I feel like it is the right time to be writing about this
I am currently enjoying the home straight of a massive U-turn in my life. Growing up I may have been guilty of developing a reputation as a big sleeper, which is great and healthy when applied in the right measure to an active person, but lying in and waiting until the very last second to leave the house each and every morning has its many drawbacks. I have a very different approach nowadays…now that I’m a proper grown up man n’all, I cherish an earlier rise to allow for a morning routine that sets me up on the front foot every day (and life is MUCH better for it) – here I want to share with you the pitfalls of the relentless ‘Lyer- Inner’ and the endless benefits of the ‘Rise N Shiner’.
Observing: The Lyer-Inner of old…
Back in the day, my morning routine would be thus:
1: Wake up as late as possible to allow a simple shower and dash out the door with mobile food in hand. On with day….
2: (I guess there is no second part to this routine?!?!).
The only other elements to add here would be a robotic zombie like check of social media, my emails and the news as I prepare to take on the delights of London public transport just at the time most people are looking to do the same.
The result is that I have left the house with an under nourished and dehydrated body who’s first task is to start reacting to external forces that will ultimately shape my mood for the day, alter my hormone balances and almost guarantee a lower level of personal productivity and performance until I go to sleep….only to repeat the horror show the next day. Does this seem rather familiar? Perhaps you’re thinking ‘what’s the big deal?’…
…well let me explain my rationale.
Doing all the above on a regular basis can lead to a physical frame with less muscle and more body fat relative to what you deserve as an active and healthy individual. Why?
- – Firstly, you haven’t eaten a decent meal in a long while by the time you wake up in the morning, your body NEEDS to be nourished properly. Refined or processed convenience foods simply won’t do because you can guarantee they will be lacking in the required nutrients to get you into a thriving state (Remember…the goal is to ‘Thrive not Survive!’), in fact they will also contain a whole host of unpredictable nasties that will hijack any physical progress you are trying to make – if you haven’t made your breakfast completely from scratch, you really don’t have a full idea of what could be in there regardless of label claims!
- – Secondly, the stress hormone Cortisol is being encouraged to flourish from the second you are; startled by your alarm clock, right through to reading the first frustrating email of the day oozing of a colleagues own personal frustration, on to checking some doom and gloom news headlines of Armageddon imminent, then feeling serious FOMO (fear of missing out, obvs) and jealousy at what fun everyone else ‘seems’ to be up to on Facebook and finally to sprinting for a bus you may well miss before being crammed onto a sweaty tube for half an hour. High cortisol levels reduce the body’s ability to regenerate and tone muscle whilst it encourages fat storage in the body. You may be training regularly and eating healthily at supper time but wasting all your efforts due to a poor morning routine!
Doing all the above can lead to lower cognitive function (under functioning mind/thought processes). Why?
– Firstly, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to be in control of your own personal mindset and emotions. From the moment you read someone else’s demands on email you are entering into a state of reactive thinking that is controlled by other people with other issues very different to your own. Once this chain reaction starts early in the morning it tends to stay with you for the rest of the day…not good if you are trying to follow some personal dream of your own!!!
- – Secondly, healthy body healthy mind and all that…as discussed, your body ain’t so healthy perhaps, so maybe neither is your mind! This is a whole other post altogether (watch this space!).
- – Stress and adrenaline leads to ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms triggering emotional thinking…we all know that’s not always a good idea when it comes to making good decisions!! Without going into too much detail, you get the picture….
Ok here we have ‘The Rise N Shiner’…
My morning routine in this day and age goes a little something like this…
1: Be gently woken up by my Sunrise Alarm Clock a good hour before I need to leave the house. This is a lovely calming experience I must say, no early shots of adrenaline thank you please…I recommend you buy one in fact!
2: I make my way downstairs and before getting into the shower pop my saucepan of food (eg grass fed beef stew and veg left over from the night before) onto a light heat so that it’s ready for when I’m changed and ready. Btw, I ignore conventional breakfasts and stick to what’s best for my body and what makes me feel tip top…once you break yourself free of cultural habits such as cereal and toast you’ll be feeling tip top too!
3: I sit down and eat my breakfast with what is normally my only coffee of the day and I really enjoy the process of my body slowly waking up and my mind slowly engaging with the day ahead. I DO NOT TURN ON THE TV OR LOOK AT MY PHONE!!! Sorry, I just had to stress that bit..
4: Now this next bit may sound slightly mental to some, many apologies. Next up I take 10-20 minutes to practice a very relaxed form of meditation, non religious. This is my opportunity to form the mindset that I want for the day and to encourage my ‘true self’, for lack of a less hippy term, to be in control and not be affected by others or the media.
5: Lastly I take on my first challenge/task of the day completely on my own terms and what’s great is that I feel completely calm and in control…what a lovely feeling that is.
For me, this routine fits in perfectly with the lifestyle I believe in of being fit, happy, healthy and in control of your destiny (as much as one can be). If you value taking time to eat well and train hard because you understand the benefits, then I suggest you also give some time to consider your morning routine, it may be the last piece of the puzzle that opens up endless possibilities for you…