What does your morning routine consist of? Punching the snooze button for the third strike, realizing the time, then frantically throwing your clothes on or doing your make-up haphazardly before rushing out the door without breakfast? Sound fairly similar?
I want to challenge you to rethink your morning routine, reevaluate the importance of this time (or lack of). Instead of being a slave to your job, family, or endless nights upon nights of little to no sleep, make morning your favorite part of the day (even those "not a morning person" people). I've compiled a list of the 9 things every person should do each morning before 10am to increase productivity, energy, health & fitness, mental aptitude and overall quality of life:
We all have the same amount of time every day, 24 hours. Leonardo Da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs all had the same amount of time we do. The difference is how you spend your time. I recommend investing time, rather than just spending it. Just like your money, you can invest it for a return, or you can spend it. These 9 things will ensure a ROI...
7 Hours of Sleep
By the time morning rolls around, the first thing that should be completed is a solid seven hours of sleep. This reaches back to the night before, (later this month I will publish a Night-time routine article) but it's imperative to get sound sleep. It's reported that sleep disorders and just overall sleepiness that effects daily activities reflect a vast majority of adults and even children. Getting a handle on seven hours of sleep can lower stress, decrease inflammation, body fat, dependence on stimulants while increasing creativity, attention, focus, memory, and promoting longer life
Full Glass of Water
The first thing to do upon rolling out of bed, immediately drink a glass of water. It has been shown to increase metabolism by 24%. Your brain tissue is comprised of 75% water. Hydrating your system and brain after a 7 hr sleep is important. Dehydrated, your brain slows, using less fuel, clarity is lost, and mental fatigue sets in. Water will help your kidneys in flushing out toxins, without, it's a struggle. Lastly, drinking water first thing will help you to feel more full, thus curbing cravings and helping you to eat more consistently. Studies directly reflect just simple water intake to body fat loss. The biggest take away I've seen with clients and a glass of water first thing in the morning is just immediate energy throughout the day.
Morning metabolism rocket fuel? Working out. Many of us cannot even fathom engaging in strenuous activity first thing in the morning, but if you can wrap your mind around it, the feeling and results will pay off in huge dividends. Even just rolling out of bed, dropping to the floor for a couple sets of push-ups, sit-ups and then squat intervals for a total of 10 minutes will get your heart pumping, oxygen and blood moving. Exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress, not to mention lower body fat while increasing muscle and strength. It is also related to higher success in your career. Caring about your body spills over into all other aspects of your life. Not caring about your body spills over the same, in just the opposite, negative ways. For many of us, working out consistently, or working out at all is hard. Do your hardest tasks first thing in the morning, you will be more apt to complete them and not opt out or make empty excuses to do them later in the day, then it never happening.25+ Grams of Protein
Filling your body with lean protein in the morning will help you recover from your workout, regulate steady blood sugar levels and further prevent cravings and carbohydrate spikes for the better part of half the day. I personally preach this constantly, the incredible power of protein, and I usually recommend 40% or your total daily calories come from protein . Tim Ferriss, in his popular book, The 4-Hour Body, recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up. According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month. Eat a couple eggs, lean turkey bacon, organic sausage, cottage cheese, unsweetened plain Greek yogurt that you put your own fruit into, or for people on the go, a simple protein shake mixed with water or unsweetened almond milk.
Read or Meditation
Reading, especially positive, informing or uplifting content kick-starts your brain activity and puts you in the zone to perform. "Ordinary people seek entertainment, extraordinary people seek education and learning." Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for example, spends 80% of his day reading. Reading a good book can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that last for at least five days after reading, scientists have said. The heightened connectivity and neurological changes result much in the same way as muscle memory. I recommend picking up a tangible book with pages to turn, heightening all your senses as you read as opposed to a Kindle Fire or Ipad. Meditating, or just sitting quietly and still with your eyes closed, attempting to think of absolutely nothing, clearing your mind is possibly one of the hardest things we as humans can try to do. So simple, yet so impossibly challenging to switch our minds off. This takes practice and time, and just serving a bit of time to it each morning will boost your clarity, concentration and focus for the day, no matter how stressful or busy you are. Instead of slapping that snooze button on your alarm clock, hit the reset button of your mind with meditation. If you cannot invest time into reading or meditating, then listen to audio books or a foreign language during your morning commute. You'll be amazed how much material you can get through with this invaluable multi-tasking technique.
10 Minutes of Fun
In my Online Personal Training & Coaching Program this is a big key to the psychology portion. As children, if you remember, or looking at your own children you can start to realize they only have really one simple goal in mind every day: To have fun! They are genius in this regard. If it is not fun, they don't do it, or don't want to do it! We can learn from this, taking time to not be so "grown up" and "adult" all the time, and just give ourselves ten minutes. Walk the dog, yoga, drink your tea or coffee looking out the back porch, sit and read or workout (the ten minutes can be one of the previous items outlined in this list)...anything that you consider fun. What do you like to do? Taking at least 10 minutes for yourself, to do something fun that you look forward to will greatly change your attitude, outlook and mornings for the better.
You may have heard of ice baths to combat inflammation and speed recovery in athletes, but have you heard of very successful people and their "secret" of taking cold showers? It's true, cold showers have been shown to have countless benefits. It's a terrible thought though, isn't it? A cold shower? As if the morning time isn't bad enough? Putting yourself in cold water sounds terribly uncomfortable, but after several seconds our mind and body acclimates to it. I hear people always say, "I don't have any willpower." One of the benefits of cold showers is increased, stronger willpower! (Along with increased metabolism, alertness, emotional resilience, circulation, immunity, fertility, and testosterone while decreasing body fat, stress, and depression.) Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. With regularity it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. You can start off with a warm or hot shower, but make the last three minutes cold.
Zero Screen Time
This is not really something you should do, rather something you shouldn't do. Whether it be your smartphone, browsing gossip on Facebook, your iPad, computer or television, skip anything that has a screen in the morning. It's important to disconnect, let your body and mind naturally wake and acclimate without the rigors and stress that our super convenient technology items indefinitely bring. All the incredible information and knowledge they house in mere seconds to our fingertips can wait until you get to work or at the office, and only after your morning routine is completed. Some tips to help reduce your screen time in the morning, as well as overall...1. Turn off notifications to your phone. You don't need to see every little social media comment, event, like, or heart instantly! 2. Don't use your phone as an alarm clock. If you do it's the last thing you look at before bed and the first when you wake! 3. Download an app that monitors and tells you your actual phone usage, how many hours a day you spend looking at that screen. The results will most likely shock you, scare you into reducing screen time.
Goals & Priorities
Goals are huge. The small daily goals, or priorities need to be laid out in your mind, in the morning. You need direction in order to go about your day, so you are not just spinning your wheels, slaving away day after day. Reviewing some of your bigger goals, or even just your daily tasks is a must. "Carve out a little time to review your calendar and identify what you need to do," says Janine Adams, founder of a successful, professional organizing firm. "That can happen with coffee or breakfast, on the train to work, or anywhere else you can focus," she says. "Knowing the top three things that you need to accomplish in a day gives you extra focus and helps you stay on task when you arrive at the office."
- 7hrs of sleep
- Drink a full glass of water
- Consume 25+grams protein
- Read, listen to an audio book or meditate
- 10 minutes of fun, for you
- Cold shower
- Zero screen time
- Goals: Review your daily priorities
Other Noted Resources: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/brain-function-boosted-for-days-after-reading-a-novel-9028302.html https://medium.com/life-learning/8-things-every-person-should-do-before-8-a-m-cc0233e15c8d#.tzyy3hkjp https://www.fastcompany.com/3050983/know-it-all/productivity-experts-share-their-10-best-tips-for-a-morning-routine-makeover http://mashable.com/2015/03/06/spend-less-time-on-your-phone/#x0nqdV7_gmqj http://www.menprovement.com/benefits-of-cold-showers/