Discipline equals freedom. This is actually a book title by Navy Seal Jocko Willink. But it's also a quote that sums up my morning routine.
Every morning (except sundays, those are the days I enjoy my freedom) I get up and follow a list of tasks (to see my routine in one page click HERE)
A 'to-do list' for the morning.
And yes, some of these tasks suck, some are boring, some are difficult - mentally and physically, and some days I'd rather skip to the fun parts of the day...
But I still do them.
Day in, day out.
Why? Because discipline equals freedom.
By staying disciplined, by doing the repetitive tasks, by delaying self-gratification until later in the day, I create opportunities.
I create health.
I create a foundation.
I create the basis for a productive, healthy, happy day (and life).
I create freedom. Freedom knowing that I have done my 'chores' for the day. Freedom knowing I have added value to my body. Freedom knowing that I have a plan, a map for the day ahead.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said:
“If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening my axe"
Planning and preparation is another reason my my morning routine is so powerful. Every day I work. I am self employed - I don't have a boss giving me jobs for the day. I have to create them.
Just like an athlete goes through the same warmup before every training and every race, I go through my morning planning session every day before I would.
My morning routine helps me work, helps me be more productive and gives me direction for the day.
They say that willpower in a day is limited. You only have so much of it.
More in the morning, less in the evening.
This is why as a Personal Trainer I would have more clients cancel evening sessions than morning sessions.
It's also why I have my 'boring/painful/repetitive' tasks in my morning routine.
My mobility stretches, my horrible tasty health concoctions, my red light therapy sessions.
All of these are done at the crack of dawn. While my willpower is high and distractions are low...
Nothing kills focus than a smart phone notification. Or an long winded email. Or angry phone call.
So how do you avoid distraction in the morning? Simple, avoid checking emails. Don't turn on the computer. Turn off your phone.
Seems so simple and silly right, but it's oh so powerful.
The emails will be there when you turn on your phone an hour later.
This may seem a little out there, but what you do in the morning (and what you don't do) has a profound impact on your sleep later that night.
Don't believe me? Have a read of this - How to Improve Your Sleep With Morning Sunlight
Ok enough of the inspirational writing, let's say you want to establish a morning routine into your life.
What should it look like, what should you do?
Those are hard questions to answer as everyone lives unique lives with different needs. So instead, I thought I would share my morning routine.
Hopefully you can pull some ideas from this and build your own morning routine for optimal health, productivity, focus and happiness.
So here goes!
Note: If you want a one page printout of this routine please click HERE for a free copy.
For this I use a Geratherm analogue thermometer. You can read why I do this in my article Important: Why You Need To Measure Your Body Temperature
This is the amazing sleep/recovery/activity/health wearable that I reviewed in the article The One Wearable To Rule Them All? Oura Ring Review.
I have been using this ring for two years now and the data I get from my sleep and health is amazing - plus it has an airplane mode so I can disable the transmitter.
You can order the new 2nd Generation Ring at the moment.
For this I use Primal Pit Paste. And you can read why I use natural deodorant in my article - How Your Deodorant Could Ruining Your Sex Life; And Fragrance Has Nothing To Do With It!
Why? Because it's so important for optimal circadian rhythms and sleep later that night.
Learn more in my article How to Improve Your Sleep With Morning Sunlight
Herbs are best taken on an empty stomach. I take two products here:
As mentioned above, I hit my body with morning lights 3 times. This is part two. A 12 minute in ear white light session using the Human Charger device.
Why dedicate so much of my time to Red Light? I reveal all in my article The Fascinating Healing Properties of Red Light Therapy: Rapid Healing, Reduce Wrinkles & Rejuvenate Health
and you can see the benefits I have from doing this in the review Joovv Review - Powerful Results With The Red Light Therapy Device + EMF Levels Tested
Next I do a few mobility exercises and turkish getups.
This only takes me 5 minutes, but gets the heart pumping and takes a few joints through their motions.
I only train once a week, and mobility has been a weak point of mine, so my doing a few minutes every morning I can maintain and even slightly improve my mobility, stability, flexibility and basic movement patterns.
This consists of:
My Oura Ring has finished charging now, so I check my sleep score and also review my readiness and HRV score.
This data helps me track my health, resilience and determines if I should train today or wait another day.
You can read more about this data in my article How To Easily Measure Your Heart Rate Variability.
You can see how I get great Deep sleep scores in my article How To Increase Deep Sleep
And you can learn more about the Oura Ring (and save when ordering through THIS link) in my article - The One Wearable To Rule Them All? Oura Ring Review
I will go for a 20minute walk - ideally barefoot on the beach, but if thats not possible, then a walk through a park or as close to nature as possible (by streams, or in forests etc).
I often take my phone to play a podcast with my Airtube headset, but I will leave my phone on airplane mode all morning.
I just download podcast episodes the night before.
I don't want any distractions during this walk (or in the morning).
I try to physically connect with nature as often as possible throughout the day.
Recipe's vary, but generally it is something from the list in this article - Healthy Breakfast Ideas That Will Keep Your Coach Happy
Herbs are taken on an empty stomach, vitamins and minerals are taken with food.
I'm a big fan of supplements, but I do have a few 'rules'. I cover this in the article - What You Need To Know About Supplements
Typically though I will take:
For this I either use the:
For this I use the Productivity Planner Guide
Finally I will disable Airplane mode and turn on the computer.
I will use my day plan to get started on work.
During the day I follow the productivity tips outlined in this article - 13 Tips to Increase Productivity
Remember, you can download this routine on a one page cheat sheet HERE.
Also, if you want to see this routine in action, be sure to watch the Youtube Video I put together HERE.
Finally, I'd love to hear your:
It would be great to see a what readers do with their mornings. Please leave your morning rituals in the comment box below.
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
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