Maybe you’ve had it with that mid-afternoon lethargy from all those burgers and fries, or the way you’re exhausted in the morning, like a truck hit you over the head as you slept.
Whatever the reason, if you’re fed up with not feeling good about your body and not having the energy to get through a typical day with full alertness, creating a health-centric morning routine could be the perfect start to a whole new way of living.
I’ve passed to and from different health-focused states over the years, from intensely health-centric martial arts practitioner to obsessed writer who could barely remember to eat or drink, let alone get up from my chair more than once or twice a day to go to the restroom.
Now, I’ve settled on something which isn’t as exhausting as having an obsessive health regimen but still gives me eighty-percent of the results for twenty-percent of the effort. And one of the keys to that has been starting my day off right with a health-centric morning routine.
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
– Henry David Thoreau
Here’s a quick breakdown, along with my best tips, for crafting the perfect health-centric morning routine and creating your own personal health revolution.
1. Wake up: Green tea + meditate
It’s important to start off the day by hydrating yourself. Read through a few daily schedules of some of the world’s best athletes and you’ll see that getting your daily recommended amount of water is crucial to good health. That’s because water helps pass the nutrients you consume throughout the rest of the body, part of the reason why not drinking enough water can make your energy dip.
However, take this a step further and make it green tea in the morning instead of coffee (which dehydrates) or water. Green tea gives the best of both worlds by not only hydrating but offering the same energy boost that coffee gives. And, most importantly, without the jitters that coffee hits you with.
Both coffee and green tea have caffeine. However, green tea also has L-Theanine, which when combined with caffeine, creates the perfect balance. While the caffeine provides the energy boost, the L-Theanine relaxes the body, removing the jittery feeling you get when consuming caffeine in drinks like coffee.
In addition to this, green tea is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to aid in fat loss and reduce the risk of cancer.
And if that wasn’t enough, green tea has also been shown to increase attention, working memory, and spatial learning, making it the perfect drink to start your day off both healthy and focused.
And immediately following your morning tea, I suggest meditating.
You might have or find a different, more preferred time to meditate. However, I’ve found that after my morning tea is the opportune time. You’re both alert from the tea and starting your day off, which allows for meditation to work all of its “magic”.
Meditation further enhances your focus, helps you sort through the mental and emotional baggage, but also helps aid in age-related memory loss making it the ideal practice to root your day in first-thing.
In addition to this, meditation has been shown to increase willpower, making it easier to resist cravings and generally make better decisions throughout the day.
2. Get outside + move
You’ve no doubt read or heard about the physical benefits of physical exercise, but physical exercise also has similar benefits to meditation when performed first-thing in the morning.
Like meditation, it increases focus and reduces stress. However, because it works differently from meditation I’ve found it has a different effect. Not necessarily better but different, perhaps because that increase in focus and wakefulness after exercise comes from aiding a different part of the body.
However, perhaps nearly as important is getting outside. Most people aren’t aware of the importance of getting enough sun and the nutrients we absorb from sun exposure. And, as our lives become increasingly more enclosed, that becomes all the more important.
But another benefit of exercising in the morning that is rarely talked about is the reflective nature of something like running outside. A quick run around the neighborhood is a highly therapeutic practice that can help you work through thoughts and ideas that are swirling around in your brain first-thing in the morning, making it the ideal follow-up practice to meditation, especially if creativity is vital to your work.
3. Recover + fuel up
It’s important to recover after a good workout as the body expends a ton of resources exerting the body and needs to get those nutrients back to continue working properly (otherwise you feel drained after your workout).
However, a quick recovery-centric breakfast has a ton more benefits than just recovering from your workout.
Most of us eat sugar-heavy breakfasts such as cereal that can wreak all kinds of havoc on the body and end up doing us about as much harm as good, including everything from reduced self-control to weight gain and increased cancer risk.
But more than that, the right kind of breakfast can aid in the efforts we’ve talked about thus far, further increasing energy and wakefulness so you can tackle your day with full-force.
Ideal breakfast items which are loaded with good nutrients include:
- Veggie juice: Anything here is game but cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, apple, grapes, oranges, and kale are good options. Don’t worry about the sugar in the fruits you eat here, it’s the added sugar in things like breakfast cereals that are the real problem.
- Eggs: The classic breakfast food is always a good choice as they’re packed with protein as well as B2, iron, zinc, and many other vitamins.
- Greek yogurt: Helps curb appetite, reduce weight loss, and all kinds of other things.
- Oatmeal: Another classic that’s a great alternative to sugary breakfast foods, oatmeal has lots of antioxidants, fiber, curbs appetite, and some protein.
Cottage cheese: A personal favorite, this has tons of protein as well as conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA for short) which has been shown to promote weight loss.