[Total read time: 2 minutes]
Tuesday, 5:24 am. The school year ended a week ago. I’m in the weight room stretching my hip flexors when Fabrizio, my gym pal, approaches.
I am ready for the question; I hear it every year around this time.
“Why are you here so early?”
Right away, I understand the implication of his question: You’re on summer vacation; you should be home asleep!
Since early in my teaching career, I’ve started my work days on the move. Out of bed by 5:00, I’m usually at the gym by 5:20. I spend roughly 90 minutes elevating my heart rate and building strength, balance, and flexibility. (Of course, my workout is the easy part of my day; the truly tough stuff starts when the first period bell rings.)
When the school year wraps up and my summer break begins, I maintain my early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. While this schedule hasn’t made me wealthy or wise, I’m pretty confident it has a lot to do with my good health. (And while I’m feeling aphoristic, let it be known that THIS early bird most certainly does NOT want to get the worm.)
Not to mention that it’s far easier for me to stay in the habit of getting up early than to endure the bitter anguish of re-establishing the routine come early August when the school bell tolls anew. It’s hard enough to re-acclimate to the limited bathroom breaks, abbreviated lunch period, and rigid school day start and end times without trying to re-train myself to wake up before the sun’s up.
And really, my morning workout is essentially a giant, sweaty triple latte. (Considering the price of a triple latte multiplied by the number of weekdays in a month, my gym membership fee is probably comparable.)
It’s because my heart is already pumping at 7:00 on a summer morning that I can spend the rest of the day reading, evaluating, producing, creating, planning, writing, baking, cooking, boiling, bottling, cleaning, researching, mowing, trimming, weeding, planting, following up, organizing, posting, arranging, inviting, responding, and functioning at a higher level than I could if I had spent those couple of hours sleeping — or even just lolling in bed, playing on my phone, and spooning my dogs. After all, that’s what nights are for.
The other thing about nighttime, then, is that it’s generally suitable for sleeping– something I do best while cradled by the visceral and visual satisfaction of a meticulously nurtured and crossed-off to-do list.
The other reason? (This is the best one.) My early-to-rise routine adds nearly a WEEK to my summer!
Now follow along:
- My summer break is exactly 10 weeks. That’s 50 weekdays.
- I could loll until 7:00ish and then start my day.
- I could. But here’s why I don’t: If I get up at 5:00 instead of 7:00, I gain 2 hours every day.
- 50 weekdays x 2 hours = 100 extra hours
- Since my days are usually about 16 hours long, 100 hours/16 hours = 6.25 EXTRA DAYS of summer! All for free!
Go ahead – check my math. And then tell me below how you would spend two extra hours every day!