“If you win the morning you win the day” Tim Ferriss
In more recent times I have found myself answering more questions about my lifestyle. I get many about what I eat as a vegan and then some other about how the hell some guy from Watford found himself commentating for the best fight company in the world. I rarely get asked specifics, like strategies, tools and practices. So, I thought I'd share my optimal morning rountine.
Every project succeeds best with a good plan. A successful battle starts with a carefully thought out strategy. A false start will leave you chasing the pack, so apply a few simple rules and lay the foundations for favourable conditions in which to seize the day. I have listened to many successful performers of various moulds and I have tweaked their practices to create my own morning routine. Here’s how I do it:
1 large glass of distilled water activated with Himalayan salt and apple cider vinegar. Get it down ya before anything else.
Why? For hydration purposes. I only drink distilled water at home due to the poor quality of tap water and the nasties that run through it. The pink salt is well aligned with the mineral content in our bodies, is affordable (compared to some ocean plasma) and the apple cider vinegar has numerous health benefits including alkalising the body.
I use this distiller from ViaFosa:
This may be a 10 minute high intensity hotel room work out or stretching (https://www.youtube.com/yogawithadriene) and use of my foam roller. Or a run. I don’t tend to lift weights or do any bag work in the morning. However, I might attend an a.m. jiu jitsu class.
Why? After being dormant for 8 hours, it’s time to wake up the body get it moving, release some good chemicals and keep supple. This also helps me stay on top of my physical goals as father time closes in on my joints!
If I have control over this i.e. not travelling I will normally have soaked oats and fruit with flaxseeds. Through the warmer months I like smoothies and smoothies bowls.
Why? I don’t function well without breakfast. I have tested this combination as a pre-Ironman meal, pre-BJJ practice, pre-show meal…it is a one size fits all, fulfils nutrition needs and is really simple to prepare and consume. (click here to check out my easy vegan series for more info)
Make the bed.
I heard Chase Jarvis talk about his routine and I added this in. I’m by no means folding swans out of towels, but I do like to smooth out the ripples.
Why? Straitening the bedclothes is a visual win early in the day. It earns credit with “her indoors” and stops spiders taking residence in the folds of the duvet when you’re not looking!
OK, well I have to be honest I’m still starting with warm to clean myself and then the last half I rotate the temperature mixer to cold and then find myself rubbing the cold water into my skin like aloe vera into a sun burnt body whilst trying to catch my breath.
Why? Well do your own research but apparently cold showers reduce stress, makes you more resilient, (helps you acclimatise to open water swimming), increase testosterone, increase alertness, reduces muscle inflammation, promotes eco values and more.
I leave my meditation until after the above as I can get straight to those easy wins and then take a breath to set my intentions for the day. Running is also a form of meditation for me, so on those days I double up on mindfulness- win! I use the Headspace app, but the Calm app is also very good.
Why? Your mind will be racing for the remaining hours of the day, so before it gets a little wild, invest in some quiet time; a little mind training and breathe. From studying some of the most successful business people and athletes, one of the most consistent themes is their shared investment in mediation practice for success.
I love me a good coffee. I have to underline good coffee too. My local Café Nero does the trick for me, but I’m aware this isn’t the champagne of coffee choices. I avoid Starbucks and don’t really enjoy Costa, so Nero is the next best thing. Of course if there was a decent independent barista available I would choose that everyday. Recently I purchased my own super snazzy coffee machine for my home office. Now I can choose my favourite coffee (I'm liking Union at the moment) with my favourite milk (Almond barista).
One thing I would suggest though is that you cycle off coffee from time to time. Also, I will rarely have 2 coffees in a single day. I have tried Tim Ferris’s titanium tea using black and green tea with coconut oil, but I didn’t find it particularly enjoyable. I eat certain food stuffs and drink various juices for medicinal purposes. That’s enough taste bud turn offs for me thanks. I want to start the day on a positive note, looking forward to the day. Oh and don’t have it before you eat as it suppresses appetite.
Why? Mostly for the taste, but also for the cognitive benefits. Oh, and because I’m now slightly addicted hence the periods of cycling off.
As I said at the top, sometimes not all of this is available to me daily and I have to sacrifice certain aspects, but you’ll agree that these are all very achievable. Now go seek the day!