“Win the morning, win the day.” – Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek
What do you do when you first get up in the morning?
Do you wake up tired and grumpy or with a sense of purpose and excitement?
Do you just go through the motions, or do you make sure you set the foundation for a successful day?
Establishing a morning routine that includes energizing activities can set you up for happiness and success throughout the day.
Win the morning, win the day.
Try any or all of these 10 health-promoting, supercharging activities to kick the morning in the balls:
1. Take a Cold Shower
Nothing will get you activated in the morning quite like an ice cold shower.
According to the legendary Iceman, Wim Hof (the guy who climbed Mt. Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes), “The cold is your warm friend.” He includes cold showers as part of a body/mind transformation program that invloves cold immersion and deep breathing.
I love taking cold showers in the morning because they provide a surge of mental altertness. The cold temperatures will send your body into a healthy state of stress, called eustress. After you have acclimated to the temperature and catch your breath, you will take deeper breaths, thus sending more oxygen to your brain.
In addition, daily cold showers can increase testosterone production, stimulate fat loss, speed up muscle recovery, and even relieve symptoms of depression. Not bad for just turning the knob to the left, eh?
2. Get Some Rays
The sun is your friend. Artificial light, not so much. Your genes, especially in the morning, expect sunlight to hit your retinas.
Sunlight sends an extremely potent signal to your brain that it’s time to wake the F up. It is the primary regulator of your circadian rythym. It has been this way through millions of years of our evolution, as our internal clocks became synced with the rising and setting of the sun.
There are additional health benefits to hitting the great outdoors to start your day. According to one study, early morning sun exposure was also linked to having a lower Body Mass Index (BMI).
Make sure to get 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight each morning. If you live in Northern latitudes or wake up before the sun, invest in a sunlamp of at least 10,000 lux. Regular indoor lighting is not bright enough to have the same effect. That sorry-ass green desk lamp in your office is not going to cut it.
3. Use a Foam Roller for Myofascial Release
If you’re an American, and you work in an office, your posture probably sucks. Terrible posture, along with high levels of stress, creates knots, tightness, and inbalance in the muscles. This is especially true for the muscles of your upper back.
Fascia is a web-like tissue that surrounds muscles, holding them together. This tissue can become bound and tight, and create trigger points in the muscles.
Performing self-myofascial release with a foam roller simply involves rolling over and compressing those tight spots. This can relieve knots and tightness in the muscles, similar to a deep tissue massage.
Foam rolling for a few minutes in the morning is a good way to release tension and blocked energy to jump start your day.
Take it from me, it feels really good.
This site has some good techniques you can use.
Be sure invest in a quality foam roller to get the optimal benefit. I prefer a firm roller with hard ridges to mimic the effects of a deep tissue massage.
4. Brew Some Bulletproof Coffee
Yes, Bulletproof Coffee.
Created by Dave Asprey, Bulletproof Coffee is a “high performance drink that has a massive impact on your energy and cognitive function.”
I have been making my own generic version of this high-octane fuel since 2013, and I can attest to the benefits.
The recipe is as follows:
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh ground coffee
- 2 tbsp of MCT oil or Coconut Oil
- 1-2 tbsp of grass fed butter or ghee
- Mix in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a foamy latte
In addition to the stimulating effects of the caffeine, the fats in the MCT oil are medium chain fatty acids, which get converted to ketones and used as energy by the brain. The fat in the butter will also keep your blood sugar and energy stable as opposed to eating a high-carb, high-sugar breakfast.
The science backing up the benefits of this exact combination is limited, but from an anecdotal standpoint, brewing coffee this way provides me with more energy in the morning than a traditional cup made with milk and sugar.
I say give it a shot.
5. Run Sprints
I could have just said “work out in the morning,” and you most certainly should. But let’s take that a step further here.
Running sprints are a great way to ramp up production of testosterone and human growth hormone. Like Primal Blueprint author Mark Sisson says, “Nothing cuts you up like sprints.”
They are a quick, high-intensity training option that will burn fat, build muscle, and leave you feeling energized.
Pressed for time? Try Tabata Sprints.
Tabata Sprints are 4 minutes that will totally kick your ass. These aren’t for beginners, so only attempt these if you have a solid base of physical fitness. The premise is this:
- Sprint with all-out effort for 20 seconds, and then
- Rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this cycle 8 times straight for a total of 4 minutes.
How many of these activities are you willing to incorporate into your morning routine?