeup time and that’s not going to go well.
Do a cool-down
For the same reasons you should start with cardio, budget in time for yourself to do a quick cool-down. This is a good way to return your breathing back to normal, dry off some of that sweat and relieve muscle tension. The last one is more about your health than getting ready for work, but hey, it’s good for you.
Splash water on your face. Yes, like a Dove commercial.
It may sound stupid, but once you’re done sweating it out, splash some nice cold water on your face. Not only will you feel like a fresh-faced skincare model, it will cool you down and give you a little reset. Especially if you’re opting out of a shower, a quick hit of cold water can go a long way towards making you feel fresh.
dry shampoo, dry shampoo, dry shampoo
If you’re one of those insanely lucky people who can wash and wear their hair in the morning, good on you. For the rest of us who aren’t gods, there’s dry shampoo. Hair looking greasy after your workout? Dry shampoo. Hair looking flat from being slicked back in a pony? Dry shampoo. Got that nasty wet feeling at the base of your neck? Dry shampoo. Seriously.
If you’re still wary of dry shampoo because it’s historically left gross powdery residue all over your scalp, we would encourage you to try it again. Dry shampoo has come a long way in the past few years and there are some good brands like Dove and OGX that make shampoos that don’t leave you looking like someone just doused you in baby powder.
Wet wipes are just as good as a shower
Real talk. Some gyms don’t have showers or, let’s face it, you just don’t have the time or energy to do the whole shower-shoes-bathrobe thing. We’re not judging (in fact, we might be in the “showering after the gym is overrated” camp). In lieu of a full-on shower, a large package of baby wipes is usually under $5 and can work wonders at freshening you up. Yes, seriously. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
Have a go-to 5-minute and 10-minute makeup look
Let’s be honest, even with the best preparation and motivation, there are going to be days you get out of bed a little later than usual, go over on your workout time, or are just plain moving more slowly than you should. That’s totally okay, but it means you need a contingency plan if you’re strapped for time right before you need to be at work. This is where being able to prioritize your makeup routine comes in handy. If you only have five minutes, maybe you only do concealer, mascara and lipstick. If you’ve got ten, maybe you tackle foundation, blush and eye shadow but skip the eyeliner and contouring. Or maybe your number one focus is getting your eyebrows just right and nothing else matters. Do whatever works for you, but just make sure you know your priorities before you’re down to the wire.
Look at you go! With a morning that busy, you might need a little incentive to get yourself that extra mile (or even out of bed to begin with). While we wouldn’t recommend choosing a donut, pick something to reward yourself with once you get to the office to make the whole morning worth it. That can be a cup of coffee, a little post-gym snack or something else you enjoy. Just don’t let it be something that renders your whole workout irrelevant.
Now go out and seize the day!