Rise and Grind my morning gangsters


Rise and Grind! Its a fresh new day, and you have goals to crush. You signed up for that rooster class and you are READY to go start your morning off right!

But, let’s be honest for a second. Does anyone really enjoy waking up super early? The bed is soooo cozy. Outside is so dark. The bed truly is so cozy. I live in Canada, and it’s starting to get REALLY cold outside. So finding the motivation to rise and grind truly requires diligence, discipline and a plan of action.


So let’s get down to the business of how the heck to rewire your body, and crush those early morning goals.


Rest assured, I’m not an undercover early riser (you can trust me! I feel your pain night owls!). A few years ago, the days I would be up to work out before 6 am were  pretty much umm…. .NEVER EVER.  To become someone who now consistently wakes up damn early required me to make significant changes to my habits.  


The below tips have been tried, tested and proven by yours truly. I am proud to say that while I do not enjoy waking up early, I now do so like a gangster. 


1) Accomplish it the night before. Always.

I like to think of the night version of Daniela as a strong badass who can manage things at lightning speed. 5 am Daniela is like a baby who lost her blanket. I can barely think.

So for me, saying things like “I’ll do that in the morning” is a big fat lie to myself.

If there’s anything I need to have ready (i.e playlist made, a form filled out) it is DONE, SEALED AND READY TO GO the night before.


2) Go to bed earlier.

Now this one is tricky.  During the day, it’s so easy to say to yourself “I’m going to be in bed early tonight.” But when nighttime rolls around, suddenly it becomes imperative that you do EVERYTHING , like dusting your room or binge-watching a show or scrolling through your sister’s- husband’s-cousin’s vacation photos from 2010. I don’t know why, but things come up! That momentum can make you feel rushed and panicked and when you finally do hit the pillow, it’s suddenly later than you expected.

What I found worked for me in my early days of getting adjusted to my rooster classes was to just be in bed 30 minutes before normal.

So if you are someone who typically stays up to 11 pm, it would be hard to be in bed by 9 pm all of a sudden. You may even sit there worrying about not waking up for class, or how you can’t fall asleep, which makes going to sleep even harder. So try adjusting your body in 30 min increments. I worked my way down from being in bed late to basically being unable to stay up past 10 pm ever. 


3) Wake up just slightly earlier.

Somehow, those morning moments just fly by. It’s so easy to feel super rushed to get out  the door on time. So what I started to do is set my alarm just 6 to 7 mins earlier than I thought I should! I feel like those extra few minutes make all the world of difference for me, and help me get out the door on time.


4) Pretend there is no such thing as a snooze button.

I feel like the snooze button should not even be an option. I have never overslept for a class (nor do I plan to) and I attribute that to never hitting that button. When I lived in LA I had to wake up at 445 am almost every morning. And if I was not out the door by 510, this girl was stuck on the 405 in traffic that would make your worst nightmare look like a fairytale. LA PEEPS ARE YOU WITH ME!? So, when my alarm goes off, I GET UP. IMMEDIATELY.  

Holding yourself accountable to getting out of bed right away is like saying to the universe “HELLO I’M HERE I’M AWAKE AND I’M READY ” even if you don’t quite believe it in that moment!


5) Have a glass of water ready on the kitchen table.

Drinking water FIRST thing when you wake up has a number of awesome benifits. Firstly, it makes you feel more awake. It also fires up your metabolism, flushes out toxins, and helps you stay feeling full. Also, when I ride when I’m dehydrated, I notice it BIG time. I feel like my body can’t move as fast. So I have my water sitting there, poured the night before and ready to go. I drink it first thing every single morning and it really does make a difference.


6) Lay out your clothes and be EXCITED about wearing them.

It’s no joke for me. Picking my outfits for class is based on my moods and my playlist. So I need to have them ready, and folded the night before. I need to feel excited about putting them on!

If you wear ratty old clothes to the gym that don’t make you feel fresh, I guarantee you won’t be as excited to go crush your day.

And don’t forget the little things, like having your socks ready to go, your cozy sweaters, etc. The idea is that your half awake brain can just cruise on automatic.


5) Meal Prep.

Whatever you need to eat to feel great before a workout, have that ready to go and grab in the morning. I have my food sitting on my counter or already in my backpack. My pre rooster meal is usually a banana, tea, and a  protein bar (I love Vega bars and The Grind bars) I don’t drink coffee (if I did, I’d be bouncing off the walls) but if you are a coffee drinker, have that ready to go! I recently worked with nutritionist Chara Marie on a healthy breakfast meal plan, so  click here to read the complete plan and get some fresh ideas on pre-class meals!


6) Have an accountability buddy.

Did you know that you are 3 times more likely to stick to your workout routines if you do it with a friend (also I just made that number up, but it sounds pretty accurate).

Having someone to go crush workouts with makes it SO much for fun! It’s also way easier to bail on yourself than it is to bail on your friends.

I have some riders who I call or text at 530 am to make sure they are awake! Try to find a buddy, and if you don’t have a specific person to go with, make friends with the people from your workout environment! I love my SoulCycle crew, we are like a family and we look forward to seeing each other early in the mornings. Make a new friend at your classes and tell them you look forward to seeing them at your next class, even book bikes next to each other!


7) Prep the little things.

Put your keys in the exact same spot so you don’t have to search for them in the morning. Have your jacket ready to just put on. Your shoes already by the door. An umbrella pulled out. Whatever you need, have it laid out so you don’t need  to think in those wee hours of the am. Those little nuisances, like trying to find a car charger, add to the stress of the morning rush, so have it prepped!

There you have it! The tricks of the trade of a SoulCycle instructor, who wakes up damn early almost every day.

Changing long standing habits can take time. But with all honesty, I can say this.

From someone who is not a morning person, I now have to work out in the morning. It provides me with the positive kick in the ass that I need! And I’m not just talking from a physical standpoint. The sense of pride and accomplishment I feel being part of the early rising crew makes me a more productive version of myself. 

If you feel like you could NEVER do this, I promise you. You absolutely, most positively can. So I challenge you, try an early morning class this week!


Adding to my tips, I asked some of my readers of #BodybyD to provide their helpful tips about how they motivate themselves to wake up early, and what their tricks of the trade are!!

@Sparrowfitness.ca “I always tell people that your alarm should not be within working arm’s reach. I have my phone across the room so I have to get up to go turn it off. And then I’m up!”


@jermmdawg “For me it usually helps if I have EVERYTHING packed and set out for the day, done the night before. It makes it crazy hard to get up early when I have to think about all the things to do. If I can just mindlessly get out the door it’s way easier. Also, wearing a big comfy sweatshirt on my way makes it easier too and it’s so necessary.”


@jordan_sgro “Saje AromaTime diffuser and we pre-set it with a nice citrus blend for an hour before we have the alarm set to wake up- This makes us feel refreshed and we don’t have to hit the snooze button at all. Most times I wake up 5-10 minutes before the alarm naturally! The other suggestion- go to bed on time. Get those 6-7 hours minimum! Couldn’t tell you the last time I went to bed after 11 for a 5:15 wake up…”


@jaydicilento “1. Get your clothes for the next day ready (including what you are wearing to work!) 2. Set your alarm with 5 mins to cuddle your dog while you wake up! 3. Place your workout wear beside your bed- with these cold mornings include a comfy sweater so it’s not as hard leaving your bed. 4. Have a big glass of cold water. 5. Wash your face with cold water. 6. Have a light pre-workout breakfast. 7. Pump your fave tunes on the way to class loudly! 8. A buddy to text you in the am!”


@tneef “Give me the keys to your apartment, I’ll wake your sorry ass up” (Hey guys, couldn’t make that one up)


@jdleano “Making plans with a friend was what got me up this morning! I had promised I would join and I think this was a great first step towards being able to wake up for myself and make it part of my new routine 🙂 “


@preroorthodontics “My inspiration was an instructor named Daniela” (AWEEEEE)


@katrina_mackie “My suggestion is to put your alarm across the room and put it at a higher volume (not soft, soothing music), that way when it goes off in the morning you have to get out of bed. And usually once you’re out of bed and moving you’re a bit more motivated to go and get on with the day 🙂 “


@miz.tia “Plan for an amazing breakfast that makes you really excited. A gratitude list (I start the day with 5 things I’m grateful for” And never press snooze EVER! Think of it as turning down the resistance when you want the easy way out.”


@noeytink “Prep everything you need the night before. If I’m taking soul in the morning, I make sure to pack a bag with my shoes, a clean change of clothes ext. SoulCycle is great for early morning efficient workouts because the facilities are equipped so well! If you are like me, and have trouble waking up, set multiple alarms and have your phone farther than arm’s reach. I turn on the lights in my room and put on some upbeat music to help wake my brain up. Have an accountability buddy! Sign up for early classes with a friend. Drink lots of water and add lemon for an extra bonus. And don’t think about it, just get up and DO IT! The hardest part is showing up.”


@shomasm “I ALWAYS lay out my bag and pack my lunch, so in the morning I have to do the absolute bare minimum. My friend Claire says “to always set multiple backup alarms.” I always try my best to get to bed as fast as possible once it’s bed time, and not get caught up on my phone!”


@aleisha_ahamed “Looking at pictures of your body-that’s it! It’s my instant motivation to get to a 6 am class!” (thanks girllllll <3)


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