Meet Maeve: How This Runner Started A Morning Workout Routine, Without Being A ‘Morning Person.’

morning workout routine

maeve morning workout routine

Maeve H., Dietitian, UK

Maeve: “I never thought I would be that productive morning person!”

This busy dietitian and half-marathon runner was not a morning person. Flat Belly Firm Butt in 16 Minutes helped her develop a consistent morning workout routine!

At a glance

maeve before after hiit

The Problem: Inconsistent exercise patterns after a half marathon.

“I would often get into the way of training for the half marathon, and then stop exercising for a bit. And then I’d do another half marathon so it would keep me motivated to do some sort of exercise. I haven’t always kept my fitness high all year round.”

The Solution: A change in routine.

“I started to exercise in the morning for the first time. I don’t think I would be in this routine if I hadn’t done FB16, as it showed me how easy it is to fit a quick workout into my morning routine!”

Her RESULTS: Maeve continues her morning workout routine.

“I just took a bit of a break from exercise for a week or two, then when I went back to exercise. I’m back to exercising in the morning again which I feel so much better for.” +

+Results vary depending on starting point, goals, and effort.

Before we tell you more about Maeve’s story, let’s talk about morning workout routines.

Establishing a morning workout routine is difficult.

If you’re a ‘morning person’ you may wonder why some people struggle with adding exercise to a morning schedule. Or, maybe you are a ‘morning person’ but you just don’t have the motivation to work out in the morning.

Morning person or not, why is it so hard to work out in the morning?

Going to the gym takes time. If you drive to the gym, exercise for an hour, shower, and then drive back home or directly to work, that’s 90 minutes spent. Do you want to wake up 90 minutes earlier to go work out?

Even going for a run takes time in the morning.

Say you want to run for an hour before you go to work. You may be motivated to do this if you’re like Maeve if you are preparing for a running race. If you’re not a morning person, chances are you’re going to scoff at the idea of waking up an hour early – even if you’re motivated for a race.

Why would you develop a morning workout routine?

  1. Some people really like the mental win of getting their exercise crossed off their to-do list before they begin the day. You don’t have to spend the rest of the day with the mental battle of making excuses of why you won’t get it done.
  2. That exercise endorphin high goes a long way in the morning. Who doesn’t love starting the day out with a natural boost?
  3. A study published in 20171 was conducted on bariatric surgery patients. Researchers found that morning exercise in these patients could be a successful way to promote a physical activity habit in inactive people. This means that you’re more likely to stick to a routine in the morning than any other time of the day – even if you are currently sedentary.
  4. In 2015, another study2 concluded that women that exercised in the morning experienced greater levels of satiety after eating than women that exercised in the afternoon. So, you’re more likely to feel full after eating if you do that morning workout.

How can someone start a morning exercise routine, even if they’re not a ‘morning person?’

It all comes down to establishing a habit! A study published in Health Psychology3 found that exercise instigation habit strength was the only unique predictor of exercise frequency.

Here at Fitness Reloaded, we refer to the exercise instigation habit as an “anchor,” which is a cue that proceeds another habit. This study concluded that the anchor was more important than an execution habit. An execution habit is just a set routine that is not tied to an anchor.

It is so true that the anchor matters more than the actual habit itself. E.g., say you have a habit of exercising when your child’s math tutor comes in on Tuesdays.

Your actual habit of exercise may vary – you may go out for a walk or run if the weather is good or you may stay in and follow an online HIIT cardio routine or if you’re not feeling less energetic you may opt for a yoga workout routine.

But what happens if one day the tutor is sick and has to reschedule? Your workout is in jeopardy. What happens if this tutor is unreliable and sometimes comes – sometimes not? You may end up not forming the habit of exercise since the anchor is unreliable.

Now imagine how this applies to your habits when it’s something morning-related. Possible anchors could be:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Having breakfast
  • Waving your kids goodbye
  • Checking your email

If you want to add a morning workout routine you’ll have to be careful with what anchor you’re going to associate this with. Going to the bathroom is quite reliable. But maybe you’re not as reliable with having breakfast. In every case, the strength of the anchor matters, along with of course other things like the easiness/difficulty of your actual morning workout routine. (e.g., a 16-min home workout routine is definitely easier than an hour-long workout session at the gym.)

Now, let’s move on to Maeve’s story…

The backdrop

Maeve wanted to add strength training to her routine, and not depend on races to workout.

Maeve lacked strength training in her busy running routine, and really wanted to change that. Since she would stop exercising after her half marathons, she wanted to develop a fitness routine that would keep her motivated after race season.

1. Maeve started FB16 during her half marathon training.

As an avid runner, Maeve wasn’t new to fitness. When she started Flat Belly Firm Butt in 16 Minutes, our online high intensity workout program (HIIT), she was in the midst of training for her 3rd half marathon. Maeve’s workouts were primarily focused on cardio. She wanted to find a way to keep up with strength training, something that typically gets pushed aside by endurance athletes.

“When I was training for the half marathon, I would stop doing other weights and things at the gym because I had to spend my time doing the running.”

Maeve had the right idea with this. Grier et al.4 found that US Army women who combined running with weight training performed better on the muscular endurance (push-ups and sit-ups) portion of the Army physical fitness test compared to women who did only running, only weight training, or no personal fitness activities. This means physical fitness improves when you cross-train, or combine strength activities with running.

2. Maeve typically fell out of exercise routines after races.

Many long-distance runners take a week or two off after a big race, and then jump back into a routine shortly after. Unfortunately, Maeve would take longer breaks and lose motivation to exercise without a race on her calendar.

“I would often get into the way of training for the half marathon, and then stop exercising for a bit. And then I’d do another half marathon so it would keep me motivated to do some sort of exercise. I haven’t always kept my fitness high all year round.”

Her results

Year-round fitness started with morning workouts.

Maeve was never a morning person, so she never imagined she’d actually enjoy exercising in the morning. Not only did she enjoy her morning exercise routine, she continued her habits for year-round fitness. Maeve doesn’t need a half marathon on her calendar to keep her motivated!

1. Maeve became more productive because of the morning workout routine.

Though she was ambitious with her training schedule, Maeve was never a morning person before FB16. However, when she designed her half marathon training plan to include FB16, the only time during the day she could squeeze it in was before work.

“I started to exercise in the morning for the first time. I’d never done that before because I’m really not a morning person. I just thought, ok if I get this out of the way in the morning, then I have my working day – then I’ll have time in the evening. If I need to do running I can do that in the evening. I was worried about where I was going to fit this in. So in general, I was exercising in the morning, which I actually loved. I was getting up and I was so much more productive. It meant on other days I was waking up earlier, and if I wasn’t doing FB16, I would go for a run instead. I really liked that side of it.”

Maeve even started walking to work in the mornings, and continues to do so when she can.

2. She improved her strength, fitness, and half-marathon results!

Maeve explains that she is not a naturally strong person. Since FB16 made it so easy for her to keep up with strength work during training, she continued to get stronger while preparing for her half marathon.

Additionally, the benefits of FB16’s HIIT aspect improved her fitness.

“I was really glad that FB 16 helped me to keep up with strengthening exercises. I think it helped with my overall fitness for the half marathon.”

She also noted a firmer look in her before and after pictures, as well as an improvement in her FB16 fit test after she graduated from the program. She attributes this to FB16, combined with her half marathon training.

3. Because of her morning workout routine, she no longer needs to sign up for half marathons to stay in shape!

For someone who’d usually fall out of her routine after a race, Maeve continued her morning exercise routine after her race. She savored a refreshing 2 week post-race break, but returned to exercise. She is not training for a half marathon anytime soon, but has since shifted her focus to yoga and flexibility. The biggest thing to note, is that she is still in a morning workout routine – which is key for year-round fitness. She created a habit!

“I’m back to exercising in the morning again which I feel so much better for, it’s yoga I’m doing at the moment because I really want to work on my flexibility. I don’t think I would be in this routine if I hadn’t done FB16 as, it showed me how easy it is to fit a quick workout into my morning routine!”

Not only did she stick to her morning workout routine, she continues to use FB16 in her weekly plan after graduating from the program. Even during the holidays – when most people find excuses – Maeve kept up with 3 FB16 workouts per week!

“I now use FB16 on a weekend if I’m not doing anything active outdoors, which is great to get a quick but thorough workout done – usually two of the sessions in a row.”

How she succeeded

5 reasons Maeve developed morning workout routine, despite not being a ‘morning person.’

Exercising in the morning usually doesn’t seem appealing to people that aren’t ‘morning people.’ When Maeve started FB16, morning was the only time she could fit the program into her schedule. Here’s how she made the best of the program, established a morning workout routine, and how it can work for you!

1. Who doesn’t have 16 minutes?

Maeve says the biggest barrier to people exercising is time commitment. FB16 addresses that barrier head-on, because it’s only 16 minutes, 3 times per week. Who doesn’t have 16 minutes? Maeve was in the middle of half-marathon training when she started FB16, which can be time-consuming in itself. However, since she realized the time commitment to FB16 was so realistic, she knew she could do it, even while training.

“It was such a realistic and achievable thing to do, the fact that it was 16 minutes 3 times per week. I just felt I could always manage to fit it in somehow, so I didn’t feel like I was failing because I could always stick to the 3 sessions.”

*insert video 3:54-5:12*

“I made a training plan so in the morning it would either be FB16 or a short run before work. Certain days of the week, my favorite gym classes I’d still go to (pilates, yoga, spinning). I would try to fit in a few runs as well, and longer run on the weekend, and a rest day.”

The realistic timing nature of the program is why FB16 was also such a success for FB16 graduates Helen, Amanda, Jackie, and Vicky.

2. FB16 is a total body workout!

FB16 created the opportunity for Maeve to cross-train during her half marathon training, and didn’t just focus on one body part. It kept her motivated to keep FB16 going with her training plan.

“It was a good break from running. If I had a day I wanted to give my legs a rest from running, I could do FB16, and it would fit in with that. I liked the way the workouts focused on different parts of the body – it felt like a good full body workout each week.”

3. No gym or equipment? No problem!

Another obstacle many people face while creating a morning workout routine – or any workout routine – is a lack of access to a gym or expensive equipment. Even though she has a gym membership, Maeve noted that FB16 is great for people that do not.

“It’s good for people that don’t want to pay for a gym membership or if you don’t want a lot of equipment.”

4. The videos offer guidance and focus on safety and form.

Maeve really liked the focus on safety and guidance that FB16 offered – which is why she recommends it to you.

“The exercises themselves were generally achievable and could be adjusted to different fitness levels. The exercises felt safe and the form was well explained.”

FB16 includes separate 6-10 minute breakdown videos that show you exactly what you’ll be doing in each workout. These videos help you master the moves before you even start the workout. Better yet, these videos help you to modify your exercises specifically to match your fitness level. If you’re a beginner, you won’t be intimidated by an exercise you don’t feel comfortable with. If you’re advanced, be assured you’ll have exercises that will challenge you.

FB16 is BIG on form and safety, which is why modifications are a key asset in this program for participants of all abilities.

(Jessica and Jackie also loved that!)

5. Ultimately doing FB16 was just fun!

Are you ready to establish a morning workout routine? Sign up below to follow Maeve’s direction and get started with FB16 today!

Click here to view the sources referenced in this article.

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