Coffee is probably my favourite food (I know it’s a drink, but it’s THAT good that it trumps a lot of foods for me). Anyone who knows me knows that my caricature would be with a tank-sized coffee. The smell of a fresh coffee is both relaxing and energising. I just love it. And like so many of us, I love that rush of energy you get 20 minutes later.
But do we rely on coffee (or other stimulants) too much to kick start our day? And is this actually getting us off to the wrong start?
The morning is what sets the tone for the rest of the day. We want to start the day running, not rushing. Excited, not trying to catch up.
Making and sticking to healthy habits (most of the time!) will set you up for the best chance to crush goals. And you’ll just feel unstoppable.
It starts when you wake up…
The beginning… The early morning
Your alarm goes off. But you’re feeling nice and toasty and you don’t really have to be up just yet… so you hit snooze. Again. And again. And again. Now you REALLY have to get up. You drag yourself out of your warm blankets and rush to get ready for work, only having time to grab a quick coffee (there it is!) for breakfast on your way out.
You know the drill.
Snoozing is your first decision of the day.
If you choose to snooze, you have already started your day with a bad decision.
Not only are you trying to catch up as soon as you get up but hitting snooze can have some pretty bad effects on your body.
Even though you just want to enjoy your warm comfy bed a bit longer, most times you fall back asleep. Your body starts stepping through the stages of sleep. A sleep cycle lasts for 90 minutes and your body has every intention of sleeping this full cycle.
But your alarm clock disagrees.
Within 5 minutes you’re being ripped out of the sleep cycle. You end up feeling groggy. You’re stressing your heart each time you’re ripped out of a sleep cycle when your body isn’t ready for it. And you’re now rushing to start your day.
Don’t hit snooze.
Take a deep breath and roll out of bed. Whatever it takes. Buy a puzzle alarm clock. Put your alarm on the other side of the room.
As Nike says “Just Do It”; just get up.
… and get straight in the shower. A nice steamy hot shower.
Enjoy it. Because when you’re finished, don’t get out. Turn the handle all the way to cold. Your mind will scream at you to get out; it will be a huge test of willpower (I’d like to say this part gets easier – but after a year of doing this every single morning, I still dread turning the handle! The only tip I can give is to just turn the handle before you start trying to convince yourself not to. Again: just do it.).
Now breathe. Breathe in deeply and quickly into your belly. Then slowly release it. Do these 10 times and on the last breath, breathe out completely and hold for as long as you can. Then you can get out.
You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. It’s also great for your skin and immune system.
Cold showers prevent your skin being stripped of its natural oils and tightens your pores, which prevents your pores getting clogged. Your hair can also appear shinier and stronger. Not only does your skin and hair look healthier, but cold showers can improve your immunity. Cold showers encourage blood to get moving and surround your organs, which combats skin and heart problems and improves your immune system. It also relieves sore muscles. Cold showers make you look and feel healthier. Overstimulation of your cold receptors in your skin sends a bunch of electrical impulses from your nerve endings to your brain; a natural mood booster.
You’ll look healthier, feel healthier, feel happier, and have a higher tolerance to disease.
Who Likes Cocktails?
Ingredients: Himalayan salt, water and lemon (add a bit of ginger if you’re vibing a bit of spice).
You’ve just gone 5-9 hours without any water or electrolytes; your body is dehydrated. The salt and lemon give you a boost of electrolytes. Himalayan salt has a bunch of other minerals as well as salt, including iron. You can also use Sea Salt, just stay away from table salt.
Salt helps maintain how your nerves, muscles and body tissues function. Too much salt can lead to a bunch of bad health conditions. But this is usually seen in people who eat too much over-processed and refined salt (like table salt). The right type of salt is great for your health. Himalayan salt contains more nutritional value than any other salt because it’s packed with a bunch of extra minerals and it isn’t refined like sea salt and table salt. The right amount of salt helps with hydration, prevents muscle cramps, and helps balance the minerals in your body.
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, boosting your immune system. It also helps maintain the pH balance of your body, helps detoxify and fight infection, and like salt, helps keep your body hydrated by providing electrolytes.
Ginger acts as a natural anti-inflammatory for your body.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add a glass of spirulina to your morning routine. It’s both the most foulest tasting and one of the most nutritious (gram for gram) substances on Earth.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is packed full of nutrients. It’s a richer source of protein than most vegetables – at 60% protein content – and a good source of essential fatty acid and a variety of minerals.
The Easy Part
Now get warm! No, not back in the shower – it’s time to get your muscles moving. Like you would warm your car up before throttling it, you want to warm your body up before tackling the day. Take care of your body like you would an expensive car! It’s the only body you get 😊
Personally, I like 20 minutes of yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy, spend a few minutes doing it. Just don’t do anything complex until you’re warmed up. Remember, your muscles have just woken up too.
Moving first thing in the morning has been shown to improve focus and mental abilities throughout the day.
It’s a great boost to both mind and body.
Movement can also provide a huge amount of energy. Once you start moving, you’ll want to keep moving. So the act of getting up and doing things actually makes you feel more energetic, not less. Researchers have found that energy can be increased by 20% and fatigue decreased as much as 65% by performing regular low-intensity exercise; that’s by simply getting up and moving.
Doing some exercise first thing in the morning means that you don’t spend the day stressing to “fit in” your (at least) 20 minutes of exercise a day. You also get that endorphin hit first thing, which makes you happier for the start of the day.
Getting a morning workout in, even if it’s a 20 minute session, means that you’ve already accomplished something. You can tick it off your ‘to do’ list. And that’s pretty liberating.
There is no better way to start your day than doing something amazing for yourself.
Time to eat! … Unless you’re fasting.
Cut the sugar and grab something that’s going to give you energy over time, like complex carbohydrates and fats. We’re talking whole grains, avocado, nuts, oats, eggs. There’s a bunch of things you can grab. If you’re feeling that sweet tooth, add a bit of banana or strawberries, just don’t go crazy.
Fuel your body with the good stuff, and you’ll feel like a million bucks!
You also want to avoid that energy spike from strong black coffee. The kick might feel good for the first half hour, but you’ll be left feeling sluggish.
Adding healthy fats (fresh cream, butter, MCT oil) to your coffee will slow down the caffeine release.
Start your day the right way:
- Don’t hit snooze!
- Turn that tap to cold water
- Drink a Himalayan salt and lemon water cocktail
- Get your body warm
- Eat a nutrient rich breakfast of complex carbs and fats (avoid sugar!)
Wake up, get up, and live!