A Healthy Routine for the Early Riser
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Aristotle once said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”
The great Aristotle had it right. To be a morning person you need to have a healthy morning routine. But a habit is placed in planning in advance and doing it daily, repeatedly and then that becomes a part of your day. Easier said than done, you say? Here are five methods, I partake in, to get an early start for a productive day:
A scheduled bedtime is a must, even for adults.
It's essential to get at least 6 -8 hours of sleep every night. To get into this routine, you must have a “pre-bedtime” ritual that will let you get a good night's sleep. This may vary from person to person, but this is what I do. I typically like to read before I go to bed. Reading helps me relax and eventually I become tired. Also, you must avoid TV/phone before bed. The light from the screen suppresses melatonin. Once you figure out what works best for you to get to sleep on time. Then, it will be easier to wake up in the morning. Morning routines and bed time routines are different for everyone. As you experiment in finding what works for you, seek improvement, not perfection. Give yourself time and be patient with yourself.
Meditate first thing in the morning.
It makes a huge difference! I usually wake up, close my eyes and breathe. Sometimes I will play nature sounds and escape mentally into the jungle. Try it. You will be shocked how at peace you feel. But the power of positive thinking is critical here, and the bed doesn’t just have to be so you can get motivated to go to the gym in the morning. 'Just joking', but it works for a healthier start to your day.
I used to be very anxious and would have a short fuse, but with the power of positive thoughts in the morning and repeating it throughout the day, made my life more at peace with everything I do. You can even sign up to receive motivational quotes on your phone and meditate on it throughout the day. It’s great!
Eat a well-balanced breakfast filled with healthy fats and moderate protein.
So we all know that eating breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I don’t look at it like that. It’s evident that it's essential, but we all function differently. If you are eating before working out, you do not want to stuff your face too much. Again, this is only my opinion. But if you eat about a 500-600 calorie breakfast, you will need to wait 2-3 hours before working out. For some of you, that’s do-able, but for my crazy life with two kids and full working time, I just can’t do that.
There are times; I will do a quick fasting workout where I go straight to the gym in the morning and after I will have a well-balanced meal. Let’s not focus too much on the exact time of the morning you consume your breakfast, as long as you do eat something at some point in the morning. Having a meal in the morning will help you from not having insulin spikes and the urge to eat something that you may regret. Not to mention that we must start hydrating with water throughout the day. This is key as well. An example of a healthy breakfast: Scrambled eggs, onions, packed with all the veggies you can get in there, or you can have a smoothie packed with protein and fruits. It's easy to make, and you’re getting the protein, some carbs and fat as well. Having a well-balanced breakfast will satisfy you longer, and you won’t get those insulin spikes.
Workout it out, work it out.
When it comes to working out in the morning or the evening, everyone is different. For me, I do both, but I am changing my routine a bit and have added my workouts in the morning. It has worked for me and my family's schedule. Try deciding what time of day you prefer working out. However, I do prefer mornings, but any time of the day with at least a 20-minute cardio workout will do your body right.
Hydrate and consume your post-workout meal or shake.
We are so lucky that we have tons of options for ways to hydrate post-workout. Instead of a meal or piece of fruit before workout out, try a protein shake or lemon water. It is recommended to consume at least a cup of water an hour before working out so that you are fully hydrated.
As for a protein shake, I encourage you to try it before your workout. It is said, that having a protein shake provides muscle recovery, and that’s how you’ll see definition, over time.
For a simple protein shake on the go, mix one frozen banana, two scoops of vanilla protein, one scoop of peanut butter or almond butter, almond milk or you can do water with ice (for those who are lactose). This will make a delicious Banana Peanut butter shake.
Keep in mind, this is a healthy morning routine that has worked for me. There are times when this routine does not work for me, and I spend more time meditating because of a change in my schedule for that specific day. The key to successfully meeting your fitness and nutrition goals is playing around with routines, messing up, being patient with yourself and finally finding what works for you.
Remember, what works for me, may not work for you but understand you’re not alone in this journey of becoming a better version of yourself. Keep going at it, be consistent, learn and most of all have fun with it.