Erika Serow is President and US CEO of Sweaty Betty, one of Britain’s most popular fitness brands for women, where she oversees all aspects of the company’s growing US business. She currently lives in New York City.
What is your morning routine?
I usually wake up at 6:45am, depending on my plans for the morning (if I’m doing a class, I wake up at 6:30am). I listen to five minutes of news radio before my alarm actually goes off, and I give myself one snooze, which means that I actually get up at 7:00am.
I really try to get more than seven hours of sleep a night. It’s better for you than any skin cream, energy shot, or superfood. I religiously listen to NPR/WNYC in the morning. I’m a complete news junkie, but I try not to read it on my phone because it leads me to check my email, which forces me to get distracted and lose my whole morning. If I’m really planning ahead or don’t go for a workout, I will eat breakfast at home. If not, I buy a smoothie.
I have a five-minute walk to work. This is a big perk of picking the office location. I scan my emails on the way over looking for things that need to be responded to quickly. And I definitely check our @sweatybetty Instagram account to see which posts have been tagged overnight. If our Flatiron store team is in early, I say hi to them on my way upstairs to the office that’s located just above. Most mornings, I have a meeting at 9:00am with the UK teams, and off we go…
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
In jest, I don’t do a lot of experimentation before 7:00am…
What time do you go to sleep?
I aspire to go to sleep before 11:00pm, but more realistically, it’s closer to midnight.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
If I’m trying to get out the door fast, I will pack for the next day the night before - workout gear and clothes to change into, plus toiletries and makeup for going straight from a class.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
Yes, and yes.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
Not immediately. When I eat at home, I have fitness bread with avocado mash, lemon, chili flakes, scrambled eggs, and cheddar - it’s delicious. Fitness bread is some European-torture-device type of bread that I’m sure is full of all sorts of nutritional goodness (it’s from Whole Foods) and looks a bit like wet cardboard. It grows on you and is especially delicious with the combination of things I mentioned above.
When I eat on the go (the majority of the month), I have a vanilla protein smoothie at Juice Press - hold the coconut nectar, add kale…
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I always prefer to get in a workout in the morning if I can. These days, I’m most likely to get out of bed for AKT. I’m completely uncoordinated, but it’s a really great workout and a lot of fun.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I deliberately don’t check or answer email until after I’ve walked out of my front door, otherwise I don’t leave. With our headquarters in the UK, I’m guaranteed to have 20-30 emails waiting for me by the time I wake up.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I use the Sleep Cycle app to track my sleep. It gives me a quality score, and I like to track the progress. While I have no idea what it’s based on, I really love to get scores over 90 percent. There’s nothing like waking up and feeling like you’ve already won!
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
After I leave my home.
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Due to the time difference in working with our UK team, it’s most important to respond to and clear emails that have come in overnight.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Room temperature water. Always water. Nothing else. I’m pretty evangelical when it comes to my belief that the best secrets to health, happiness, and young-looking skin are lots of water and eight hours of sleep.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
I usually sleep until 8:30am or so on weekends. I have a session with my trainer at 10:00am on Saturdays, and I try to be pretty religious about a 9:30am Soul Survivor class on Sundays.
What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?
My routine is fluid enough and I travel enough that I’m not thrown off when I miss it. However, getting less than six hours of sleep has an immediate impact on my mood, my acuity, and my eating habits for the day.
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