5 Tips To Make Working Out In The Morning Easier

Morning workouts are rougher mentally than anything. Half the struggle is about getting yourself out of the bed and into the gym. Once you’ve done that, the rest is easy. Well, easier. There’s no way of making this process enjoyable—I myself have been there done that and hit the snooze button one too many times. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to make yourself into a morning gym rat, you kinda just have to suck it up and do it. That being said, there are some tricks to make that a little easier if you don’t naturally wake up with the energy to run three miles. Here are some tips to make it easier to get out of bed and hit the gym.

Let The Lights In

Sleep with the curtains open, and this way you’ll let in natural light either to gently wake you up or the sunlight will greet you when you get back from your workout. Either way, blackout curtains are not our friends right now. Save those for a weekend when you’re recovering from a nasty hangover and want to stay in all day.

Set An Enjoyable Alarm

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If you need me, don’t ?‍♀️✋ . . . . . #morningworkout #kyliejenner #workmemes #leavemealone #moodswings #kardashianmemes #dontatme #earlymorningworkout

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Nothing raises my blood pressure more than iPhone default alarms. They sound like sirens. Even the other day, I came across someone who has set that sound AS THEIR RINGTONE. A serial killer, I’m sure. Once I heard it, my heart started racing. I have mild PTSD, I think. So, will that infernal sound get you up? Yes, because it will JOLT you out of bed, but that doesn’t set a good tone for the wake-up. Set an alarm that is a little more gentle on the ears, so you can wake up peacefully and in a good mood.

Set Your Gym Clothes Out Ahead Of Time

The less you have to think about at 6am, or whenever you get up, the better. So set out your clothes ahead of time, and this way you can just get up and go. It also helps if you have cute workout clothes to look forward to putting on, if any of you need another reason to go shopping. If you take pre-workout, get that ready too so you’re not fumbling around in the kitchen while your roommates are still asleep.

Plan Your Workout Routine The Night Before

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Is that so much to ask?? This week on @dietstartstomorrow we chat with yoga teacher, body positivity advocate, and author @mynameisjessamyn about how to start yoga even if you think you suck at it, and how to deal with "spiritually ashy" aka negative people. Listen now at link in bio.

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When I first wake up, I don’t have the brain power yet to plan an effective workout routine, so I end up improvising. Efficient program planning requires time and strategy, and it’s something I don’t really want to mess with in the morning. If you’re not working with a trainer, plan your routine the night before. You’re already waking up at 6am for this sh*t, so let’s at least make it effective.

Warm Up

When you first wake up, your body is cool from little movement and lowered body temperature while you’re in sleep mode. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes to avoid injuries and also help your mind and body transition into a workout mindset.

I am not a morning person. I’ve learned to accept that about myself, so waking up early to work out is not my favorite thing to do in the world. It will always be a pain in my ass to roll out of bed. It’s sad, but the harsh truth is sometimes you just have to deal with it, the same way you deal with that asshole boss every day or put up with your mother-in-law every Thanksgiving. It gets easier the more you do it, so just know that you’re really developing a healthy habit, and honestly, you’re going to feel so much better for it. That extra hour of half-sleep (let’s face it, you’re not getting quality sleep after the alarm goes off) won’t do as much for you as a workout will. And if you really can’t get up no matter how hard you try, as long as you’re getting in a workout at some point during the day, I can’t be mad at it.

Images: Kendal James / Unsplash; girlsonclasspass, Betches / Instagram; Giphy

Science Says Our Phones Might Be Making Us Gain Weight

In today’s episode of “Bad News to Our Waistlines”, science has just found that our cellphones could be making us gain weight. To get specific, it’s the type of light being emitted from our cellphone screens that’s at fault and not our dependence on Postmates and GrubHub at 3am—although I suspect that could play a role.

This scientific study from the University of Strasbourg and the University of Amsterdam was presented earlier this month at a conference in the Netherlands. The study was based on the premise that blue light from LED screens found on our phones, laptops, and tablets have an impact on the areas of the brain that regulate appetite. The retinal sensitivity to these kinds of lights causes our bodies to send a message to our brain telling us to consume more sugar.

The study specifically looked at the effects of blue light exposure on diurnal rats (that are awake during the day and asleep at night, like humans—as opposed to regular rats, who are nocturnal). The rats were exposed to the blue light at night for one hour. The day after exposure, the rats were given options to choose between rodent food (standard, nutritionally balanced), water, lard, and sugar water. After the nights with exposure to blue light, the rats consumed more sugar compared to nights with no exposure. The light also seemed to alter their glucose tolerance.

There are a few things to consider. Because the rats were all males, the scientific study does not show if the outcome would be the same on female rats. The rats were also only tested on for one night, so we have a very short time period to work with. If these effects were repeated, then over time, the rats would experience weight gain and develop diabetes with exposure to blue light. Still, even given the limited scope of the results, the authors of the study recommend limiting the time spent in front of screens at night, using night mode on devices, and/or using blue light filtering goggles to lessen the impact of LED lights on our appetite.

Now while this study was conducted on rats, I do think the results send a message of the impact electronic devices have on our human bodies. The recommendation of limiting screen time and using blue light filtering apps and goggles make a lot of sense, not only in terms of appetite control, but also because previous studies have shown blue light impacts quality of sleep. There are more studies on the internet on blue light’s effects on sleep, so I did further research. I was able to discover that the shorter wavelengths in LED light affect our bodies’ ability to produce melatonin, which is the sleepy hormone. To connect the dots further, melatonin also directly effects weight gain/losses, in that it helps your body regulate leptin and adiponectin hormones. These two hormones regulate your appetite. So while the original study suggests that the appetite change is due to blue light affecting the appetite-regulating part of our brain, it could be possible that the blue light is also disrupting our bodies’ ability to create essential hormones.

Our parents and grandparents used to read a book (real, not electronic) before bed, whereas nowadays we’re scrolling through IG until we’re close to passing out. Turns out, they were on to something. Personally, I’m terrible at staying off the phone immediately before bed and immediately upon waking up. I am constantly laying down, reaching for my phone, which evidently is not the healthiest habit. With all this research on the negative impacts blue light has on our health, I will definitely be making a conscious effort to step back from the phone. Will you be lessening screen time with me? Sound off below, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Is It Better To Work Out In The Morning Or At Night?

So much of fitness is divided into teams. We have Team Yoga vs. Team Bootcamp, Team Gyms vs. Team Outdoor, Team Workout Solo vs. Team Workout Class. Now, we have Team Early Risers vs. Team Night Owls. Some people will work out early in the morning, while others find they put their best effort in later in the day or even late at night. Today, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of working out in the morning and at night that I have found in science and from personal experience. As always, I’ll let you decide what is best for your routine.

Team Early Riser

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yeah that’s how that works | @sarcasm_only

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There was a time where I would wake up at 4:45am for a 5am workout. That was because I would have to leave the house by 7am to drop my dog off at daycare then head to an 8:30am class at school, go train morning clients, come back to school for a 3pm class, go train afternoon clients, then come back to school again for lab at 7pm. I would then pick up my dog at 9:30pm from daycare, then get home around 10:30pm. This schedule, or different but equally long variants of it, comprised my entire work week. Talk about a schedule from HELL. The only reason I did 5am workouts was because I had no other choice. I applaud people who do this voluntarily, truly. And it seems like they might be onto something.

Studies have shown that those who exercise early in the morning make better food choices throughout the day by lowering neural response to food, and another study shows that exercise during a fasted state results in improved muscular adaptations. I will say, though, that if you’re not used to working out while in a fasted state, you will not feel as strong as you normally do when you’re adjusting to this new routine. Be careful of feeling dizzy or nauseous, and take it a little lighter for the first few early morning sessions. You might feel extra tired, even though you’re doing less work.

For me, the first couple of weeks, waking up seemed impossible, but over time, I adjusted. It felt great to get it out of the way and not have to worry about cramming it in somehow. As a trainer, I also worked better when I knew I had already done my work. From personal experience, my most committed and consistent clients were the ones who exercised earlier in the day as opposed to my afternoon or evening clients. They were the rockstars. When you think about it, it makes sense—you’re working out before anyone has a chance to throw your day off track, so whatever happens, at least you got that workout in.

Morning workouts get points for easing up the rest of your day’s schedule and setting the right tone for the rest of your day. It may also help you get to your fitness goals faster by better utilizing fat stores in a fasted state, although there are contradicting studies, so the jury is still out on this.

Team Night Owl

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comment below which you’re doing tonight | @samanthamatt1

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I work out best, weight-lifting wise, in the afternoon or evening. Let me have some food in me, let me get some other work done for a bit, run some errands—or, in L.A., just be in the car long enough to build up some angst and anger—and I unwind at the gym.

Studies have shown that you’re naturally stronger and mentally more prepared for exercise later in the day, which could really help you in lifting heavier and longer or sprinting faster. Your body is actually more capable of increased endurance training during this time as well, so these benefits aren’t only limited to resistance training. I find this to be true in practice—I am able to really work during these afternoon workouts because my body is already up and ready to go. There’s no getting eye boogers out, no hitting the snooze button. Because of this, I am usually more sore after an evening all-out effort workout than morning sessions where I’m still tired, lifting too heavy makes me dizzy, and I’m wishing I was back in bed.

While I am an afternoon/evening exerciser nowadays (those 5am days are long gone—the earliest I’ll do is 7am when I first wake up), I will say the temptation to skip a workout in the afternoon or evening is greater. The day goes on and maybe things come up that leave you too drained to even imagine setting foot in a gym, or Netflix just ends up sounding like a wayyy better idea.

Evening workouts are great if you’re really looking for an extra oomph to put into your workouts. Your body (and let’s face it, mind and mood) are more prepared to really put the pedal to the medal a little later on in the day. It can also help you ease off a particularly stressful day at work.

Bottom Line

 

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honestly depends on if i’m sore or not | tw: @estodek

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Here’s the thing: the end of a workout feels like a relief no matter what time you’re done with it. Do what works for your schedule and choose whatever time makes exercise less of a chore for you. The end goal here is that you can stick to doing this for a long time. So whether that’s crossing exercise off the to-do list first thing in the morning, or giving yourself some time to ease yourself into the mindset, everyone has their preference. I will say if you’re more likely to dip on a workout, then just get it out of the way in the morning, but if you’re really looking to put in that work or let off some steam, then wait until your body is already fueled and warmed up from the day. Sometimes, you gotta just get it in where you can fit it in, honey, so you might be all over the board, and if that’s the case, give yourself a round of applause for not letting anything get in the way of you and your workout. All that matters is creating a routine that works for you, whether that’s morning, evening, or a mix of both.

Please note: If you’re training for something particular, such as a marathon, you should train the same time as that event. You want to keep your body’s routine the same and amplify that routine (optimize the body’s circadian rhythm), so don’t mix it up with training in the evening if your marathon is set to start at 8am. You want your body to be used to and basically, totally trained, at running at 8am.

I would love to hear what time of day you prefer to exercise and why. Sound off below!

Images: Unsplash; @dietstartstomorrow (3)/ Instagram

Everything You Should Know About Microblading & The Aftercare

I’ve written before about the wonders of microblading: the magic treatment behind so many celebs’ perfect, make up-less brows. While microblading is slowly becoming more common, the treatment is expensive enough—and permanent enough—that I assumed my microblading days were years away, if they existed at all. Perfectly sculpted brows first thing in the morning were a luxury for the rich and famous—I, who struggles to go a single day without spilling food on my shirt, was not worthy. Cut to: in an exchange I thought maybe I had dreamed, EverTrue Microblading Salon offered me a treatment with their head stylist. I (obviously) couldn’t accept fast enough, and two weeks later, I’m confident it’s the best beauty treatment I’ve ever gotten. Read on for details on the procedure, aftercare, and some dramatic before and after shots.

WARNING: Side effects of this procedure may include taking a disgusting amount of selfies, a small obsession with what other semi-permanent treatments could also improve your face, and a general spike in vanity. WORTH IT.

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High arch or straight brow? Life is full of choices! @fashionzine ? @jon.snip #beautifulbrows #microblading

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The Microblading Procedure

I got my brows done at EverTrue’s Flatiron salon, with their Master Therapist Michelle Wu. (Pictures of her work, and other brow specialists, are available on the salon’s Instagram.) Wherever you go, make sure that you look at samples of your stylist’s work beforehand, and even speak to past clients if possible. With semi-permanent makeup, there’s no such thing as being too careful. While I’d been daydreaming about this procedure for years, I found myself getting nervous the night before. What if I hated it? What if it hurt? Was I crazy for going through with this?

Luckily, both the salon (pictured above) and Michelle herself were incredibly soothing—and it didn’t hurt that everyone there, down to the receptionist, had flawless brows of their own. Before diving in to the procedure, Michelle did some tweezing, and we discussed brow shape and color. My brows, as you’ll see in a moment, have always been lighter and patchier than I’ve liked, which meant about 20 minutes spent with my Anastasia brow pencil every morning. They’re also lacking when it comes to having a defined shape, or noticeable arch, something that’s harder to fake with my particular makeup skills.

After listening to my concerns, Michelle drew in my brows with pencil, showing me exactly where every stroke would go, and what the end product would look like. The first time through, she gave me a very natural look, following the existing shape of my brows and just filling in. On a second draft, I asked her if she could give me more of an arch, even if that meant tweezing my brows further to fake it (it did). She drew it in, I fell in love, and she went off to mix up a pigment that would match my natural hair. Twenty minutes of numbing cream later—and 30-45 minutes of Michelle individually drawing in each “hair” with a tiny, pigment-carrying blade—I was all done. In less than 90 minutes, and with no pain other than a slight soreness toward the end, my brows were complete.

My brows, before and after:

Microblading Aftercare

Honestly, most of my night-before fears about microblading weren’t about the process itself; they were about the aftercare. Mostly, I blame this InStyle article, which led me to that my brows needed to be on full lockdown for a week following. No moisture (including sweat), no showering unless you wanted to tempt fate, and don’t you dare roll over in your sleep—unless you want to ruin your brows like this author’s unfortunate, side-sleeping co-worker did. Obviously, this writer had no malicious intent, but as someone who believes basically everything she reads on the internet, I was pretty f*cking stressed.

After carefully rattling off my concerns to Michelle, she gave me a few pieces of good news. Given improvements in the pigment they use, microbladed brows now only need to stay dry for 48 hours after the procedure—not a full week. And short of sleeping fully on my face, she was very skeptical that I would manage to mess up her work overnight. Phew! That being said, I had still just gotten eyebrows tattooed onto my face, and she was clear that certain aspects of aftercare were non-negotiable. For one week: apply a thin layer of healing balm (provided) twice daily, don’t get any product on your brows, and don’t apply direct pressure. This means when people see your brows and immediately try to touch them, you back the f*ck away. (Maybe no one in your life will do this. But all of my weirdo friends definitely did).

So yeah, my showering regimen definitely took a hit the following week (I could get them wet after 48 hours, but I was scared of stray body wash or shampoo getting in there). And I may or may not have yelled at my boyfriend every time he tried to kiss me, but every rose has its thorns and all that. It was a slightly annoying week with 3-5 heart attacks that I’d fatally messed up—but I never had, and my brows remained intact.

The Final Results

Finally, I didn’t realize how much your brows change in the weeks following the microblading procedure. For the first few days, they were much darker—now, two weeks later, they’re almost too light. This is all a normal part of the healing process, as your skin scabs, heals, and grows back, and as the pigment adjusts to your skin. Brows will reach their “final” color 4-6 weeks after the initial process, and just in time for a mandatory touch-up session, where your stylist can fill in any holes, go bigger if desired, and make adjustments to the shade.

I have to say, though, both at their darkest and their lightest in this healing process, my brows look the best they’ve ever looked. Even my sister, who is skeptical of all beauty treatments that take more than water to remove, was thoroughly impressed. And of all the slight modifications I’ve made to my appearance over the years—eyelash extensions, laser facials, coloring my hair—it’s made the biggest and best difference. Having thicker, filled-in brows gives me the exact boost I sought out with my minimal makeup routine: I look more put-together, and frankly, more natural than I did before.

Me, one week in and feeling myself:

Something about having these permanent (technically, one year to 18 months) brows makes me want to wear less makeup on the rest of my face, too (obviously, the above selfie notwithstanding). While I know these brows aren’t actually natural, I feel like they look like they could be—and appreciating a natural look goes a long way toward putting down the eyeliner and taking on the world with nothing more than my fancy new brows. It’s boosted my confidence, cut down my morning routine, and flooded my DMs with questions about the procedure. If you’re able to make a beauty investment right now, and you’re wondering what to go with, run, don’t walk, to EverTrue, or your nearest (reputable!) microblading salon.

Images: Alexandru Zdrobău / Unsplash; EverTrue Microblading Salon (2); @evertruesalon, @louisabhaus / Instagram