“I always put my alarm just out of reach, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off. It’s pure torture, really, but it prevents me from falling back asleep.” – Ali Bonar Share this quote on Twitter

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Ali Bonar

What is your morning routine?

I’m not a morning person… but I’m not a night person, either. I guess you could say I’m an afternoon person? Or more candidly, a “loves to sleep” person? Either way, it’s a daily struggle to peel myself out of bed, so I need all the help I can get.

That said, my morning routine begins the night before: I lay out my workout clothes (bonus points for matching socks… it’s the little things), fill up my water bottle and put it next to my bed (I read somewhere that Jennifer Aniston chugs water in the morning, so I hopped on that train real quick), and set my alarm. I always put my alarm just out of reach, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off. It’s pure torture, really, but it prevents me from falling back asleep. Right before I go to bed, I queue up my Instagram post for the next morning, so I can quickly press “post” without thinking about it.

Fast forward to morning. My alarm usually goes off around 5:00 or 5:30am, depending on the workout class I’ve decided to commit myself to that day. I’m a member at Equinox (I know, I know… but the eucalyptus-scented towels just got me, okay?!) and I’m dabbling with Corepower Yoga, too. The only reason I work out in the AM is because—if I’m lucky—I’m still half-asleep during the class and don’t fully wake up until it’s over (#blessed).

I come home, shower, get ready for work, and I’m out the door by 8:15am. I don’t eat breakfast at home since we have a fully stocked kitchen at work. I walk to work, which takes me around an hour because of 1) San Francisco’s hills and 2) my stubby little legs. I love this time of day though, because I get to catch up on podcasts—I’m currently loving Second Life and The Foodpreneur. If I’m caught up on podcasts, I’ll usually call my mom and dad (the Creators, as I call ’em), who are both living their best lives and traveling the globe. Ah, retirement.

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I’ve been a “morning sweat” kinda gal for about two years now, but this walking-to-work routine is relatively new, since switching neighborhoods a few months ago. I have the attention span of a goldfish (also called “being a millennial”), so I like to shake things up every few weeks to keep it fresh. But for now, this morning routine is workin’ for me.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

It seems like everyone successful meditates in the morning, so I tried it. I ended up falling back asleep and being late to work.

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I go through phases of intermittent fasting, but to be honest with you, I just love to eat. If I’m forced to be at work at the crack of dawn (9:30am) on a Monday, at least feed me, you know?!

What time do you go to sleep?

My party-girl college-self is rolling over in her grave—I’m so boring now. Since I’m up so early, I go to sleep no later than 10:30 or 11:00pm. Yes, I’m serious.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

What kind of creature naturally wakes up at 5:00am?! Yes, I absolutely use an alarm and most of the time I set a second alarm as a backup.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

As someone who is a “food influencer” (I really hate that term—I’m embarrassed to even write it), I’d love to tell you that I make an alkalizing green smoothie with organic kale from my backyard garden… but instead I slug down some coffee & shovel in a few bites of granola butter on the way out the door. One thing that has changed the way I feel, though, is drinking a BIG glass of water before anything else. I read somewhere that you lose about a liter of water just from breathing/sweating during sleep (and I’m a sweaty gal, so for me it’s probably two liters).

Luckily, we have some hard boiled eggs at the office, so I grab two of those once I get in (around 9:30am) with half an avocado and pink Himalayan salt. I usually stick to protein/fat for breakfast to stabilize my blood sugar. I love fruit/carbs, but they really send me on a blood sugar roller coaster, and the protein/fat combo keeps me feeling full and focused.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

If I didn’t workout, I’d be a miserable person to be around. I hate every second while it’s actually happening but feel like a goddess afterwards, so I keep doing it.

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I have a slight obsession with Andy from Headspace (#marryme), but I’ve found that morning meditation results in me falling back asleep, which my boss isn’t too happy about. I love a good post-work meditation, though.

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

I used to check my email 24/7 but found it wasted so much time. Now, I check it right when I wake up (in case of any fires), once after lunch, and right before bed.

Time blocking in general has helped my efficiency immensely—I think context-switching is the downfall of our generation. My phone is on “do not disturb” mode 100% of the time just for this reason.

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

Headspace helps me wind down after work. Living in a city definitely has its pros, but one of the biggest cons is the constant hustle and bustle. I’ve always been the type of person who absorbs the energy of those around me, so by the time I get home I’m just a frenetic hot mess. It’s either meditation or six glasses of wine to wind me down after work, so my liver (and bank account) is forever grateful that Headspace was invented.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Ugh, I’m the worst at this. As soon as my beady little eyes open, the first thing I do is check my phone. I don’t even know what day it is, yet here I am, scrolling Instagram. In my defense, I publish my Instagram posts in the morning, so you know … I “have to.”

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Water. Workout. Coffee. Instagram. Brush hair (extremely optional).

How does your partner fit into your morning routine?

I like to call my partner my “weekend boyfriend,” because he’s a consultant and travels to the East Coast Monday-Friday. It’s amazing. I can watch Great British Baking Show without judgement and he can’t steal the covers if he’s not there. I can also blast my weird music and not feel bad about waking anyone up.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

Once the weekend rolls around, said boyfriend is now in the building so the routine changes a bit. I try so hard to sleep in on weekends, but since I’m up so early during the week I naturally wake up around 8:00am. I’ll either a) go to a workout class if I went to bed early or b) nurse my hung-over body and exist as a pathetic excuse for a human being.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

I travel a lot, both for work and pleasure. So much so, that I’ve developed some travel hacks for my home(s) away from home. I always start the day with a workout, although it never gets easier to motivate myself to go. (Why does working out feel so much harder after traveling?!) I also bring some overpriced powders and potions that my boyfriend says are most definitely placebos, but I ignore him because placebo or not, they make me feel good. Most notably, I love my collagen peptides travel packs and mushroom coffee. Magnesium capsules are great for keeping things movin’, if you know what I mean (hey, travel constipation is real, y’all). Probiotics are also a must to keep your gut in check.

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

Funny you ask this, because I’m currently suffering through my day after a wonky morning routine. Basically, I accidentally fell asleep last night at 7:00pm after lying down to “rest my eyes,” and woke up at 7:00am this morning with my shoes still on. (This hasn’t happened since college.) I haphazardly threw myself together and felt “off” the entire day.

Anything else you would like to add?

Morning routines are great and all, but even more important is making memories with friends and family. I used to avoid social events and nighttime plans because I was afraid it would “throw off my morning routine” the next day. But you know what? Ninety-nine percent of the time (except that one trip to Vegas), I was happy I went.

Go dancing, eat the pizza, be a yes girl. Because at the end of it all, no one looks back on their lives and remembers the nights they stayed in alone and ate a salad.

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