On my path to becoming a hybrid athlete, running long distances and weight training 5-6 days a week. I've tweaked my morning routine with best practices from health and fitness industry icons like Dr. Andrew Huberman, Nick Bare, and many others.
Starting off every day on the right foot is critical to mental and physical well-being. Energy, focus, happiness, and productivity are all linked to how we begin our mornings.
That's why I everyone should have a well-structured morning routine that includes elements of physical activity, mindfulness practices, and healthy nutrition. So, here is the best morning routine that I've come to love.
According to a meta-analysis published in Translational Sports Medicine, engaging in two minutes of moderate-to-high-intensity exercise can significantly improve your attention, concentration, and learning and memory functions for the next two hours.
As soon as I hop out of bed I get my two minutes in. It can be anything from jumping jacks and push-ups to a quick abs routine.
Sahil Bloom recommends a 5-5-5-30 Method:
Select a set of exercises that you enjoy and can perform with ease. This will motivate you to start your morning routine and set the tone for the rest of the day. For more advanced athletes, you may need more reps.
Focus on maintaining a high level of intensity during your two-minute workout. This will ensure that you reap maximum benefits in terms of enhanced cognitive functioning and overall well-being.
Proper hydration is a crucial component of a successful morning routine. Drinking water immediately after waking up helps to kickstart your metabolism, flush out toxins, and improve brain function.
Aim to consume at least one large glass (12-16 oz) of water upon waking. This will help to rehydrate your body and prepare it for the day ahead.
For added health benefits, consider squeezing a lemon into your water. This can aid digestion, boost immunity, and provide an extra dose of vitamin C.
Cold showers have been shown to improve circulation, boost mood, and increase alertness. Start with a 30-second cold shower and gradually work up to two minutes over time.
Cold showers are hard for anyone just starting. It takes time and willpower. Start your shower at a comfortable temperature, allowing your body to adjust and relax.
Slowly lower the temperature to a cold setting, staying under the cold water for 30 seconds initially. As you become more accustomed to the sensation, increase the duration up to two minutes.
Incorporating stretching into your morning routine can improve flexibility, increase blood flow, and reduce stress. Aim to spend at least five minutes performing a variety of stretches that target different muscle groups.
Target areas such as your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. These are the muscles that tend to be the tightest and can benefit the most from stretching.
To maximize the benefits of stretching, hold each stretch for at least 15-30 seconds, focusing on slow and controlled movements.
Exposure to natural sunlight is essential for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and promoting overall well-being. Aim to spend at least 15-20 minutes outside during your morning walk or run. Viewing sunlight improves your sleep schedule by supporting your circadian rhythm. When viewing the sun when you wake up, the melanopsin cells in your eyes are signaled by the central circadian clock that it's the start of the day.
To me, there's something amazing about grinding through a morning run - 2 miles, 6 miles, 10 miles - whatever it is, you feel accomplished and ready to conquer the day. Some people like to lift in the mornings. For me, I prefer getting the run in, and when I have more high-alert energy later in the day, I lift.
Drinking coffee after 90 minutes to 2 hours after waking up can help optimize the relationship between adenosine and wakefulness and sleepiness, providing a consistent arc of energy throughout the day and avoiding the afternoon crash.
Caffeine is an adenosine blocker, meaning it parks in the receptor that adenosine normally would park at and prevents adenosine from acting on that receptor. By delaying caffeine intake, you can ensure that you don't have a late afternoon or early afternoon crash from caffeine.
Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reflection, goal setting, and stress reduction. Spending just a few minutes each morning writing down your thoughts can help to provide clarity and focus for the day ahead.
Begin your journaling session by listing three things you're grateful for. This simple practice can help to cultivate a positive mindset and improve overall well-being.
Use your journal to set daily goals and outline your priorities for the day. This will help to provide direction and purpose as you navigate your daily tasks and commitments.
A nutritious breakfast is essential for fueling your body and jumpstarting your metabolism. Opt for a balanced meal that includes protein, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the day.
Choosing foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, and protein smoothies can provide a good dose of protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Add some healthy fats like avocado or nuts, and high-fiber foods like berries or whole-grain toast for a complete and balanced meal.
Why high protein?
A high-protein breakfast helps maintain or increase muscle mass, and for satiety (feeling full) and appetite control. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, and ingesting sufficient quality amino acids, including leucine, early in the day can be beneficial for the maintenance and growth of muscle tissue. Protein's more satiating than carbohydrates or fats, which can help control appetite and reduce overall calorie intake throughout the day.
Establishing a digital detox zone in your morning routine can reduce stress and improve focus. Avoid checking emails, social media, or news apps until you've completed your morning rituals.
Establish clear boundaries for when and where you will engage with digital devices. For example, avoid checking your phone while still in bed or during breakfast.
Prioritize self-care and personal growth over digital distractions. Use your morning routine to focus on activities that promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Regularly assess the impact of your morning routine on your daily life. Make adjustments as needed to ensure that your routine continues to support your goals and personal growth.
Pay attention to how your morning routine affects your energy levels throughout the day. If you notice a decline in energy, consider making changes to your routine to better support your needs.
Be open to change and willing to adapt your morning routine as your life evolves. Remember that the perfect morning routine is one that works for you and supports your unique needs and goals.
It's not the perfect morning routine for everyone, but you can set yourself up for a day filled with energy, focus, and success. Just remember - listen to your body, stay flexible, and make adjustments as needed to find the perfect routine tailored to your unique lifestyle and goals.
Just keep going - one step at a time.