I set out on a week challenge to become a morning person. And by definition, for me that meant using the time “before the world is up” to go for a run, hit the gym or even take my time to take care of life’s mundane things like paying bills and cleaning the bathroom. Pesky chores, I say. Why am I taking on this challenge? Because after a long day at the office, the last thing I feel like doing when I get home around 5:30 p.m. is working out, cramming in enough time to do big girl things, spending time with my boyfriend and family, and prepping a meal that doesn’t suck for my body. Getting my workout done before anyone is functioning is a huge win. I want to wake up and get it out of the way before daily alerts start to bother me.

Day 1: Pure barre. I hated getting up at 6 a.m. to get to class by 7 a.m. But it was oh-so worth it not to have to pay for the street parking and still have time to get ready before heading into the office. Also, it was my birthday. Self-focus, for the win.

Day 2: Body attack fitness class. Sometimes getting up in the morning needs a deadline. And Tuesday my body needed me to have something scheduled, something waiting for me, something to wake up for. Body attack group fitness class to the rescue! I was a class newbie. It was some intense cardio — and I actually remembered to wear my heart monitor to track my calories and my heart rate. Even though some of the moves were silly, they did make me smile — which is hard to do at that hour.

Day 3: Woof. So I hit snooze once today. Which you know isn’t that bad considering my previous record — five times. Since I was a littttle late waking up, I decided to explore my neighborhood at 6 a.m. sharp and more or less got lost admiring all the old-turned-new homes that are probably well over $1 million. Ohh, ahhh — it was like I was on an episode of “House Hunters,” the runner edition. Can that be a show? HGTV, call me. My energy stayed high throughout the day with little to no coffee. I set a deadline to be in bed under the covers by 9:30 p.m. And asleep at least by 10 p.m.

Day 4: Run. Welp, my bedtime deadline was not really a thing last night. I blame the latest episode of [insert raunchy reality TV show here]. Since I had to review a pair of running shoes, it only made sense that I get my exercise over and done with — not just so I could write the review on time, but also before the sun scalded me with its hot (and humid) rays. I honestly think this was the only reason I even got up early to begin with. Nothing says motivation like a work deadline requiring you to be active at the wee hours of the day.

Day 5: Strength training. Not sure I’ll be doing strength training in the morning again. I felt really awesome when I woke up today, but thennnnn when I started doing my deadlift reps, I got a surging headache. Lack of fluids in my system = dehydration = brain pulses. No bueno. If I do decide to get my strength training done in the a.m., I’ll have to plan it ahead of time so that I can eat and hydrate appropriately the day before. Hydration is something I’ve always struggled with, but that’s a different post for a different time.

Day 6: Workout video. I was a bit short on time this morning, so I opted for a workout video that I know only takes 35 minutes. Plus, I like some variety — in case you couldn’t tell already. Nothing says gooood morning more than a little Shaun T. throwing “insane” cardio at you in your living room. Best thing? I literally got my sweat on clad in nothing but my booty shorts, sports bra and socks. I also had such a surge of energy that lasted me almost ’til lunch time. YAY!

Day 7: Relax and revive. This is SUPER IMPORTANT (so important, I put it in all caps). I have to take time to let my muscles recover from the brutally awesome things I put it through — you should too. But this also doesn’t mean I got to skip a workout entirely. I woke up and did a few brisk walking laps around my apartment building to get my muscles warm. Then, I took it inside where I foam rolled my little sore heart out — ah, it hurts so gooood. I did some core work and this two-minute workout Laura showed me, followed by some good ol’ stretching-it-all-out yoga poses. Down dog and pigeon, anyone?

What I learned. I actually held myself accountable! I mean, it might have been for the sake of doing this posting. But I hope my experience inspired some of you to grab the morning by the horns running shoes! I aim to keep up with this routine for as long as the weather allows. But I do realize that as fall makes a comeback with its low-light mornings and winter starts biting at my nose, it’ll be time to come up with another morning routine that gets me out of hibernating under my down comforter.

By Nichols