Before I reached my Feel Great Weight, breaking a sweat wasn't a priority for me. But I quickly realized that regular exercise came with one big perk: Burning all those extra calories meant I could have a small splurge once a day. It was much easier to rationalize a glass of wine with dinner if I had started my day with a workout. I've mentioned how I hate dieting, so this was huge for me.

The problem, though, was that I could never get my butt out of bed. But I also had a hard time cramming in my workout at night. I wanted to exercise and lose weight, but I didn't want to give up the things that were important to me—like spending time with my husband, entertaining, and relaxing.

I realized that I needed to become a morning exerciser, which is no easy task! The first few mornings of waking up early were really hard, but the more I forced myself to do it, the easier it became. Even now it's not always that pleasant—especially when it's cold and dark outside in the winter—but seeing results on the scale is a big motivator, so I've stuck with it. Here's what helps me break a sweat before sunrise.


(Getty Images)

Mentally prepare. When I am getting ready for bed the night before, I tell myself that skipping the gym is not an option. I remind myself that hitting snooze on my alarm clock cuts into valuable exercise time, which pushes me to get out of bed the instant it goes off.

Start on Monday. For me, weekends are all about sleeping in, so I start Monday morning with a bright and early workout. A quality sweat session starts my week off on the right foot and gives me momentum for the rest of my morning workouts.

Buy a lamp. My bedside lamp is my go-to tool for getting out of bed. As soon as I shut off my alarm clock, I immediately turn on my bedside lamp, which is a short distance from my pillow. Even just a little light gets me moving.

Bribe yourself out of bed. On the mornings that I really struggle to get out of bed, I bribe myself with thoughts of my favorite things. For instance, a pre-workout snack, a cup of coffee, reading emails, watching TV, or doing a few minutes of gentle yoga get me ready for a workout.

Focus on how it feels. When I am lying in bed debating whether to get up or not, I remind myself how accomplished I feel after a workout. I also remind myself how it feels when I skip a workout. I’m not sure which thought ultimately gets me out of bed, but I never regret a morning workout!

What are your tricks for getting out of bed—and onto the treadmill—in the morning?

Read Tina's daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.