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Does anyone find it really, really difficult to get up early to exercise?

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  • Does anyone find it really, really difficult to get up early to exercise?

    I'm 17 and I've been Primal to varying degrees of strictness over the past few months. I still haven't nailed down the nutrition aspect of the lifestyle completely (still some sweets/dairy/quinoa/rice), so I suspect that that's the culprit, but I'd like to hear others' views first.

    I understand how important it is to cultivate good habits for college that will carry me through life, and one that my parents have always preached to me is to work out early in the morning, so that I can charge through work the rest of the day. My goal target wake up time is 5:50 or 6. I set an alarm. When morning comes around, I just press snooze automatically because I just feel so tired. Now, I suspect that something is wrong here because when I hear I about people who have had success with the Primal lifestyle, most of them talk about how they naturally wake up earlier.

    I generally sleep around midnight, and I don't really know how to condition myself to sleep at any time earlier, like 10 PM. But I really want to make a habit of sleeping earlier in order to wake up earlier, so I don't like a walking zombie who has prematurately accumulated her Freshman 15.

    So, my questions:

    1. Am I unable to get up because I haven't been strict on the nutrition aspect of things? Or is it really a matter of discipline that I'm lacking?
    2. Should I focus on still setting my alarm early to work out (I don't like to work out later in the day), or just getting my eating and sleeping habits in place?

    Thank you in advance for reading ramblings and bestowing your wisdom. I genuinely appreciate it!


  • #2
    No, you are not able to get up because you are a teenager that did not get enough sleep. Teenagers normally need more than the 7 hrs an adult can get by on. You might need closer to 9-10 hours of sleep. You will not be able to eat and train properly when you are underslept. Stop drinking coffee. Find a way to shut yourself down (turn off all the media, stretch and relax, take a cold shower or a hot bath) at 8 pm, and go to sleep by 9:30 pm. Then you will be able to get out of bed by 6 or so without the hardship.
    My Journal:
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


    • #3
      Thank you, Leida. I was just wondering how powering down by 8 or 9 could be sustainable in college, though...when I'm most likely sleeping at odd hours, or 11 at the earliest.


      • #4
        at the suggestion of a teenager going to sleep at 9.30 every night!! I agree with the idea of getting enough sleep in general though. Just get up later. I hate exercising early in the morning too, so I do it before lunch or in the afternoon/evening.


        • #5
          1. Unlikely (though it could be possible), more likely due to the fact of being a teenager. In teenger-adom your biological clock and circadian rhythm shift shift so that you feel tired, fall asleep late and wake later than adults do (ADOLESCENT SLEEP). As a side note sleep experts consider adolescents to be between the ages of 11 and 22.

          2.I'd say get sleeping habits sorted first (in terms of getting enough sleep and going to bed + getting up at regular times). Once you've got that down then maybe work on the getting up early (and therefore going to bed earlier so you get enough sleep), though you may find that your teenage brain conspires against you on that one .


          • #6
            Teen's sleep cycles change when they hit puberty, so many teens don't feel sleepy until 11pm or later. There are ways to re-set the cycle, do a Google search on "teenage sleep cycle research" and you'll find lots of info.

            I have to be at work at 5:30am, so I go to bed around 8:45 and get up a 4:00. This is not what my body wants to do (it's still dark at 5:30 even in the summer!) but I've gotten used to the schedule. What helps is not sleeping in on my days off... which isn't always easy!

            But even when I started work at a more reasonable hour, I never did have an easy time of working out in the morning. People, adults and teens, have different times of the day when they have the most energy. If I tried to work out shortly after I wake up, I'd end up hurting myself, or at least not being able to put my full efforts into my workout! I perform best right after I get off work (3:30pm).

            Have you tried working out later in the day, maybe after you get out of class for the day? Would your parents be agreeable to letting you experiment and see if that works better for you? Keep in mind that if you work out too close to when you want to go to sleep, it can keep you awake. Finish your workout at least two hours before bed and you shouldn't have any problems.

            And if you need to sway your parents to your side, you'll need to be sure that you actually DO your workout on the scheduled days at more-or-less the same time each day. It's best to have a regular schedule, anyway... and research also shows that you remember what you study the best if you do it shortly before you go to sleep. So work out after class, and study before bed!


            • #7
              Thank you, Leida. I was just wondering how powering down by 8 or 9 could be sustainable in college, though...when I'm most likely sleeping at odd hours, or 11 at the earliest.
              I did it when I was at the University. I went to classes, studied, enjoyed outdoors during the breaks, socialized with my friends from time to time particularly in the field schools, went to bed early and graduated with a 5.0 GPA. Sure, here and there we pulled all-nighters and chewed coffee grains, but on the whole, 16-15 hours a day of waking time was enough for a full and happy lifestyle at the Uni.

              Got a dream job. Got married. Did a second graduate degree. Had a baby. Got another dream job. Still go to bed at 8 pm, get up around 4 am to make sure everything is taken care of. Life's normally much easier for 'early to bed/early to rise'. Less traffic, less hassle, more productive.
              My Journal:
              When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


              • #8
                Wow, Leida, I admire you! That's what I really aspire to do.

                @ Goldie: I appreciate your input! But I find it much easier to work out in the morning because it sets the mood for the day, and puts things on a right note for me. When it's scheduled for the morning, working out is nonnegotiable. Whereas I can find many more excuses for myself if I save it for later. ;P Kudos to you if you can muster the energy!


                • #9
                  Erm, sorry, I did not mean to fish. Just sayin', it is possible. Goldie's advice is pretty sound!
                  My Journal:
                  When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


                  • #10
                    I've always been an early riser and morning person... for a few years I had a Starbucks job during college where I preferred to open the store, so was up by 4am.

                    I like going to the gym in the mornings, too, so I'll go to sleep pretty early (between 8-9 usually) so that I can wake up at 4:30 and be at the gym by 5. That way, when I'm done with work at 5pm, I can just go HOME!

                    Then again, I don't have to deal with homework anymore, and am sort of passing the time till Christmas as quickly as possible, so I don't mind going to bed super early But basically, echoing the others... it's easy to get up early when you get enough sleep. 11-5 is rough, and hard to drum up the motivation to get out of bed if you're not used to it.


                    • #11
                      I have worked out consistently for 20 years. I have worked out early morning under 5 times. It is basically impossible for me, and I don't even consider it a viable option.


                      • #12
                        Even when I was a "gym rat" (at least 1.5 hours at the gym daily, longer on the weekends, in addition to personal training for a year) I never worked out in the morning. I just can't. People say it energizes them and pumps them up for the day... while for me, I just want to nap. All of my time spent at the gym was after work during the week, or around noon on the weekends.

                        The only time I've ever gotten up early to exercise was when I was training for my half marathon with a running group who, as much as I hated it, would have weekly Saturday runs at 7am... in the winter... in snow/sleet/freezing rain... ugh. And you know what I would do when I got home? Shower and sleep for at least an hour.

                        To the OP: Have you read the PB? There is a chapter talking about Groks vs. Korgs and how the latter's matriarch struggles in the morning to work out. May be a good chapter for you to read.
                        >> Current Stats: 90% Primal / 143 lbs / ~25% BF
                        >> Goal (by 1 Jan 2014): 90% Primal / 135-ish pounds / 20-22% BF

                        >> Upcoming Fitness Feats: Tough Mudder, June 2013
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                        Weight does NOT equal health -- ditch the scale, don't be a slave to it!


                        • #13
                          Your biggest problem is probably that you just need more sleep at night. I remember how hard it is to get to bed early in high school/college, and I have always been one of those people who need alot of sleep. In college, I coped with it by taking a nap in the afternoon.

                          I have a hard time doing anything really early in the morning. I am at my best in the evening, so that's when I work out. There's no law that says you have to get up super-early to work out first thing - work with your body's natural rhythm.


                          • #14
                            I'm no teenager but I know i need 8 hrs of sleep daily to be at my best peak. I mostly disagree with working out first thing in the morning. I exercise when my schedule allows me to and when I have the best energy. I do prefer to do cardio first thing when i get up and that is never at 6 am.


                            • #15
                              I can't do mornings. Now maybe if my cortisol levels get fixed that would work better than it has at any time in living memory . . . but I just can't get up like that in the morning. The best time for me has been early afternoon or mid-morning. After work I'm too tired most days - I might do some strength or yoga or pilates - but I'm not going to do sprints, a long walk or a short jog.

                              Fortunately I walk to work nearly every day - so I'm walking 1.2 miles almost every day and more on weekends.

                              I'd like to be more disciplined about working out before or after work though. And it has been easier for me when I am being stricter paleo than not. I'm quickly learning (or maybe slowly? anyway, I'm learning) that grains just wipe me out!

                              I do agree with what other have said about sleep being important though. I'd never sacrifice a good night's sleep to work out. But when I'm eating what I should I wake more easily and can still get a good night's sleep and a short workout before work. Or have enough energy to do one after work instead or in addition.

                              Sleep is just the higher priority though - esp. for a worry wart prone to high cortisol like me.
                              Last edited by OutdoorAmy; 08-25-2012, 10:35 AM.
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