Good morning, Adrienne here. We’ve had quite a few clients and friends relay both a desire to exercise and a frustration that it just never seems to get done, with their plan to walk or get to the gym being usurped by other duties or unforeseen issues.
“I wish I had the willpower of my neighbor/best friend/former President who got up every morning to exercise.”
“The problem is that I don’t have time, with all of the work and running around in the evenings, my best intentions to exercise fall apart. I’m just too tired in the evenings.”
“I don’t like to exercise, but I know I should do it.”
What does obstacles with exercise have to do with a morning routine? Glad you asked – everything. Particularly as a solution for all of the obstacles listed above. A hot yoga studio instructor once shared this maxim: “at 6 A.M., the only obstacle standing between me and my workout is ME; by 6 P.M. all sorts of obstacles exist to prevent me from working out.” We’ve taken this to heart and pushed our perfectionist tendency out of the way in order to create a personalized morning routine that works.
How we Started
You may remember our Experiment in Early Rising & Exercise during which myself and a couple of associates woke up early in order to get our 6am boxing class in. Even with the tremendous benefits of better energy and feeling accomplished with having knocked out our exercise, it wasn’t sustainable for us. Why? Well, the day doesn’t often end to where being in bed and sleeping by 9pm is very feasible. Waking up at 5am and not being able to eat much before a strenuous workout and driving to and from the gym, especially in the cold weather, make it oh-so-unappealing. Sure, we got past it a few times, with the help of short-lived WILLPOWER, but it didn’t last and it wasn’t long before staying in bed longer won out. At the same time, I set up all sorts of good intentions to exercise in the evenings. Riiiight.
Typical story, right? We’re all human. We rationalize and make promises and tell ourselves “the diet/exercise starts on Monday, for real this time.”
What’s the Solution?
Well we learned about all sorts of fancy morning routines from CEOs of companies like Virgin to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins…and some of these were 2-3 hours long(!!) – definitely not reasonable for most of us. So I created my own ‘perfect,’ flexible morning routine. Here’s what I’ve been doing for over the past month in the 30 minutes between waking up and being ready to go:
At 7am – alarm goes off, do morning hygiene routine
7:05am – without allowing myself to think about this for long (and find excuses), I begin with my strength-training routine. On this day it was the following:
- 25 squats
- 12 full push-ups
- 35 sit-up combo -as seen in this video
I did 2 sets of these. It took less than 6 minutes; I no longer have any excuses not to do this.
On this day, my hair was an easy fix and so I washed my face, did a hot towel scrub, and applied my favorite face cream. (4 minutes)
7:15am – let face cream soak in as I meditate for 5 minutes
7:20am – gather water bottle, purse, work bag, and breakfast and/or lunch
7:30am – ready to go
Though I’m generally now an early riser, I frequently adjust my wake time to 30 minutes before I need to leave the house. So if I get to ‘sleep in’ until 7:30am or even 8am, I’ll adjust waking time accordingly.
I have my basic skincare routine & hair routine down to a science. Skincare routine is 3 minutes (washing face and applying my favorite face cream); my current haircut works with my hair and so a basic combing may be all that is needed. I seldom wear makeup anymore but this would add another 3-5 minutes.
Hot towel scrub versus a shower; determine which you need on any given day. For me, a shower is a 10-minute affair. To ensure still leaving on time, I’d have breakfast prepared the night before.
Breakfast; if I have time to eat at home, I will. Otherwise I typically make a smoothie or prep muesli the night before to bring with me. For when I have an extra glorious 5-10 minutes and the ingredients on hand, I might have avocado toast….or even moka pot coffee.
Weekdays vs. weekends. This is generally my weekday routine; my weekend one can stretch to about 2 hours, especially with some reading involved and freshly-made breakfast.
Now that I’ve created a customized morning routine, I’m sad I didn’t begin it earlier in life (oh, to have missed out on the frantic running around looking for keys, skipping breakfast and/or lunch, and road aggravation at the drivers in front of me who were ‘blocking my way’ to getting to somewhere on time). Peace, my dear friends and clients, is a gift we can give ourselves with a morning routine.
The key is making your morning routine work for YOU. If you need 45 minutes or an hour to incorporate a leisurely breakfast, straightening your hair, or reading an inspiring text, do it.
Have you started your own morning routine? How does yours run?
Curious and want to capitalize on your mornings? We’ll help you build your own morning routine, whether in a future session or upcoming blog, so stay tuned!