“Every morning you have two choices: Continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.”
I absolutely love this quote.
While this blog post isn’t giving any nutritional nuggets or tips on how to get lean and muscular, I believe it’s an important part of living a truly fit lifestyle.
Most people that know me would probably categorize me as a morning person. Generally, when the alarm goes off, I can pop out of bed and hit the ground running – I’m lucky in that way I guess. Those same people that would categorize me as a morning person do so mostly because they know how much I strive to accomplish before many people are even awake. And I can attribute the majority of my fitness and lifestyle productivity to having a sound morning routine – one I really only deviate from come the weekend.
A powerful morning routine can set you up for success every single day. Below I’ll outline mine, and how you can go about creating yours.
**This practice actually begins the night before with a look at my goals and objectives for the next day. A chance to plant the seed in my head of what needs to be done.**
4:30 am: Rise and shine! Immediately upon waking I drink 16 oz of cold water. Purely anecdotal, but I’ve found that knocking back a large glass of ice cold water really does have that ‘smack you in the face’ effect. And while there is some evidence that suggests an increase of up to 25% in resting energy expenditure, I continue to do it purely for the boost in energy it provides.
5:00 am – 6:00 am: Clang and Bang! This is my hour with the best therapist in the world. Without this hour, I don’t go about my day with the same vigor as I normally would. The type of exercise depends on my current routine, but I’m being active in that hour – whether it’s heavy weight lifting, metabolic conditioning, aerobic exercise, mobility/stretching or simply taking the dogs on a long walk, I make sure to begin the day by getting my body moving.
- If you don’t do this solely to get closer to your physique related goals, then consider it to take advantage of the cognitive effects it offers. To get up and hit the gym while most of the world is snoozing leaves you with an incredible feeling of accomplishment and it’s amazing how you can carry that feeling with you throughout the day.
6:15 am – 7:15 am: Get to work! This is my time to review my goals for the week and the day ahead. To read, write, brainstorm ideas, respond to client emails and write in my gratitude journal. I use this time to sit in silence and think of ways I can be a better husband, son, brother and pet owner. This is my time to focus and reflect on the most important things in my life, get grounded and appreciate all that I have. This hour is very special to me.
7:15 am – 7:25 am: Meditate! The time I spend meditating varies, but I make sure to meditate for at least 5 minutes per day. You might be thinking that meditation is stupid, pointless, doesn’t work, only for Buddhists, or whatever else can be negatively associated with this practice. However, the studies on the benefits of mediation are vast and it’s a body of work that’s continuing to grow. For myself, it allows for an opportunity to clear my mind of all the worries and thoughts in my busy life. It’s not always that cut and dry, some days I can’t focus on not focusing, but that’s the beauty of meditation, I don’t know of anyone that claims they’re great at meditating, but practicing stillness and mindfulness is a practice that you can only benefit from, in my opinion.
- If you’re new to meditation, here are a two apps that I can wholeheartedly recommend: HeadSpace and MindfulnessDaily.
- If you’re not into the app game, simply sitting in silence, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth for 1 minute your first day, 2 minutes the next, and so on is an easy way to get into the practice of meditating regularly.
Fast forward through the workday, dinner, time with family, etc. to the end of the day, which brings us to about 9:00 pm: Reflection! This is an opportunity to review my productivity for the day, look at my list of goals and objectives and start to cross of what I’ve accomplished and what still needs to be done in the coming days.
So there’s my morning routine with a look at how I structure it.
How can you go about structuring yours? Here’s a by which you might be able to lay out your morning going forward:
- Plan it out. Writing out and planning your objectives is a powerful and super easy tool. In fact, a studyin the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through. Bust out the notepad the night before and start lining up your workouts, goals and intentions for the coming days.
- You might lump this in with the ‘woo-woo’ cheesiness of meditation, but visualizing yourself hitting the gym in the morning, writing 20 pages before you get ready for work, or whatever other task you have in mind, can really help to plant the seed and drive you come morning.
- Never hit the snooze button. This may offend some snoozers out there, the folks that live and die by that snooze button, but the snooze button is a morning routine killing machine. I have no studies to support this, just from my experience, if I hit that snooze once, I’m done. So best to keep your alarm clock or phone far enough away from you that you have to get up to shut it off.
- Lay everything out the night before. If morning exercise is going to be the crux of your new found morning routine, laying everything out the night before can be a massive help. Laying out your gym clothes, putting your pre/intra workout supplementation on the counter, putting your gym bag by the front door, etc. are awesome ways to ensure no time is wasted when you’re up. When those things are done, all that’s required of you is to wake up and get moving.
I’d also recommending doing a time audit. Taking inventory of your time is powerful. It makes your day a tangible thing instead of something that just happens while you’re awake. You get to see where exactly you spend most of your time and where you can scale back to make more time for things like exercise, writing that book you always wanted to or work on that great business idea you’ve got. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, right? Of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people I know, I can’t name any that binge watch Netflix on a regular basis – every minute is accounted for and put to good use.
I hope this helped some of you that never seem to have the time for fitness or to work on that dream of yours.