THE BLOG

How I Became a Morning Person

04/02/2014 01:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2014

I've never been a "morning person." If I needed to be anywhere besides the airport prior to 8 a.m., chances are I was going to be late. I didn't like making breakfast unless it was Sunday, and 9 a.m. meetings were the bane of my existence. Still, I desired to take better care of myself physically, and in my case that not only meant eating better, but exercising six days a week.

When I was on my "fitness kick" last year, it really didn't matter what time of day I worked out. Sometimes I'd get to L.A. Fitness within an hour of closing. I never made that 8:20 a.m. Zumba class, though. However, my life got significantly busier this year, and when it was time to start hitting the gym again I was just too stinking tired to do it in the evenings. All I wanted to do was fix dinner as quickly as possible, watch TV and go to sleep. One day, out of nowhere, I decided that I was going to get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym. All of the "hardcore" fitness people I knew did that, and if I thought about it, I realized that my body would wake up at that time anyway. But instead of getting up, I'd just stay in the bed and fall back to sleep until about 7 a.m. and then feel sluggish. It felt like a bad decision as I was about to do it, but set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and went to sleep.

I woke up moments before the alarm sounded, and as soon as it did I forced myself out of the bed -- no time to rest, reflect, or snooze... I just got up, put on my gear, brushed my teeth and left.

After my workout, I made a protein smoothie and began getting ready for the day. I even left for work at a time that would actually land me there before 9 a.m. When I got to the office, I had coffee, then green tea, then a small snack before lunch. I fully expected to crash after lunch, but I didn't. I drank water and powered through the rest of the day, with another small snack at 3 p.m. I just knew I'd be drowsy on the 45 minute commute home -- nope. I came home, cooked dinner, ate and watched TV with the kids, but I did start feeling sleepy at 9:30 p.m. I struggled to stay awake until 10, and as soon as the clock turned, I laid down to repeat the cycle.

And guess what? It's working. I'm not the night owl that I used to be, but I'm able to prioritize my day better by adding more hours on the front end, rather than the back end. Working out in the morning helped me wake up and feel less sluggish when it was time to shower and prepare for the day. Few things will wake you up better than mountain climbers or 7 mph sprints at 6 a.m. By fueling my body with protein early in the morning, I had the vitamins to take on the day, and I didn't fill up on fats, sugars, and carbs to make me sleepy during the day.

So, it seems like the secret to becoming a morning person is the same secret to having a hot body... diet, exercise, and proper rest.