How To Master the Early Morning Workout!

Fitness, Nutrition

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

I’ve always enjoyed working out.  For some reason, going to the gym has always been my jam.  Maybe it’s the fact that I was never coordinated enough to rock out the team sports (example: the only point I ever scored in basketball was on my own net, sorry again about that girls). And of course, working out in a gym has always been easy and convenient, completely on my own terms and schedule.  Until I had kids.


Seriously, when is there time to fit in the gym with a couple of little ones pulling at your shirt with endless needs at every waking hour?


The reality is that I am a different person when I exercise.  I’m happier, more energetic, sleep better, eat better, am much calmer and less stressed, and am a better mom and wife by a landslide.  Knowing this, I tried so hard to fit in afternoon workouts for about a year at which point I realized that I was totally kidding myself.  I confess, I only was able to fit it in about 1 time a week, which absolutely didn’t cut it.  Back to the drawing board.

Before I get into this, I have to also admit that I’m a morning person, and always have been.  I used to go to bed at 8:30pm as a teenager and wake up at 5:30-6am to take on the day: sad but true.  It’s just the way I’m programmed.  So, when I dissected my schedule to try to find the best time to fit in a workout, the crack of dawn was the only viable option for me.  Truth be told, I can make a promise to myself to go in the afternoon, but inevitably something comes up and I don’t go.  I have nobody to blame but myself if I don’t go first thing in the morning.  Everyone is asleep (when Max isn’t teething), and the only person getting in my way is the girl in the mirror.

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

My workouts may not be textbook, but I’m THERE, and I’m moving my body and I feel good. One of my favourite quotes is “imperfect action is better than perfect inaction”.  You don’t have to kill it every morning, I feel like a million bucks even on the mornings that I have a lousy work out…because at least I’m working out!

I’ve been asked a few times for some tips on how I manage to get to the gym consistently, what I do for a workout, and what I eat (including some of my favourite Genuine Health products, who sponsored this post) and when… so here they are!


Night Before: prep for a no-excuses morning!

  1. Place workout gear (see the shop section below for my favs) and my toothbrush in the bathroom, ideally away from the kids’ bedrooms (some people sleep in their workout gear…I like my PJ’s too much for that).
  2. Prep a mug with a teabag (I drink black tea) and fill the kettle with water (not necessary for some people, but I like a cup of something warm first thing in the morning)
  3. Place the following at the front door: my keys, water bottle, hair elastic, ear phones, gym shoes and a post-workout snack (I eat the Genuine Health Protein Bars because it’s too early to make a smoothie…the last thing I want to do is wake the crew at this hour!)
  4. Prep anything important for the next day including lunches and homework and set out clothes for the kids so we aren’t scrambling in the morning.
  5. Set my alarm for 4:30am (yes, that’s right, 4:30am)
  6. Go to bed at 9:30pm (in order to get 7 hours of sleep, which your brain and body need)


Morning (Before Workout):

  • 4:30am: Wake up to alarm and DON’T SNOOZE…. SERIOUSLY, DON’T DO IT!!!!
  • Brush teeth and get dressed, make a cup of tea (I feel that it’s too early to eat for me, but have a banana or piece of fruit if you need to eat before you work out)
  • 4:50am: Get in the car and go to the gym.

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

My Workout (1 hr):

Giant disclaimer here, I’m not a fitness pro!  But this is what I do every day, so as imperfect as it is, this is my routine!  I try to lift as much weight as I can within reason and have indicated the weight that I use below; I lift until I can’t do another rep to get the most out of my workout (to exhaustion is what they call it), but adjust the weight to what you can manage.  Feel free to look up any of the exercises if they don’t sound familiar, there are a gazillion images on the web!  Please consult your physician before beginning any new exercise regime if you have any health concerns.


  • 5:00am CARDIO (and talking to Ed, my favourite person at the gym)
  • 5:20am STRETCH
  • 5:30am WEIGHTS: I alternate body parts for each day, doing 3 sets of each exercise, using the heaviest weights that I can for each exercise as per below:


  • LEGS & BUTT:
    • 15 squats using the Smith machine (use free weights if you can or want)
    • 20 forward lunges on each side (with weights held at your side if you can)
    • 20 plie squats holding a heavy weight (25 lb dumbbell is what I use)
    • 20 back lunges on each side (with weights held at your side if you can)
    • 25 standing leg lifts on each side


    • 20 dumbbell curls on each side (tucking elbows to my side)
    • 20 overhead triceps extensions on each side
    • 15 triceps extensions using the machine
    • 15 single arm dumbbell rows on each side
    • 15 wide grip pull downs (on a machine)
    • 15 close grip pull downs (on a machine)
    • 15 reverse flies


    • 15 straight arm raises
    • 15 side arm raises
    • 15 front row raises
    • 15 shoulder presses
    • 30 side oblique raises (holding a weight in one arm)
    • 1 minute plank on EACH side and front
    • 30 medicine ball twists (sit up position on floor with knees bent, touching the medicine ball to the floor on alternating sides)
    • 20 inverted sit ups (on the inverted bench, you can hold a weight if you want)


  • 6:00am head home and take on the day!

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

While I don’t eat much before I go to the gym, I always eat right after.  Research suggests that we should eat something with carbs and protein (ideally 2 or 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein) within about 30 minutes of working out our muscles to replenish and repair.  I typically eat a smoothie (if everyone is awake by the time I get home, the blender is noisy) or a protein bar right after a workout, and prefer the Genuine Health brand of each.  The bars are a LIFESAVER for me, and I keep them in my purse, gym bag and car for a healthy snack on the go.  They taste great and I don’t get bloated from them.  The Genuine Health vegan proteins+ Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favourite followed by the Cherry Almond fermented Greek yogurt proteins+, but I honestly love them all.

How to Master the Early Morning Workout including recipes for smoothies

As for smoothies, we drink them most mornings, and I LOVE the fact that Charlie’s favourite smoothie is a green smoothie!  Here is a link to a couple of my ‘smoothie challenge’ posts here and here using the Genuine Health proteins+ powders (the vegan and Greek yogurt varieties are amazing, I mostly use the vanilla variety as it is the most versatile and I love the flavour).  Both of these protein powders are made from fermented proteins which makes them easier to digest with less bloating while enhancing the absorption of the protein.   Note: I don’t use protein powder in the kids’ smoothies as it is not recommended for children.  I simply make the big batch of smoothie without the protein powder, serve theirs, then add the protein powder to the blender and blend again so that Charles and I can enjoy our ‘adult version’.

I hope this helps!  I would absolutely love it if you want to share any of your tips and tricks for mastering the early morning workout below!  YOU CAN DO IT!



How to Master the Early Morning Workout including survival tips for success and how to eat for recovery!

A giant thank you to Genuine Health for sponsoring this post, I’m grateful for your support!

Photography by Mackenzie Jane Photo

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18 Comments on “How To Master the Early Morning Workout!”

  1. Terrilyn Lawson

    Hi Tori,

    These tips are perfect! I feel like I wrote this! Lol! If I don’t get in my workout first thing, I won’t go. Plus, it really kickstarts my day, gives me more energy and helps me stay on track with eating. Prepping EVERYTHING the night before = no excuses is #1 for me. If I don’t know where my car keys are at 5:00am, I’m going back to bed Lol! #2 is going to bed early enough.. If I stay up too late, I’ll hit the dreaded snooze button and then it’s all down hill from there!

    Awesome job. Keep up the great posts!

    Terrilyn (NB, Canada)

  2. natasha

    Hi im wondering if you could please tell me what color paint you have decided on for your walls. I think in your insta stories you selected simply white for the cabinets. Love your taste, thanks so much.

  3. Amber

    Great post and an inspiration! I think I need to become a morning person to achieve consistent workouts! I’m a born and raised Okanagan girl so I love some of the familiar things in all your posts!! I’m gonna trybyour workout tomorrow!!

  4. Stevie

    Love this post! Thanks for providing a detailed look at one of the things that keeps you looking 30 😉

  5. Lynn

    Why is protein powder not recommended for children? I thought it would give them energy for school. I always tell my daughter to eat protein, not carbs in the morning

  6. Kelly

    I was always a 5:30am gym person until kids now I find I stay up too late. I’ve been trying to get back to the morning workouts for a few years now. This post is exactly what I needed to read 🙂

  7. Aleks

    Great article but could you give some tips on how a woman could hit the gym every morning and still have fantastic hair for the rest of the day?! I lose like an hour washing, drying, etc… Sometimes I feel like just chopping it all off!

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Aleks! I know I hear you my hair takes forever! I’ll be honest, I either put it up in a bun for the rest of the day or use a dry shampoo…otherwise it takes way too long!

  8. Eva

    Thank you for sharing, I’m a morning person too; I have to get my workout in to start my day. You mean go to bed at 9:30pm lol 😂 not

  9. Lisa

    Sorry this might be a stupid question😬 You mentioned you alternate body parts- so would do, for example, shoulder and abs once/week or more? Thanks!😀

  10. Megan

    Hi Tori! I’m 21 and a total breakfast person. I’m normally hungry as soon as I’m up and have had my morning coffee (by 7:30/8am). Since being back in school, I’m trying to incorporate more early morning workouts and am wondering if it’s better to not eat before a morning workout as you do?

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Megan, it really depends on how you feel. Some people need to eat before they work out to prevent that dizzy feeling, but others (like me) are ok unless it’s a really vigorous workout. I get up at 4:30am so it’s hard to think of eating something at that hour! When you eat it will replenish your short-term glycogen stores, which will give you more immediate energy if you need it. If you do eat something, keep it small and don’t eat too much protein or fat as it will give you cramps since those macronutrients take longer to digest. A banana or other small piece of fruit is a good choice!

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