Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Richard Branson are all cited as keen morning exercisers. The more you have to do, the easier it is to let exercise fall off the to-do list, so getting it over and done in the morning is a sure way to fit in this important addition to your day. We may not have the resources to play an hour of tennis every morning like Anna Wintour, or slot in 2 hours of Tracy Anderson’s gruelling workouts like Gwyneth Paltrow, but a half hour HIIT class or quick jog can be perfectly manageable!
A few tips for morning exercise – if you are heading out of the house early, make sure you have your bag for the day packed and ready to go. In the winter, lay your gym kit on the radiator so it’s nice and snug when you get out of bed, and put your central heating on for half an hour earlier. If you are working out at home, make sure you know exactly what routine you are going to do. Faffing around searching for a workout online takes up valuable morning time!
2. Work out what motivates you and write it down
When you're nice and cosy in bed in the morning, it can take a lot of motivation to tear yourself away from your duvet. At some point during the day, sit down with a pen and paper and make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life. Work out a personal mission statement for yourself and jot it down. This will put your goals in focus and help move your ideas into reality so theybecome attainable. Then, when you are struggling to get up in the morning, reach for your notebook and re-read your reason for getting out of bed. Remember, you are in control of your own life but you need to be proactive!
3. Mindfulness and meditation
Recently, mindfulness and meditation have been getting the recognition it deserves as being a hugely effective tool, used by high achievers and successful people.
Oprah Winfrey advocates mindfulness and meditation as a brilliant way to prepare for the day ahead. She recommends 20 minutes of breathing exercises, meditation, and contemplation in the morning. Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, promotes disconnecting from social media and technology first thing in the morning. Instead of looking at her phone as soon as she wakes up, she breathes deeply, sets her intentions for the day and practices gratitude. This is something that does not cost anything and can be done anywhere. Just a few minutes in the morning can set you on the right track for the day.
4. Get organized and prepare!
Preparing the night before for the day ahead can have a huge impact on how your day pans out. Packing your gym kit in the evening will make any excuses about not finding your trainers redundant! Packing your bag, with everything you need for the day will make getting out of the house a much easier and seamless process.
Mark Zuckerburg famously wears the same clothes to work every day, which according to the Facebook founder means ‘one less decision to make every day’. We’re not advocating boring wardrobe choices, however, if you decide what you are going to wear the day before, you’ll be amazed how much quicker it is to get yourself organized in the morning!
Hydrating first thing in the morning has numerous health benefits. Hot water with half a fresh lemon squeezed into it can kick-start the metabolism and stimulate the digestive system. Brad Lande of Birchbox Man and Gwyneth Paltrow swear by its alkalizing properties.
6. Eat breakfast
Starting the day with a wholesome breakfast can really set the tone of how your day unfolds, especially from a nutrition perspective. Early mornings offer a fresh supply of willpower so make the most of it!
Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach, emphasizes the importance of loading up on protein and healthy fats at breakfast. According to this fitness guru, not eating an adequate breakfast will mean you are more tempted to graze all day long. A substantial and high protein breakfast will do wonders for your energy levels throughout the day.
Breakfast does not need to be a sit-down event. A protein-rich smoothie or a Bircher muesli are both easily portable. However, if time allows, try and have breakfast with the family; connecting with people who are important to you will create a purposeful start to any day; even something as simple as texting your Mum or best friend can make a difference.