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6 practices that can give your mornings the perfect boost

Effective Morning habits

If you’ve ever experienced the attempt to break a habit, you know firsthand the immense power they possess. Even the most insignificant actions and decisions can shape the course of your entire day. They can influence your interactions with loved ones, impact your level of concentration and motivation, and even determine the success or failure of your workout.

To gain insight into the habits that can support your fitness goals, we turned to personal trainers, individuals whose livelihood relies on their seemingly limitless energy. We explored deep into their morning routines and habits, seeking their perspectives on everything from coffee rituals to motivational playlists to the notorious snooze button. Here’s what they shared.

Begin the Night Before

Exercise physiologist, triathlete, and coach, Dr. Todd Buckingham, considers his workout to be his morning ritual. When asked about his morning routine, he shared, “I simply get out of bed, get dressed, and commence my workout, whether it’s swimming, biking, or running. I don’t engage in any particular activities immediately upon waking up. I don’t consume coffee or listen to music. I simply get up and start my day.” However, Buckingham’s morning routine actually begins hours before his alarm goes off.

Abandon the Snooze Button

For those who find themselves setting multiple alarms, oversleeping, and perpetually running a few minutes late, Wesley Showalter, a personal trainer based in Chicago, has some valuable advice: refrain from hitting the snooze button.
By immediately getting out of bed, Showalter ensures he has ample time for a minimum of three minutes of deep breathing exercises and his gratitude journaling practice. During this time, he writes down three things he’s grateful for, three ways he plans to make the day great, and an affirmation. Showalter emphasizes that practicing good sleep hygiene makes mornings without snoozing a bit easier. He maintains a consistent bedtime each night (usually between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. to ensure waking up by 5:00 a.m.) and refrains from sleeping in on weekends. He also makes sure to consume his last caffeinated beverage at least eight hours before bedtime.

Make Your Bed

Shortly after waking up, usually between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., Mathew Forzaglia, founder of Forzag Fitness and NFPT-CPT, initiates his morning with a seemingly trivial yet impactful habit, making your own bed.

Embrace Natural Light

Mary Beth Rockwell, CPT, the founding trainer of The Next Fitness Thing app, immediately opens the curtains to bask in sunlight upon rising, typically around 6:45 a.m. In the event of fog or overcast weather, which is common in her San Francisco residence, she resorts to the next best alternative to natural sunshine, a lightbox. After welcoming the light, Rockwell engages in movement.

Allocate Time for Meditation

Jen Kates, CPT, founder of Shift Human Performance, emphasizes the importance of being flexible with one’s morning routine and avoiding self-criticism when certain activities cannot be accomplished. People often set lofty and unrealistic expectations for their mornings, leaving them feeling defeated when they cannot sustain them. Instead, Kates strives to incorporate morning rituals that foster tranquility and enhance focus throughout the day, including her workouts. At the top of her list is meditation. Kates retreats to a designated space in her home, complete with a cushion and altar. She sets a timer, favoring the InsightTimer app, and devotes a few peaceful moments to focusing on her breath.

Visualize the Day Ahead

Pete McCall, CSCS, a master trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, used to work individually with clients of various fitness levels and backgrounds before taking on a leadership role. To ensure the success of each session, he adopted a deliberate practice of reviewing his schedule and strategizing how to bring positive energy to his clients. Even now, as he visualizes his day ahead, he starts with a quiet cup of coffee and mentally prepares himself to deliver his best performance in every appointment, meeting, and task, including his own workouts. McCall humorously notes that if he skips this morning routine, he faces a series of unfortunate events such as hitting red lights and encountering clueless Starbucks customers, resulting in an off-kilter day.

In short, any habit that helps you start your day with good positive energy is a great habit to have. Practice well enough so that you are able to carry through that positive energy through out the day.

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