Here’s What Happened When We Woke Up An Hour Earlier For 2 Weeks

One of our content writers, Alex, gave herself a small challenge of setting her alarm an hour earlier than normal for a fortnight. Let’s see how she got on!

Now that lockdown really is easing up, I decided to set myself a challenge of waking up an hour earlier than I usually would for 2 weeks. That probably doesn’t sound like a huge deal to most, but working from home and having no set routine meant that I was going straight from the bed to my laptop, doing minimal exercise, and reaching for convenience foods. So once the gyms had reopened in April, I changed my weekday alarm from 7am to 6am to see if it would help improve my energy levels and general mood. Here’s how it went.

First Day: ugh, do I really need to get up?

Hearing that 6am alarm for the first time in about a year was definitely a shock to the system. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it knocked me sick. But I dragged myself out of bed after hitting snooze a couple of times and got ready for the gym. Waking up this early is definitely a whole lot easier now that it’s lighter outside!

The first workout

I felt really anxious about returning to the gym so I opted for a quick walk on the treadmill first to ease myself back in. The weight section was horrendously busy though, so I quickly came back to the trusty treadmill and did a gentle jog for 30 minutes. Even though I couldn’t do the workout I’d planned, I still showed up and gave it my all. That’s all that matters. 

Getting to bed earlier

Naturally, I was beyond tired after I finished work on my first day of waking up at 6am, which was actually a nice feeling. I don’t know about anyone else, but working from home and having no plans over lockdown meant that I had a lot of unspent energy and therefore struggled to get to sleep. So I took advantage of feeling tired and wrapped up in bed early with a book instead of scrolling through social media – I felt so much better for it! 

Eating better

After a few days of waking up at 6am and working out at the gym, I found myself wanting to eat a little healthier and fuel my workouts with plenty of protein. We’re talking baked oats, pesto eggs, pasta with lots of veggies…delicious! I also made another order of the 5 day weight loss meal prep plan for when I don’t feel like cooking on busier days. 

Looking forward to the weekend

As the first week drew to a close, I couldn’t wait to have a couple of rest days and lie-ins over the weekend. It felt good to have actually worked hard throughout the week knowing I can relax and make plans with my friends on my days off. 

Week 2: New achievements

It was much easier to wake up early the second week in and I noticed a huge increase in my energy levels. I was pushing myself at the gym and didn’t feel anywhere near as tired throughout the working day. I even achieved my longest HIIT workout and hit my exercise goal every day; and as many Apple Watch users will know, this is a lovely bit of motivation.

Getting stronger

Good old muscle memory has worked absolute wonders here. After taking it steady over the first week, I upped my weights and started introducing more cardio once I felt confident enough to do so. Though I lost some of my muscle over lockdown, it didn’t take long for me to start feeling strong again. Plus, it’s so motivating to notice progression, no matter how small. 

2 weeks on: Forming New Habits

It’s now 2 weeks on since my personal challenge ended and I’m happy to say I’m still getting up at 6am and heading to the gym every morning! It’s really difficult to get yourself into a routine when you’ve been stuck in a rut for a while, but once you get accustomed to the change, you’ll find it will just become a daily habit, a part of your day you don’t even need to think about. I’m definitely a lot more confident in myself than I was a month ago – slowly learning to focus on how I feel rather than the number on the scale has been a great boost for my mental health. 

Give it a try too and let us know how you get on!