Call Me Crazy :: Why (and HOW) this Night Owl Mom Goes to the Gym at 4:00 AM

If you had told me that I’d be going to the gym at 4:00 am every morning, and I LIKED it, I would have called you crazy.

I am a night owl. Always have been. Waking up early was NEVER something I was good at–my parents have plenty of endearing stories to share about how difficult it was getting me up and out of the house for school. My husband calls me tornado Jaime in the morning because I wait until the *very* last minute to get out of bed, rush around the house getting ready, and dash out the door.

I used to go to the gym in the evenings. I would get dinner on the table, run to the gym, then get home with enough time to take care of the evening shift with my son before going to bed. I didn’t love it, but it’s what worked.

Fast forward to Covid when all the gyms shut down. I canceled my gym membership and started working out with my husband in the garage. Until he went back to going to the gym in the mornings, and I was left to do my own thing in the evenings. I decided I preferred my evenings spent at home, unwinding, and not rushing around trying to squeeze dinner, gym, and quality family time in the few hours I had before going to bed.  The only problem is, that I have zero motivation to work out at home by myself. I know there are at-home workouts, and that works for some people, but it does not work for me.

At the end of the summer, I decided I needed to get my butt back into the gym. I threw out the idea of going to the gym with my husband. For context, he is the bright-and-early one-alarm to my late-night seven-alarms-in-a-row. He grew up with early-morning swim practices and, once he joined the army, he had physical training first thing every morning. Those habits have stuck with him, and I’ve always been so impressed with his ability to wake right up and hit the gym before the sun comes out.

Here’s WHY I go to the gym first thing in the morning:

  1. It gets it out of the way. I know I’m not going to be motivated when I get home in the evenings, and it’s one less thing for me to do.
  2. Speaking of things to do…it starts my day with knocking a pretty important thing off my to-do list. I already feel accomplished before I even head to work.
  3. I have more energy. Seriously, I do. I think a large part is because I’m doing more weight exercises and not hardcore cardio.
  4. My mornings are less rushed. I thought I would feel stressed by going to the gym in the morning. Getting out of the house was already hectic–how would going to the gym before going to work make things better? Well, it turns out getting up earlier makes things LESS hectic.

More importantly, HOW in the world do I manage to do this?

  1. My kid is old enough to stay home while my husband and I go to the gym together. If that couldn’t happen, one of us would have to stay home.
  2. I wash my hair at night and sleep in my gym clothes. That way, I only have to roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and put on my tennis shoes. Dry shampoo and a quick shower are enough to get me freshened up before work.
  3. I plan out my outfits for the week. Every Sunday, I go through my closet and pull aside 5 outfits for the week. I have spent so many mornings staring at my clothes not sure what I want to wear. This saves a ton of time. If I’m feeling extra motivated on Sunday, I’ll even steam my outfits ahead of time.
  4. I make my breakfast ahead of time. Overnight oats are my current obsession. I have a stack of them in the fridge ready to go, so all I have to do is grab and eat. Zero time spent getting my breakfast ready.
  5. I assemble my lunch and make a coffee once I get to work. For lunch, I’ll throw in a container of salad, chopped veggies, lunch meat, and tortillas in my work fridge so I can assemble a healthy wrap. It takes less time to do this than actually putting my lunch together at home. Have I mentioned I’m a teacher and only get a 25-minute lunch? Trust me, this takes no time. Making my cup of coffee at work saves time in the morning, too.
Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


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