THE MORNING ROUTINE: FIVE STEPS TO JUMP START YOUR DAY
Here are a few tips and tricks I've learned over the years that will make your mornings more enjoyable and productive while making you look and feel better. If you're not a "morning person", this will be your greatest recourse.
1.) Keep your blinds/curtains open. Most people might think this is a little crazy but waking up to the sun beginning to rise is a natural and relaxing way to start your day. It's also typically more enjoyable than an alarm screaming from your iPhone. You'll feel more awake than waking up to a blacked out room.
2.) Drink a glass of cold water immediately upon waking. It's an incredibly easy way to speed up your metabolism and hydrate. Fill a glass with ice and let it sit overnight on your bedside table. By the time morning comes around, the ice will have melted and you'll have perfectly cold water. A nice life hack, especially for mornings after late nights and a few drinks.
2.) Stretch and do a light workout. Getting up and going to the gym in the morning is a pain that takes time away from enjoying the start of your day. It's not the actual workout that steals time, it's the driving to the gym, parking at the gym, and checking in at the gym that I hate. But that feeling of accomplishment after some physical activity is still needed and appreciated in the AM, which is why I'm a big enthusiast of the "bedroom workout". I recommend buying a kettlebell at your local sports store (should only cost around $50) and get a weight somewhere around 25 lbs and 50 lbs---whatever you can handle.
The best workout is the simple kettlebell swing, which pretty much works out your entire body besides your chest. It's illustrated nicely in this incredibly cheesy and lame video by CrossFit. I'd suggest muting your computer though, as the song they chose to accompany the instruction is "Butterfly" by Crazy Town. I'm not joking.
Do this until you feel like you can't do it anymore---and then do five more. If you want to work in some chest, do some pushups at the end. This will take no longer than ten minutes of your time and should bring you to a pretty decent sweat.
3.) The next step is the "as cold as it can get" shower. You'll never need coffee again after discovering the ice shower, as it wakes you up like a foghorn no matter how exhausted you might be. Because your body should be pretty warm from the quick "bedroom workout", you'll want to make sure you go directly from workout to shower so you can capitalize on the desire to cool down. A cold shower also helps fight against depression, keeps skin clean and healthy and strengthens immunity all while increasing testosterone, fertility, energy and well being. Not bad.
4.) Eating breakfast in the morning couldn't be more important and I suggest eating within 30 minutes of waking up, which will really jump start your day. Ditch the quick eats like cereal, granola bars, and Pop Tarts and opt for a protein-based meal like eggs, veggies and a meat like ham or bacon. Having a nice, big, tasty breakfast is something to look forward to every morning---which will make getting out of bed that much easier.
5.) Relax. Set some time away in the morning, at least a half hour, to catch up on SportsCenter, read your favorite blogs, pick up a magazine or tune in to that TV show you're marathoning on Netflix. You can enjoy the things you typically enjoy at the end of the day at the beginning of your day, too.