What is your morning routine?
I have a very strict morning routine. I wake up at precisely 3:50am, dress in workout attire, drink two glasses of water, and head out the door for a brisk walk with my dogs for an hour.
I’m back home by 5:00am, and I’ll be eating a breakfast that I premade the night before by 5:10. By 5:30am I’m in the truck and driving to the gym. Strength training start at 6:00am, and takes an hour and a half. I’ll be eating meal number two by 8:00am, and I’ll be showered and at my desk with a cup of coffee in hand by 8:50am. Calls begin rolling in at 9:00.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I’ve been doing this routine off and on for almost 20 years. I call this my “game changer” routine. When I begin this kind of programming everything in my life gets simplified and all facets of my life tend to elevate. My energy, my relationships, my business, my finances, my opportunities - any time I feel stagnant in life, I decide it’s time to “change the game” and I employ this program.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
My routine changes as my demands change. But for the most part, I like to stick to this program. I may sometimes have to skip the dog walk portion of the morning, instead going to the gym 90 minutes earlier, at 4:30am, if I have meetings that absolutely have to start at 8:00am or earlier.
What time do you go to sleep?
I shut everything down at 9:00pm and start making my way through my nighttime routine. I’m in bed by 9:45pm at the latest, and sound asleep by 9:50!
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
I always get my clothes for the next day laid out and ready the night before. My brain is foggy in the morning and I would never be able to decide what to wear if I didn’t do this. I hate lights in the morning, so I usually get dressed in the dark!
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
My alarm is the theme music from the original Rocky (1976) movie. When it goes off, I think about the character in the movie training to fight for the championship in only six weeks!
I had the immense privilege to be able to call Sylvester Stallone my “boss” when I was chosen as one of the top trainers in the country to be on his show STRONG in 2016, so I am familiar with all the struggles and perseverance that Sly went through early in his life before making that film. So, no I don’t hit the snooze button (in fact, my goal is to be up and getting ready when the alarm goes off… and usually I am).
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Breakfast usually follows a cardio walk on an empty stomach, or some strength training of some kind. It’s typically at 5:10am, so it’s within 90 minutes of waking up. It’s always the same thing during the week: One cup of organic egg whites, two whole farm fresh eggs, one handful of baby spinach, half a medium tomato (scrambled), and half a cup of oatmeal.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Strength training for an hour and a half, about two hours after waking up.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
This is a great question and it allows me to talk about moving meditation.
Personally I’m not able to do traditional meditation; I always say that a ten minute meditation is a nine minute nap. I like the idea of mindfulness and clearing your head - this is what I do when I’m walking in the mornings. I’m outside way before anyone else, and there is no noise or lights or distractions. It is very dark and I walk four steps inhaling, hold for two steps, and then exhale deeply. I don’t count the steps on the exhale. Exhaling is the follow through. We need to fully allow the lungs to come to a rest and move involuntarily in a reactionary function before we begin to control them. This means that as I walk faster, or as the terrain changes, my exhale changes.
The other thing I do during this period of time is incantations. These are great for clearing your mind of clutter and focusing intently on what you want the theme of the day to be. It is usually a word or phrase that I want to be in the front of my mind all day long. Some people think it is crazy to “manifest” and I have to admit that I also believe that manifestation is a bit of a misnomer - my true belief is that when you put something in the front of your mind and you focus on it, it becomes in your immediate purview and awareness. I tend to believe that everything and everyone we need in our lives already exists and that we just aren’t aware of it. And to a greater extent, people aren’t aware of what they want in their lives. By starting a moving meditation practice you are activating the part of your brain that is responsible for active thinking. So get moving (my rule is to wake up, drink 16-20 oz of water, then walk briskly for a minimum of half an hour).
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
A big portion of my work happens on the East Coast even though I live on the West Coast, but just about everyone I work with knows that if it isn’t an emergency, they aren’t going to get a reply until 8:00am Pacific Time at the earliest.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I don’t even turn on the lights in my home until the sun has come up. I don’t like the forced nature of it. I like to find my “core” of my feeling and focus of the day before I become over stimulated.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I usually check text messages first thing upon waking up. Those who know me know that text is the best way to catch me, and that if there’s an emergency I’ll likely notice it if they text me.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
A big portion of my marketing and branding is done on social media. I’m particularly active on Instagram - I think it tells the most complete story and has the most diverse search system to be able to find useful information.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Water, in the first five minutes upon waking up. Our bodies are respiring all night long and losing water as we breathe deeply while we’re asleep; and since our bodies are 70 percent water it only makes sense that your organs and muscles need to replenish that water first thing in the morning.
How does your partner fit into your morning routine?
She is great about her morning routine too, and feels energized when she gets it in, so I usually wake her up when I come back from my walk so she can start her day.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I allow myself to sleep later on the weekend. I’m usually not awake until 5:30am, and I’ll often take one or both days off from strength training.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
I usually keep to my routine when I’m traveling, with the exception of vacation. The point of a vacation is to rest your mind as much as your body, so I try to do both completely.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
This usually derails my whole day. In these situations I have to be honest with myself and listen to my body. If I need to rest one day, I’ll schedule, adjust, and plan the day accordingly. This usually means waking up at 5:30am and just doing the walk, and taking the day off from the strength work. The key here is in being able to recognize the difference between being lazy and truly needing a rest. If you have balance, taking a brief respite can feel like a huge boost in energy.
Anything else you would like to add?
Most people mistakenly believe that it takes a long time to create noticeable change. This is simply untrue! You can start to see, feel, and notice changes in your energy, sleep, and even your shape in as little as a week if you keep on track. So get going: motivation come from moving!
Our recommended book this week is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. We only recommend three things a week that we believe will be of interest to our readers. Please take a moment to check it out.