At the beginning of August I mentioned that I could already tell that fall was well on its way with shorter days and therefore, fewer hours of daylight. Now in early September, with autumn just around the corner, pitch-black mornings have become the usual and fitness routine changes a must. (The photo to the left shows what it looks like outside at 5 a.m.)

Instead of running around my neighborhood outside in the dark or skipping my a.m. workout altogether, I decided to join my local gym to tackle my exercise indoors. And I can tell you without hesitation that it's great. The best thing about it: I not only get to run on the treadmill or Spin on the stationary bikes, but I get to swim too (a workout I've learned to love and appreciate ever since I began training for my triathlons)! Having access to the indoor pool adds variety to my cardio workouts and makes me excited to get back in the gym the next morning.

Although I'll miss the summer months when I could spend my mornings outside, joining a gym is the perfect fix for early birds like me who exercise before the sun comes up. Plus, now I'm prepared for the below-freezing temperatures that are bound to be here before we know it.