Re: The best morning routine for a healthy and productive life. I believe fitness is a catalyst to get the most out of life.
A daily morning routine helps you start the day strong and gives you momentum to end the day strong.
Last month, I was in a rut. I felt stagnant at work, in the gym and in life in general.
I knew I needed to do something because I hated feeling that way. Like I wasn’t making the most of each day.
I think I let my environment get the best of me. It was winter in Michigan – The nights are long and very dark and days are short and very cold. I was sluggish and decided it was time for a radical change.
And boy, I’m glad I changed. Now instead of feeling tired, sluggish and underachieving, I now feel revitalized, motivated and powerful.
I knew from previous experience that implementing a rock-solid morning routine paved the way to success and helped me achieve my goals.
Every time I want to make a life change, like hit a new life goal or get a promotion at work, the first thing I do is implement a morning routine.
The right morning routine is like magic. Seriously, every time I’ve had a morning routine, I reached my goal.
I’m a firm believer in having a strong morning routine mainly because everything in my life improves when I establish a morning routine.
My morning routine is as follows and it includes the steps I take every morning to WIN THE DAY.
It includes a rigorous workout, meditation, hot/cold therapy, and a special breakfast.
Wake Up Early
The ultimate morning routine starts early. Get up before the Sun is up. Get up and moving and accomplish something before the rest of the world wakes up.
My day starts at 5:30AM. (Technically it starts at 5:00, but I hit the snooze a time or two.)
After savoring those last few minutes in bed, I sit up and slam a quart of water that I poured in a mason jar and set on my nightstand before bed the night before.
Then, I grab my gym bag, food for the day (breakfast and lunch), work clothes and briefcase.
I pack everything I need the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning. No thinking, no deliberation, no stalling – I just grab what I need and get out the door.
First thing’s first: Workout
I’m at the gym by 5:45am.
At that time I start my workout which typically contains a mix of strength and hypertrophy training. The perfect combination for a healthy, strong, aesthetic physique. (My goal is to gain strength and build muscle. I want to look like Arnold Shwarzanegger in his prime but without the d-bol.)
I hit the iron for about an hour and work up a good sweat.
I’ve tried running first thing in the morning and I’ve trying lifting. Let me tell you personally that nothing matches the endorphins rush of a hard and heavy workout first thing in the morning.
I just feel good after a morning workout. And that good feeling lasts all day long.
Everything is easier after you’ve deadlifted 400 pounds.
The combination of endorphins and accomplishment will carry you through the day so you’re ready and focused for the day’s challenges.
Days where you set new personal records are especially satisfying and has a halo effect that improves your whole day.
Sauna Time to Stretch, Meditate and Sweat
I maximize my sauna time by using it to stretch and meditate while I sweat out all the bad ingredients.
Meditation helps my focus and is great mental exercises.
Stretching makes muscles limber, toned and helps with recovery.
Sweating purges toxins from your body and makes you more youthful.
All three have many health benefits proven by scientific research. Much of which I endorse from my own experience.
Meditation helps deal with wondering thoughts. Maintaining a clear mind is like flexing your bicep. To flex you arm hard, you need to concentrate on flexing your arm. To meditate, you focus on your breathing.
Our culture is plagued by anxiety. We are constantly bombarded with countless images, thoughts, ideas that are a lot to process. It makes your mind spin in circles, distracts you from the task at hand which further increases anxiety.
It’s a vicious circle that you have the power to stop. Many people could get off xanax if they meditated properly.
Add the stress and of work, social, and life pressure and you have the ingredients for a nervous breakdown.
Starting the day with meditation sets the tone that I am in control of my thoughts and focus. It allows me to filter through the bullshit and focus on what’s important to be more productive.
I typically spend 15-20 minutes in the sauna. That whole time is spend sweating, stretching and meditating.
Make the sauna as hot as you can tolerate, then start stretching. While stretching, I clear my mind completely, visualize something I want or repeat a mantra.
I focus on holding my stretch and breathing as deeply and slowly as possible. 5-10 deep, deliberate breaths. Then change position or increase the depth of the stretch.
The heat will loosen your muscle allowing you to hold deeper stretches for longer. Flexibility is key to healthy joints and helps with muscle recovery. You want to maintain an athletic physique and if you’re going to be sitting all day, you want to stretch!
I love stretching while in the sauna because I get enormous benefits and it compounds the effectiveness of if you where to just meditate, stretch or sweat alone.
Sauna has been proven to increase health, burn calories and improve your immune system. In addition to that, Sauna makes you sweat so it makes you fresh as a daisy for the day. You sweat out all the caffeine, and other toxins in your body.
Cold Tub Plunge!
After time’s up in the sauna, I quickly rinse all the sweat off my body in a warm shower then jump in the cold tub for 3-5 minutes.
The cold tub I use is set at 55 degrees. (Go colder if you can. I would but my cold tub is preset at 55 and can’t be changed.)
I submerge my body up to my neck and relax while breathing deep and slow.
The cold water will help with muscle recovery. The sudden change in temperature is a great wake up call and really makes you alert.
I also use the cold tub to regulate my body temperature after being in the sauna.
If you get out of the sauna without cooling down, I sweat like crazing. Even after drying off from a shower. I just keep sweating. There was one time I got in the sauna before work and didn’t cool off after.
When I got to work, the heat was on and I started sweating REALLY BAD. My work clothes were soaked and I was talking to people while I was sweating and it was embarrassing. I had to go to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face and neck just to cool down.
So, make sure you regulate your body temperature. Plus, cold water therapy has been used to improve immune system.
Scottish shower is when you take a normal hot shower and then turn the water as cold as ice for a final rinse. 30-45 seconds is a good duration.
The warm water opens pores to get your skin clean and the cold water closes them back up and cools your body down so you dry faster.
Get dressed and Get to Work
Eat a Meat and Nuts Breakfast
Move over Wheaties, this is the true breakfast of champions.
Eating a meat and nuts breakfast is the simplest change you can make to have a productive morning.
I meal prep a bunch of lean beef patties each week and eat one for breakfast each morning with a side of raw almonds.
Meat and nuts have all the nutrients you need to feel healthy and energized both mentally and physically.
Eat clean during the work day
Your productive hours count by maximizing productivity. Nothing kills your momentum like a 2 o’clock slump brought on by the fried chimichanga you had for lunch. Avoid fried, frozen or fast foods and opt for fresh prepared meals instead.
Eat all natural, whole foods. Stay away from carbs, sugar and dairy. They will only make you sluggish.
There it is, folks. The ultimate morning routine for getting my ass in gear! I feel fucking fantastic without fail every time. I’m ahead of my day and can hit the ground running at 100% as soon as I get to work.