(Breather) There’s no doubt that having healthy, productive morning habits is good for you. Having the “perfect” morning routine is often touted as a great solution to so many problems, the clear, unobstructed pathway to a better life: all you have to do is wake up, meditate for 22 minutes, have your wheatgrass shot and make your superfood smoothie (10 minutes), get dressed and ready for your day (15 minutes), then write in your gratitude journal for 7 minutes, then you’re out the door with 5 minutes to spare and ready to conquer the world!

OK, so we can agree that all that is a little stressful, right? Especially with social media these days! It can be overwhelming when you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see someone detailing their very specific, impressive, fancy morning routine, and you’re like wait – what? Should I be adding some of that into my coffee? What else am I missing out on? The answer is nothing…. While some people may thrive off having a perfectly regimented, planned out schedule where every 3 minutes is dotted in, the most important component of a good morning routine is that it includes what works specifically for you. A good morning routine means something different for everyone, but, if you want to get inspiration from a seriously impressive one, then check out my show with Dave KobrineThe Morning Routine King, who starts his day at 4am with a two-hour meditation!  

It’s no secret that I love a cold plunge, and it’s my favorite way to start the day, but if that doesn’t seem like it could be your thing, at least check out this video I made giving you the brief low down on the benefits, which are impressive and may tempt you into taking the plunge: our hormonal/nervous system responds to brief cold-water exposure with a reset effect that energizes your body at the cellular level, boosting your immune function and stimulating a spike in adaptive hormones like testosterone. 

The most important takeaway is that your routine consists of proactive, deliberate behaviors that you repeat day after day until it becomes habit. I have a morning flexibility/mobility ritual for injury prevention that I do every morning immediately after waking up, without fail. It’s become such an ingrained part of my morning that if I skip it for whatever reason, I have to loop back and complete the sequence of exercises or I feel off/out of sorts – the absence of this habit is noticeable, and that’s what it’s all about: you want these proactive, deliberate behaviors to become an ingrained part of your morning, as simple as brushing your teeth – it really is that simple. But it’s the repetition that will get you there – the key words are deliberate and proactive for a reason. And don’t forget to get sufficient sleep – after all, how are you supposed to have a productive morning if you don’t have any energy to run on? A good morning routine is important, so think about works for you, and work at implementing it every day, until it settles into the kind of habitual behavior that you don’t even need to think about anymore! 

TIMESTAMPS:

Start the day with this routine. [01:28]

Many sources have ideas they promote. You need to do your own thing. [04:40]

There are wonderful hormonal benefits from cold therapy. [07:09]

Establish a routine of proactive, deliberate behavior that you repeat day after day. [09:18]

Get sufficient sleep. [10:24]

Movement is #2 on the list of routine suggestions. [14:13]

Exposure to cold is #3. [15:28]

Hydration is extremely important. [17:44]

What will be on your to-do list? [19:29]

Meditation or enjoying the family are important morning rituals. [21:50]

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Get Over Yourself Podcast

Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.

Brad: 01:28 We want to begin our day in a pro active mindset. Take control folk at the little bit. Spend a few minutes. Really can be one minute or less, but have some quiet time to reflect on your top priorities of the day and thought things out. Movement is number two. If you’re keeping score at home. Number one, it gets the fishing fleet, get your sleep habits dialed, and then number two move. We want to wind things down, especially in the final two hours where you’re using mellow light sources, so your home, is it’s dark, it’s possible? Maybe you’re dawning yellow or orange tinted lenses to block out the harmful spectrum of blue light on the UV spectrum that comes from regular light bulb or eliminated green that is depressing things likeMelatonin and for stress hormones in the evening time.

Brad: 02:28 Brad [4:40] Let’s talk about morning routines, so interesting, so important. So over hyped these days. Do you agree? Are we hearing that? Morning routines, everything. Oh, we have a bestselling book called make your bed that I already made fun of on another show. Not that it doesn’t have great content, but let’s not get overblown here. Even if you have a kick ass morning routine, you still have to go out into your busy day and kick ass. But I thought I would give some practical, doable, reasonable tips to get a morning routine in place that can really help you. And you’re listening to a guy who is not much for routines, not big on them. I kind of go with the flow every single day. I’m doing my own thing in the workplace. So I have a lot of flexibility and freedom that’s made me who I am today for better or for worse, a lot of times for worse. But I feel that some morning routine elements that I’ve put into high gear in the last couple of years have had a wonderful impact on my productivity throughout the day. So I wanted to share those with you. This show is inspired by my friend Eddie Bee, faithful listener, childhood friend, looking for, give me some feedback saying, hey, how about some practical actionable tips not only from my guests, and I’ll try to drill down with these guys, uh, at future shows, but also some things that you can listen to and go try out tomorrow because we’re talking about morning routines. Okay. So yeah, sifting through the hype and all the blather about these perfect routines from these perfect people, especially the thought leaders in the business leaders who throw down their heavy proclamations that if you do this, this is going to be the secret to success in your life. And you too can build a $1 billion company from, nothing just, if you drink this yeast smoothie every morning with whey and wheat grass and then meditate for 27 minutes, no more, no less outdoors by your fountain that you have to rig up with a pump from Home Depot.

Brad: 07:09 Oh my gosh. You know what I’m saying? Okay. So my first and most emphatic suggestion here is to do your own thing and don’t feel intimidated by the proclamations and the people out there with incredible enthusiasm for their way and it’s so fantastic. And that includes me. I’m the biggest chest freezer, cold plunge enthusiast. You can go and look at my youtube video and learn about the benefits of cold therapy and a little demo for me jumping into the freezer tub. But if that’s not your thing, hey, think about it, absorb the information, maybe dabble in it. Start with taking cold showers. It does have some wonderful hormonal benefits. So I’m going to cover that as one of the steps, just some exposure to cold, a hormetic stressor for your body. Since we’re living in this comfortable temperature controlled environment day and night. It’s very good for you, very healthy, but you don’t have to feel intimidated if someone, one ups you with their morning routine.

Brad: 08:09 It’s hard for anyone to top Dave Kobrine’s morning routine and listened to my show. It’s so fabulous what he does every single morning. It is time consuming, but it’s very inspiring to try to take bits and pieces at least and do something for yourself every day. Ah, Jeez. Same with Deepak Chopra where he relates that every morning from 4:00 to 6:00 AM is his meditation time, so that’s inspiring. Kudos to him. I don’t think that’s going to be my thing from four to six. Maybe I’m missing out, but we want something that feels doable and comfortable to you and it’s not going to be perfect. It’s not going to happen every single morning and keep that in mind. When you look at the promoters talking about their awesome morning routine, I wonder sometimes, do you ever have a teenager who texts you with a lost password interrupting your morning routine? How bout a lonely chatty neighbor that wants to talk, talk, talk and keep you behind schedule g, do you ever have some fun and depart from your best laid plans?

Brad: 09:18 Do I hear about Hanky Panky in the morning, throwing you behind schedule and making you forget your dry cleaning and getting you stressed out a little bit, but hey man, plan B is okay sometimes going with the flow sometimes, but what we want to establish here is a baseline, a routine of proactive, deliberate behaviors that you repeat day after day until it becomes a habit until it becomes automatic. My favorite example is my morning flexibility mobility ritual that I have on youtube. You can look at the video. This is just a customized routine that I do to help with injury prevention and flexibility for my crazy stuff that I’m doing like sprinting and high jumping, but it’s something I do immediately upon waking up every single day without fail. Sometimes an abbreviated version from what you see on the video. Nevertheless, it’s become habit to the extent that if I skip it or I’m interrupted for whatever reason, I have to loop back and complete the sequence of exercises.

Brad: 10:24 Otherwise I’ll feel out of sorts, like I’m missing something. I want it to be in the same category as brushing your teeth and all these other habitual behaviors. So let’s go down a short list, one by one and help you develop an awesome and sustainable morning routine. Number one, get sufficient sleep. If you’re having to hit the snooze button over and over, something is wrong. Our bodies are designed to wake up feeling refreshed and energized near the time of the rising of the sun in your area throughout the year. That’s our hormonal processes, our circadian rhythm, the Spike of Serotonin in the suppression of Melatonin in the spike of Cortisol. All these programmed hormonal responses to the sunrise to the light of day getting you up and at’em, and if you feel like crap, let’s go back and look at your evening patterns, particularly the excess artificial light and digital stimulation after dark.

Brad: 11:32 So we want to wind things down, especially in the final two hours where you’re using mellow light sources. So your room, your home is as dark as possible. Maybe you’re donning some yellow or orange tinted lenses to block out the harmful spectrum of blue light on the UV spectrum that comes from regular light bulbs or uh, eliminated screens that’s suppressing Melatonin and spiking stress hormones in the evening time. Then you have a crappy night’s sleep, can’t get out of bed in the morning. So, uh, personally I don’t understand the snooze button. I’m not a big fan. I’d rather sleep in peace until the absolute last second rather than go through this ordeal of having to reach over and turn the thing off over and over. Maybe you’ll disagree and you like a different pattern. Uh, but generally speaking, what should happen in the morning is that we should have a predominance of REMcycles and fewer or fewer duration of the deep sleep cycles in contrast to the beginning of our evening sleep time period where we have longer deep sleep cycles and shorter REM cycles.

Brad: 12:49 That’s why if you go to bed too late, you can’t really make up for it by sleeping in because those deep sleep cycles are critical. Earlier in the evening time at your program, bedtime of 10, 30, 11:00 PM, whatever it is. So in the morning we should be arising out of a REM cycle. That’s rapid eye movement when we’re just lightly asleep and dreaming rather than a big log on the bed that has to be shaken over and over. So it should be easy to wake up and feel pretty decent. I’m not saying you have to be Jack Lalaine and pop out of bed singing a song and launching into some jumping jacks, but you should feel pretty decent. Look at your evening routine. If not, look at the medications and the substances you’re ingesting. If you’re having problems, feeling decent, getting out of bed, uh, particularly the sleep prescriptions or over the counter preparations designed to help you sleep. Uh, oftentimes what they do is knock you out, but they interfere with the efficient cycling through the various stages of sleep throughout the night. Same with dosing on alcohol before you go to bed. And same with assorted prescription medications that can compromise healthy, authentic, natural sleep.

Brad: 14:13 So try to clean up your act, have a nice dark, mellow evening, and then wake up feeling pretty decent and then go right into some form of movement. This will help you wake up and feel alert and energized and happy, even better than a strong cup of coffee. We want to get the blood flowing and the oxygen circulating throughout the body with a gentle sequence of movements, gentle because you’ve been sleeping all day. So jumping jacks, maybe not gonna work for you, but whatever it is, movement is number two. If you’re keeping score at home, number one is get sufficient sleep, get your sleep habits dialed, and then number two move. So it could be the famous sun salute sequence of exercises that are familiar to yoga practitioners. It could be heading out to the driveway to pick up the paper or leashing up the dog to take the dog out for early morning business. Whatever it is, you want to do some form of movement right away. As soon as you wake up, especially if you’re feeling a little drag ass, just getting into some movements will help you feel better, feel more alert, feel energized.

Brad: 15:28 Number three on the list I’m going to put right after movement is exposure to cold. When you get this hormetic stressor, you get a burst of nor epinephrin. That puts you in a good mood. It gets you focused and energized. It has profound effects on brain function, mood, alertness, and as Dr. Patrick describes in her beautiful detailed paper that you can find for free on found my fitness.com.

Brad: 15:56 You can download this 26 page hardcore pdf with all kinds of science touting the benefits of cold exposure. Also watch my short video on youtube where I jump in the tank chest freezer and talk some of the talking points about cold exposure. But this nor epinephrin boost is a wonderful way to wake up in the morning. It’s natural, it’s healthy, and even a short term exposure to cold. Uh, the study referenced by Dr. Patrick was 20 seconds of exposure into 40 degree water boosted nor epinephrin for a couple hours, up to 200 to 300%. So everyone knows that invigorating sensation of jumping in the lake or whatever you’re doing, jumping in the river and feeling refreshed and energized as soon as you pop out. So do something like that first thing in the morning. Of course, I’m big fan of the chest freezer cold therapy, but not to intimidate you or confused you. Just try a cold shower as your morning exposure to cold practice. And what you can strive to do is finish up your shower with one to two minutes of all the way cold exposure, the coldest water you can get. Uh, my Gosh, you’ll get out of there feeling refreshed and energized and I just gave you permission to start with a warm shower as normal. But we want to put our body under some sort of temperature stress to avail these wonderful hormonal benefits, especially since we’re living in this artificial temperature controlled environment all day long. It’s not good for the body. It kind of causes atrophy in various homeostatic mechanisms that are important, uh, for handling all forms of stress and boosting immune function and all that great stuff. So we’re going to get in the shower, have that final one to two minutes of cold exposure.

Brad: 17:44 The next one on the list is hydrate. And I’m throwing this on the list purely out of peer pressure because I’m hearing so many, uh, knowledgeable, enthusiastic people tout this as such a big deal. Ben Greenfield, Kelly Starr at two recent guests on the show. Dave Kobrine in the same right up there, the big three. Oh my goodness. What is this? It’s such a big deal, first thing in the morning to hydrate because your body’s dehydrated overnight. Makes a lot of sense. I would love to see some science proving this is true. Uh, it’s never been a big concern of mine, but now I’m definitely on board with the hydration scene. So as soon as you wake up, uh, get yourself a nice big glass of water and add some of these popular things that people are touting is some lemon juice, I guess for digestion. And the antioxidant benefits so you can put some fresh lemon squeezed in there. A little bit of vinegar are supposed to help with a fat metabolism and especially a great form of salt, like real salt, my favorite. That’s a brand coming from natural mineral salt, Himalayan pink salt, sea salt, a good quality, a salt that will go into the water and then help with the uh, osmolity. The hydration effect of the water will be improved if you add some sodium. If you just slam a big drink of plain water, it’s possible that you will just pee a lot of it out because it doesn’t have the proper, uh, sodium balance. So if you add the sodium, it will be more likely absorbed by the tissues throughout your body that want to be hydrated first thing in the morning. How about that?

Brad: 19:29 Next the to do list. Hmm. Throw in that in there. After we’ve done all our good physical self body care. So echoing many great peak performers on the planet, we want to begin our day in a proactive mindset. Take control, focus a little bit, spend a few minutes. Really can be one minute or less, but have some quiet time to reflect on your top priorities of the day and sort things out in writing or in digital form. I like to use the notes APP, the yellow a notes application where your iPhone and your desktop device or laptop are synced. When you add something to notes, it goes across to the other platforms. Wonderful. Or you can just have a a spiral notepad, handy dandy printed notepad, but make sure that this thing is given a precious sacred status in your life. Okay. And that you’re constantly referring to your to do list, updating it, revising it, and using it as a guide so that you don’t get pulled away from your top priorities of the day by the hyper-connectivity and the hectic pace and the constant over stimulation that we face in daily life, especially give your brain a break and empty it out of all these obligations to remember every little thing. I can’t tell you how many times I have failed to remember the most basic of tasks because I asked my brain to remember it for me without writing it down or memorializing it on a to do list. Oh, who am I taking after Albert Einstein? Man, remember his famous quote? He says, I don’t know my telephone number because I can easily look it up in the phone book. In other words, he didn’t want to burden his wonderful brain with memorizing his telephone number. Oh, I love that. Okay, so take it easy on yourself. Don’t trust yourself to remember all these little tidbits and obvious things that you think you should remember. Just write them down and keep a wonderful, powerful to do list. Then as we get down the list, I told you it was going to be simple, brief, and doable. Uh, fill in the blank to something that’s important to you.

Brad: 21:50 Maybe this is your chance to go and do your meditation exercise for 27 minutes next to your outdoor fountain. Maybe this is the time where you go wake up the kids or have a precious few moments of chatting with a loved one before you go on with your busy day. Maybe it’s time to eat your chosen morning meal. If you’re all about that or prepare something like you’re going to eat it later, but it’s part of your morning ritual. Dave Cobra and mentioned his smoothie that he makes a every morning as part of his sequencing through that cold exposure and the morning stretching and calisthenics and then the sunrise jog. Got The smoothie going in there, putting it in the fridge, using it later if you like to read the morning newspaper or do the crossword puzzle. These are all excellent morning rituals that keep you in a focused, proactive mindset. Even doing your hair and makeup or foam rolling your injury or doing your stretching exercises, whatever it is, a deliberate form of self care will be a great idea to kind of finish off this distinct morning routine. And then of course you can open the floodgates of technology and hyper-connectivity as soon as you pick up that phone, you know where things head from there, who knows what direction. It’s absolute chaos and distraction, at least in my life, I’m noticing it. Uh, I know it exists and I’m feeling the pain. I’m acknowledging the problem, trying to do something about it. And I think the very, very best thing you can do is to start out the start of the day in that proactive mindset away from technology, away from connectivity with the outside world, and then build your momentum, build your skills and let this thing be a centerpiece of your daily life.

Brad: 23:56 Brad 24.90

Brad: 23:56 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback and get over yourself. podcast@gmail.com and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.

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