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One of our favorite ways to maintain a good foundation is by establishing a set routine in the morning and the evening.
What you do in the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes sets you up for a successful and productive day and a restful night.
Your morning routine starts you off in the right direction each new day and your evening routine puts the events of the day at rest. Although we may not feel like we have 100% control of these hours at all times, they certainly are more predictable than what happens during the rest of our waking hours.
Today I am going to focus on helping you create a morning routine.
You may already have a routine that you do every morning, there may be some things you can tweak or add to make it better or even things you can eliminate or do at another time during the day.
Today I am sharing my daily template and we hope it inspires you to live each day more intentionally.
Many of the things that we do are to intentionally stimulate our metabolism.
What do you know about metabolism?
Metabolism is the complex chemical processes your body uses for normal functioning and sustaining life, including breaking down food and drink to energy and building or repairing your body. This includes thousands of chemical reactions that are taking place to keep cells healthy, thriving, and functioning. This means healthy hormone balance, healthy brain chemistry balance, balanced gut function, and on and on. In short, we need our body’s self-regulation systems to be online and working well.
So, in the morning we want to take specific actions that will work together to support our self-regulation throughout the day.
Let’s dive into 5 habits that have been shown to engage these systems.
Step 1 – Sunshine & Full-Spectrum Light
- Go out in the sun for 10–15 min when you wake up.
- Sunlight is required for normal metabolism. (1) Studies now show that fat cells can sense sunlight and not getting enough increases metabolic syndrome risk. A cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. The syndrome increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Aside from a large waist circumference, most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms. Weight loss, exercise, a healthy diet, and smoking cessation can help.
- Getting sunlight exposure also helps reset your sleep/wake cycle (your circadian rhythm) so that you get a deeper and better quality sleep which will also increase metabolism. Get sun upon rising, midday, and evening. Bonus points for watching the sunrise and sunset!
- If you live in a region where the winter mornings are cold and dark you can simulate the benefits of this light exposure by purchasing a full-spectrum light box like this one. It won’t provide the vitamin D benefits but will still support the normal circadian hormone rhythms of your body and set you up for better energy throughout the day.
Step 2 – Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drink 16 ounces of water first thing in the morning (1 min)
After spending a few minutes in the sun, drinking 16-20 ounces of water can really help to kickstart your metabolism.
Studies have shown that drinking 16 + ounces (0.5 liters) of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour. (3)
- Drinking water also induces something called thermogenesis which basically means that your body’s engine is turned on to start burning stored energy
- When we sleep at night, our bodies are busy repairing cellular damage that is caused during the previous day. Part of that process clears chemical toxins from the cells and moves them into circulation to be processed through the liver and kidneys. Drinking water in the morning helps to flush the kidneys to excrete those toxins.
- Squeeze some lemon, add a pinch of Celtic sea salt, and a teaspoon of chlorophyll (help in regulating cholesterol levels, relieving constipation, and regulating digestion, hormonal imbalances, and boost metabolism) for added health benefits!
Step 3 – Movement to Stimulate Energy
Practice joyful movement (at least 10 mins)
Studies have shown that some form of movement or exercise in the morning helps to boost your metabolism for the rest of the day.
- Go for a brisk 10-minute walk around your neighborhood.
- Practice some simple yoga movements. You can start with a “sun salutation” flow. Here’s a link to a great video demonstration and another link to more information about the benefits of yoga.
- If you’re not ready to explore the benefits of yoga, maybe some good ol’ fashioned calisthenics would be fun. Start with something simple like push-ups, planks, sit-ups, and lunges.
- If structured “exercise” seems too big of a first step, put on some headphones and dance to your favorite high-energy playlist.
Step 4 – Conscious Breathwork
Practice the breathing technique of your choice
- More and more research is showing that conscious awareness and control of how we breathe can have a profound and immediate impact on our state of consciousness, our level of peace and contentment, and our overall health.
- This effect is due to the fact that our breath has a direct effect on our autonomic nervous system. How we breathe will influence whether we are in a state of stress, called sympathetic dominance, or a state of relaxation, called parasympathetic dominance.
- Health can be defined by how we quickly and appropriately respond and adapt to our external environment and that is determined by the flexibility of our autonomic nervous system.
- Think of breathwork as exercise or training for the most important regulatory system of your body.
Step 5 – Perspective and an Attitude of Gratitude
Practice daily gratitude (3 mins)
Gratitude is the energy of creation. The more gratitude we have in our lives the more we will be able to create and accomplish what we want in our lives.
- Write down 3 things that you’re grateful for. You can certainly use your own journal but this one is our favorite.
- Practicing gratitude has been shown to lower cortisol. When we lower cortisol the body is more likely to heal and repair.
- Practicing gratitude also increases neurotransmitters like serotonin (feel happy/good mood) and dopamine (motivation and pleasure) and increases activity in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus regulates our food intake, metabolism, and stress levels. Those who practice gratitude have been shown to have better metabolism. (5)(6)
Bonus Step 6 – Less is More
Practice intermittent fasting (0 mins)
Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast and narrowing your eating window has been shown to increase metabolism by balancing out fat-burning hormones. (7)(8)
- Fasting decreases insulin levels (Increased insulin levels signal your body to store fat) and therefore helps with weight loss
- Try fasting for 12-16 hours (from dinner the night before)
- Eat your last meal 2-3 hours before bed
- This improves sleep quality and makes waking up early much easier.
Stacking your Morning Routine Habits
As I’ve been going through this simple list, have you been asking yourself “How long will all of this take?”
If you’re like me, you’re probably pretty busy in the morning. Getting ready for work or getting kids off to school or whatever. We all also want to get as much sleep as we possibly can so we want this morning routine to be as efficient as possible.
Here’s how I stack these habits to compress time.
- Wake up, go to the bathroom, then drink some water
- Either go for a walk/run in the morning sunlight or go into our workout room and do yoga/stretching/calisthenics with our full-spectrum light box turned on. (15 minutes)
- Begin my breathwork practice which consists of either SKY Breath or Wim Hoff method (sometimes even a combination of both) followed by a 10-minute meditation where I focus on all of the things I’m grateful for. (30 minutes)
Anyway, I hope that you can evaluate your current routine. Look at your allotted time in the morning and try to create 45-60 minutes of time to work on powering up your day. If you can’t do all of these things in the morning, you can certainly do them at a later time. You can work out later in the day. You can do a gratitude meditation in the evening.
The things that are critical for the morning are hydration, breathwork, and early morning sun/full spectrum light exposure.
Okay, that’s it for today’s episode. Remember to like, subscribe, leave a review on this podcast, and share it with your friends and loved ones.
Until next time, go out and do some good in the world today.
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