Happy new year everyone, let’s start as we mean to go on…literally…. every morning!
I listen to a lot of podcasts and read many articles about health, fitness, productivity and life hacking in general. One theme that continues to pop up is morning routines. It seems that many successful people have daily routines and habits that they do, most often in the morning, that contribute to their productivity, health, wellbeing and ultimately to their success.
“Win the morning and you will win the day” is a saying I’ve heard many times. Start every morning right and you will win the year! It all adds up.
Not a morning person? Neither am I really but I’ve been experimenting and this routine has transformed me in to one. Check it out and try it for yourself.
The aim of the routine is to wake the body and its systems up PROGRESSIVELY. Waking up to the shock of a loud alarm, stumbling round the house bleary eyed, slamming down a coffee then throwing on your clothes before rushing out the door isn’t progressive and isn’t a great way to start the day in my opinion. Although the following routine is based on progression, luckily that doesn’t mean it takes hours and hours.
My new fancy alarm clock that wakes me up naturally
Recently I’ve been waking up to my new Lumie bodyclock light alarm clock. If you haven’t seen one before, it essentially acts as an artificial sunrise. 30 minutes before my alarm is due to go off it slowly starts glowing until it fills the room with golden light. So far every time I have used it I am completely awake before the alarm sounds, yet I never feel that I have been woken abruptly or that I even want to snooze, it’s great! Light stimulates our body’s natural wakeful mechanisms and the gradual exposure to light causes the release of wakeful hormones. These hormones then start to circulate around the body to wake you up gently, which is why you never have that awful, dive back under the duvet feeling of the light being snapped on sharply in the morning.
A healthy hot beverage to turn up my digestive system
Next, I go downstairs and put the kettle on for a healthy hot beverage. We all know it’s important to drink plenty of water in a morning. Lately I’ve been having hot water with lemon, ‘turmeric tea’ (hot water with a dash of turmeric) or a green or white tea.
The health benefits of hot water, citrus fruits and green tea are well documented so I won’t go on about them now. Turmeric is also becoming a more trendy spice and I particularly hear a lot about the compound found in it called curcumin for its anti-inflammatory effects and other health benefits. I actually quite like the taste of a teaspoon of it in a mug of hot water, too.
Whatever you choose, any one of these is a great option for getting some fluids in you and gently turning up your digestive system.
Progressive exercise – EMOM’s
Although I love and live for movement, I never used to be one who likes to exercise early in the mornings, until now! After, or as I’m finishing my healthy hot beverage, I begin what I refer to as my progressive EMOM’s. The aim of progressive EMOM’s is not to better my fitness, but to progressively awaken my energy systems until my metabolism is roaring.
EMOM stands for every minute on the minute. Basically I start with a certain number of reps of an exercise to complete within the first minute, once completed I rest the remainder of that minute. When the clock rolls on to the next minute I do the same but add another rep or few. I continue to build for typically anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes. It’s quite simply just an interval training format, but lengthening the work and shortening the rest periods as you go along.
I generally use bodyweight or mobility exercises, resistance bands or a light kettlebell, nothing too heavy or intense. I’m just trying to promote some blood flow, raise my body temperature a little, loosen off stiff joints and generally turn my metabolism up a few gears by the end of it. The aim is to feel physically stimulated not annihilated!
A typical gentle progressive EMOM for me might be using bodyweight squats. Minute 1 – 10 reps, minute 2 – 11 reps, minute 3 11 reps and so on until I reach 10minutes and I am doing 20 reps. This is generally comfortable for me and leaves me feeling physically activated by the end as well as with the added bonus of those exercise induced ‘feel good’ endorphins!
After my EMOM’s (about 15-20 minutes after waking) I have my breakfast. I cannot go without breakfast! My typical breakfast is a vegetable egg scrambler cooked in coconut oil (you can check these out on Hannah’s blog here) I may also have, or instead have muesli or porridge and a hemp protein shake if I’m particularly hungry from the day befores training or I know I’m going to be having an active day. I usually have this with a cup of Yorkshire tea and a glass of water. You could have a good quality coffee here though if that’s your thing.
The James Bond shower
Next I hop in the shower and do it James Bond style! No, not always with a naked lady… I’m referring to finishing the warm shower with a blast of cold water for about 1 minute. It’s always a hard mental effort to turn the temperature knob down but it feels great afterwards! Invigorating is the word! I’ve never actually seen Bond do this himself, I think I just read it somewhere and my thoughts were: if it’s good enough for Bond its good enough for me!
After jumping out of the shower I put my clothes on, and off to work I go feeling fresh as a daisy!
I hope you can pick something up from this and implement it into your own routine or at least think about how you can better set up your own morning routine up to win the day!
Be a winner in 2016!