Getting up at 6am, to ensure I’m raring to go for my weekly gym sessions by 7am, can easily become part of your morning routine. Almost everyday if you want it to. And as with any other routinely performed task, like getting up and having a shower, making your morning coffee or driving to work for 9am, you do it without thinking. It’s not something you forget and it’s not something you ever question ‘why?’.

So why, if I was one of these ‘odd’ people who was able to get up before the sun and get my workout out of the way, was it something I was going to stop?

Well, for that reason exactly. I was doing it to get it out of the way. Because later in the day my motivation and willpower could dwindle. Because when work was over at 5:30pm, I might not feel up to it. So it was better to know it was done so I wouldn’t feel guilty for being lazy later on.

But when you drag yourself out of bed before the crack of dawn, when you drive yourself to the gym still half asleep and you put yourself through a workout without having the recommended X hours of sleep, what are you really achieving?

If I thought about it – not much. I’d often find myself aimlessly wandering from machine to machine, eyes fogged and brain fuzzy. I wasn’t able to push myself. I would pick up a weight I knew I could lift, run at a speed I knew I could manage… I was working out just to say I had.

People would applaud my self discipline, but I wasn’t applauding my effort. Because, without time to wake up, to eat a proper breakfast and collate my energy, there wasn’t any.

Even though it’s ridiculously busy in most gyms post-5pm, and it’s very likely you’re going to have to wait in line to even get a look in at the squat rack, for me, evening gym sessions  are now taking the front seat.

At 6pm I don’t feel as sleep deprived (READ: I still am some days). My body (and my mind) have had enough time to wake up and I know I’ll have the energy needed to get myself through what I want to do. It really was as simple as that.

So now, unless I really have to be up and in there by 7am, I’m not. I’ll have an extra hour in bed, I’ll sit and write or I’ll enjoy a slow walk to work. Because I’ve realised, that while my gym sessions are definitely something I enjoy, they’ve got to be something I give my all too.

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