At the last Barbell Business Worksop, I had quite a few fellow gym owners asking about my morning routine and how it’s even possible to do when you have a young one in the house. Enough have asked, so I’ll share a few thoughts here.
When most people think of their morning routine, usually thoughts of sleeping to the last moment, shuffling kids out the door or countless other rushed tasks come to mind. And I’m not going to lie. that was me too up until about 5 years ago. I wasn’t very consistent with it, but I tried to start carving some time out for myself in the mornings before the day really got going. Usually, this time was spent getting a head start on planning my day or jumping straight into emails or whatever. Basically, I was just starting my day earlier. I accomplished a few more tasks…. But it was just more of the same. No real self-development.
I stumbled across a book called The Miracle Morning and it was all about truly taking time for yourself to get your mind and body right BEFORE getting into the work of the day. If you haven’t read it, it’s a good one to take down in an audiobook at 1.5x speed. After absorbing the book, I put together my fist Morning Ritual… Not routine as in the same old stuff, but rather a series of things I did to center myself. Basically, I copied the book I read at first. It recommended meditation, reading, exercise and journaling as way to get your mind and body right. Your Morning Ritual should be exactly how you want it. What works for one person will be different from the next but, I’ll share with you what my current mornings look like.
- 5:00Am – Wake up. Down a glass of water
- 5:15 – 6:00am – Read
- 6:00 – 6:15 – Journal
- 6:15 – 6:30 – Meditation
- 6:30 – 7:00am – Movement
Now I’m no guru here, but I’ll share with you a few thoughts on each of my steps:
This was the hardest part for me. I have never enjoyed reading. My comprehension levels sucked on any topic that was complex or boring. The problem I had always faced was that the information I was actually interested in, Business, was both complex and boring… Perfect! My desire to read more really kicked in when I tuned into the Barbell Business podcast. These were people that I could relate to. They were reformed gym rats like myself and spoke about business the way I do… They talked about the things I was interested in and were always mentioning books. So I went out and bought every book they recommended all at once. This was it. I was going to be a reading all-star.
I busted open the first book The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes and it happened…. I realized I still sucked at reading. In a last effort to figure out how to enjoy reading, I went to the internet machine a searched something like Learn to Read more. I shit you not, what I found changed everything in the reading game for me.
I stumbled upon an app/website called UDEMY. They have tons of video lectures from “Subject matter experts” on anything you can imagine. The Course I took for $15 was How to Become a Learning Machine and read 300 books in one year. It literally changed my ability to absorb the info I was trying to get out of the book. I won’t go into detail here, but if you struggle to read but know you want to read, check it out. I can honestly say it was the best $15 I’ve ever spent. I’m currently on my 27th book since Feb 1, 2016. That’s not 300 but, its 27 more than the total I have read since high school.
This is also fairly new to me. There are a million different things to write about and ways to do it, but I could never be consistent with writing in the past. The game plan now is to just keep it simple. I write about 3 things every morning.
- My thoughts on the book that I was just reading. This is also a part of the reading program to help retention.
- What I’m grateful for. No matter how hard things can be sometimes, there’s always something to be grateful for. Focus on those. Stay positive and don’t dwell on the grind for this moment.
- Of all the shit I need to do, what are the 2 tasks that I need to do today that will have the greatest impact on the end game and why. This keeps me laser focused on my high-value activities for the day. As Greg Mckeown writes in his book Essentialism, it helps me focus on the vital few while avoiding the trivial many.
Shit… I don’t know. I’m trying. It sounds silly, but I just try to exist. I don’t want to think about anything other than focusing on every inch of my body. As I focus on feeling my fingertips or my toes it allows me to stop thinking of the world or the tasks for the day. I’ve tried guided meditation but haven’t found anything I connected with. In fact, I found some so corny that I got aggravated instead of relaxed. “You are now on a spaceship”! What? No… I’m sitting on my couch… What do you mean I’m on a spaceship? At a Barbell Business workshop, Michael Bledsoe shared some thoughts and “hacks” to help in the practice of meditation. One was a breathing technique call the Wim Hof Method. I won’t try to explain it, but it really helped. There are a ton of videos out there. Search it if you are interested.
Every Morning I do a quick, mainly bodyweight program I call my Morning 500. It’s just 10 movements each at 50 reps. Start at the top and go 1 time through. I change my movement portion up every so often. This is definitely not my workout for the day. Heavy lifts are later. At a recent workshop, I heard several people express the same concern about exercising in the morning. They can’t do it because they have children and once the noise wakes them up, it stops their morning ritual dead in its tracks. I ran into that same issue. I have a 6-year-old son that is developing a real passion for fitness (yessssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!) Sorry… Shit makes me happy. When I first started my Morning Ritual, I tried to have my movement section in the beginning. It made sense to get my blood pumping to wake me up…. It never failed, no matter how quiet I was, Chase always woke up… So, I made some changes. Now the movement portion is at the end. Obviously, I still wake up my son, but it’s a good thing. Now I have music on and I don’t even try to keep quiet. As I said, My Morning 500 is body weight or can be. Now when my son wakes up, I get some quality time with him. Chase comes in and jumps in with me. I get to combine 2 of my favorite things… Spending time with my son and fitness… Perfect! If your child interrupts your Morning Ritual, plan for it… embrace it… turn it into some quality time.
When I first started my Morning Ritual, I tried to have my movement section in the beginning. It made sense to get my blood pumping to wake me up…. It never failed, no matter how quiet I was, Chase always woke up… So, I made some changes. Now the movement portion is at the end. Obviously, I still wake up my son, but it’s a good thing. Now I have music on and I don’t even try to keep quiet. As I said, My Morning 500 is body weight or can be. Now when my son wakes up, I get some quality time with him. Chase comes in and jumps in with me. I get to combine 2 of my favorite things… Spending time with my son and fitness… Perfect! If your child interrupts your Morning Ritual, plan for it… embrace it… turn it into some quality time.
By no means am I a Morning Ritual guru. There are a million ways to set your morning up. However you do it, just make sure you are spending time on you. Not your job…. On you! The best investment you can make is in making sure your body and mind are in tune. Spending a little time on yourself daily can set you up for a more productive, efficient and fulfilling life. I know I know… “But you get up so early” It’s hard the first few days, but just do it. Get your ass out of bed and invest in yourself.
– Charles Boyett