The #1 Thing That Motivates Me to Work Out in the Mornings

And no, it’s definitely not my willpower.

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This is Obsessed: my weekly column devoted to sharing all the things I'm loving right now—from unique food and gift ideas to travel destinations and beauty products—plus some tips and tricks for living your best life.

I have a complicated relationship with early morning workouts. I played college golf, so most days I'd have to get up around 5 a.m. to strength train, run or do yoga (and before you make a joke, yes, golfers have to work out.) As I'm sure you can imagine, I was beyond burnt out on exercise after college. Workouts felt like a job—especially the early morning ones. So I just stopped doing them altogether.

But after a few years of avoiding anything fitness-related, I decided to make a change. I had gained weight and didn't feel very good about my health, so I looked into some options. I tried a few spin classes and even joined a gym, but I couldn't motivate myself to actually go at night. I would get so tired after working all day that I would blow off the gym to sit on the couch. So, as a last resort, I turned to an old frenemy: morning workouts. (You know what they say about old habits...)

I won't lie to you: Waking up over an hour earlier took some adjustment, but I found that a few things helped me actually want to go to the gym in the morning. First, I found a workout that didn't feel like a chore: I discovered kickboxing classes and go three times a week. The workouts are set to fun music, they're constantly changing and I'm toning muscles I didn't even know I had. Not to mention, punching things is a major stress reliever!

Next, I also started laying out my clothes the night before and going to bed earlier. Fumbling through the dark for a pair of leggings was a major time-suck, and getting my things together ahead of time allows me to sleep for a few extra minutes in the morning.

And lastly, I found my best workout motivation from a $22 Amazon gadget: an ice roller. It's essentially a facial massage roller that you keep in the freezer. After my workouts, I tend to get red-faced, puffy and hot, and it's such a treat to run this ice-cold gadget over my face.

ESARORA Ice Roller for Face & Eye

ice face roller

The roller has more than 10,000, 5-star reviews on Amazon, so I'm not the only one who loves it. Some users say it also helps with migraines, puffy eye bags, sinus pressure and more. While I can't really vouch for those things, I will say that it's a great way to wake yourself up first thing in the morning or cool down after a sweaty workout. And for $22, I can't ask for much more. (Buy it: $22, Amazon)

Jaime Milan is EatingWell's digital editor for all things newsy and trending. She's always on the hunt for the latest and greatest things to share with EatingWell's readers. In her spare time, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen, tackling home projects with her husband or taking pics of her very photogenic American Eskimo Dog, Grits. Follow her on Instagram at @jaimemmilan.

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