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Morning Routines of Fit Women

Late last year, I read a Forbes article detailing the morning routines of 12 women leaders. It was a fascinating read and … intimidating as hell, to be honest. While I might not be considered a “leader,” necessarily, I usually consider myself to be a fairly successful and functioning adult, but I found myself questioning my habits. My daily smoothie, packed with delicious and nutritious ingredients though it may be, started to seem pretty boring and lame, and should I be doing some sort of high-level class in the morning instead of swimming laps?

No. It didn’t take long for me to move past this. I mean, their fourth-series ashtanga yoga and carefully scheduled cuddle sessions are amazing and awesome and inspiring … and have zilch to do with me.

Still, it made me curious about the morning routines of women I know, respect, and think I probably have a little more in common with, so I asked several of my favorite health and fitness writers and professionals to share a few words about what their mornings look like. See if any of the answers below look similar to the start of your day!

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Jan Graham (aka “Crabby McSlacker”), www.CrankyFitness.com

I’m a Life Coach and a health blogger — two very flexible pursuits — plus, I’m child-free and have a very low-maintenance, amiable spouse. So this means that, unlike most women, my a.m. hours are pretty much all about ME, ME, ME. Yay!

So yeah, I love mornings. My only gripe about them is they are too short.  Before I know it, afternoon has arrived, and my brain cells and motivation and energy have decamped for parts unknown.

As for the tedious details?

My day tends to start early; since menopause I battle hot-flashes and sleeping isn’t my strong suit. So if I find myself wide awake fidgeting, I allow myself to get up and start my day anytime after 4 a.m. But my average wake-up time is probably in the 5 to 5:30 a.m. range.

First thing I do is make the beverages: it’s hot chocolate for my coffee-hating wife (unsweetened cocoa, nonfat milk and Splenda) and for me, it’s Coffee Coffee Coffee. (Several cups of half-decaf, with stevia and goat milk because cow milk and I don’t get along). With my coffee I have “Breakfast” No. 1, which  is a half a Quest Bar (current fave: Cookies and Cream). Even the thought of eating a real breakfast first thing in the morning makes me barfy, I have no problem eating what is essentially a low-carb, high-fiber candy bar.

As I enjoy my coffee, I catch up on email or attempt to write a blog post or pay bills or do something internetty until I’m sufficiently caffeinated. And then it’s Exercise Time!

Current exercise options include the elliptical, bicycling, going for a long walk, half-assed strength training, my own weird yoga/meditation hybrid, or, last and yes, least, (because I loathe it), swimming.

After exercise, I shower and enjoy the caffeine and endorphin-fueled feeling that I should Rule The World because I am So Freakin’ Awesome.

Then it’s time for Breakfast No. 2! This is usually an Eggbeaters scramble (I find straight-up egg whites are too weirdly white and they creep me out). The scramble generally contains a ridiculous amount of spinach and/or chard and or/kale, made palatable (and even yummy) by cooking everything in garlic olive oil and tossing in copious amounts of pecorino cheese.

Then, still feeling pumped and productive, I have a few precious hours for client sessions, writing, or other pursuits that require brain cells, before it’s early afternoon and I have to nosh again, and then shift gears down to more mindless tasks that don’t require the ability to be creative, analytical or even coherent.

Katie Foster, Runs for Cookies

I am a married stay-at-home mom to two boys, ages 10 and 8. Between 2009 and 2010, I lost 125 pounds through diet and exercise, and I blog daily about weight maintenance, running, family life, etc.

My morning routine:

5:45: Wake up. No alarm needed, because I have a weird internal alarm clock that has never failed me. Use my phone to read email in bed.

5:55: Empty my bladder. Strip to my birthday suit to get on the scale. I like to weigh daily, so I don’t get on the scale one day to see I gained 15 pounds. Dress in some running clothes.

6:00: Wake up my boys to get them ready for school.

6:00-6:45: Pester my kids about brushing their teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc. I usually use this time to clean up the kitchen and do last night’s dishes.

6:45: Walk my 10-year old to the bus stop and wait for his bus to arrive. Walk home.

7:00-7:45: Hang out with my 8-year old until it’s his turn to go to school. We usually play a board game, practice flash cards for school or watch a show on TV.

7:45: Walk my 8-year old to the bus stop and wait for his bus to arrive. Walk home.

8:00: Start the kettle to make tea. Prepare breakfast, and log my food in my tracker. Usually an English muffin with peanut butter, or oatmeal with chocolate chips or cheese grits with a poached egg for breakfast. Whatever I’m in the mood for. Sit down with my computer to do “blog stuff” (read/reply to email, comments, etc) while I eat breakfast and sip my tea.

8:45: Head out for my scheduled run (anywhere from three to 12 miles, five days per week). Arrive home and take a shower. Get dressed for the “start” of my day!

Susan Lacke, susanlacke.com

I’m a writer, editor, adventure junkie (who you just might recognize here on FBG).

I don’t really have a “typical” morning — it really depends on the day! I travel a lot, and work for international outlets, which keeps things interesting. One constant, however, is an early wake-up. Sometimes, it’s a 4 a.m. alarm because I’ve got to cover an Ironman triathlon for one of my outlets; other times, it’s because I’ve got to chat with an editor overseas; during summer, it’s because zero-dark-thirty is the only time to go for a run in Phoenix, Arizona without melting your face off.

Jamie King, www.pissedoffmetronome.com / www.fitapproach.com

I am the CEO and founder of SweatGuru, a marketplace for fitness, and Fit Approach, an online fitness community and home to the Sweat Pink community. I am also the creator of SPStrong, a new form of cardio yoga that involves glider discs. I am a self-proclaimed fitness nut, ultra marathoner, yoga addict and dark chocolate lover.

I recently married the love of my life and reside with him in San Francisco. With two businesses to run, yoga classes to teach and mountains to run, my schedule is often unpredictable. I can either be found downtown San Francisco working with my team, in the studio, running trails or sometimes working from a cafe near my home. As a business owner my hours are pretty constant; there is rarely a time when I’m not thinking about my work (or working, for that matter).

In order to stay sane, I try and wake up every morning before 6 a.m. to get a workout in and start my day on the right foot. My day typically starts with my alarm going off a couple of times before I finally roll out bed. I typically give myself just enough time to throw on my workout clothes, chug a glass of water, brush my teeth (and sometimes even my hair), grab my keys and cell phone and start heading towards the door. Depending on the day, I am either in the gym doing a combination of cardio intervals and weight training, doing yoga, or teaching bootcamp classes. Around 7:30, I’m usually in a mad dash to get home. Somewhere along the way, I somehow always find the time to check and /or post to Instagram and Twitter, often while I’m making my morning smoothie and then I take a quick shower as I attempt to make myself presentable before I head downtown (or wherever I’m working for the day). I always make my bed in the morning (perhaps my OCD) so that happens somewhere in there and I try (but don’t always succeed) to wash my smoothie cup. Sometimes I leave my dishes in the bedroom where I am doing extreme multitasking: blow drying hair, checking Twitter, drinking smoothie, applying make-up. Every other day or so, I might even manage to pack my lunch (might … ).

And then it’s off to take over the world (I mean, to work).

Alison Feller, Ali On The Run

I am a 29-year-old freelance writer. When I’m not glued to my laptop, I’m running, SoulCycling or Down-Dogging (I never thought I’d love yoga, but whoa, game changer). I live in New York City with my very very new fiancé and no pets, but a lot of dirty dishes (I don’t know how they get there since we don’t cook much) and piles of dirty laundry.

For the past seven years, I’ve been an office-goer who thrived on the routine of a desk job (I was editor-in-chief of Dance Spirit magazine, and then transitioned into the fitness industry as the digital and editorial manager for JackRabbit Sports, a running company in NYC) — but that just changed! I am now going full-time freelance for a while, which is exhilarating and scary and so exciting. So my morning routine will surely change over time, but for now I’m sticking with my routine — minus the commute. Here’s how I start my day …

5:30: Alarm goes off. Want to punch it. Instead I grab my phone and peruse my email and social media for a little while as I wake up. Then I force myself to get up because the snooze button and I have never gotten along. He drags me down. I spend some time in the bathroom (Isn’t that how everyone starts their day? No? Just me, with Crohn’s disease?), then do my “morning ab routine,” which consists of 500 various crunches and maybe some planks if I’m feeling super motivated. Then I bust out a few tricep dips before heading out the door.

6:15: Ali on the run! I love love love starting my day with a sunrise run in Central Park. I run anywhere from 5 to 10 miles, though it’s on the lower side now since I’m not marathon training and don’t want to burn myself out by running extra long miles every day. So I run for about an hour then head home for the hottest shower I can tolerate.

8:00: I’m showered and out the door! Or I used to be, to head to the office. Now I’m up and showered and ready to get to work! I can’t let myself turn on the TV, or it’s downhill from there. So I just get right to it, first looking at my day’s schedule — blocking off certain hours to work on certain projects — and trying not to eat everything in the apartment. I also probably do not put on a bra or real pants …

FBG Kristen (I had to share, too!)

As for me? An ideal morning (which maybe happens a couple of times a week) looks something like this (although sometimes it starts earlier, sometimes it starts later, sometimes it’s yoga or running instead of swimming … you get it. Also, sometimes I don’t get out of bed until 8 and go immediately to work. So, there’s that.):

5:45: Alarm goes off. Hope that whoever I’m supposed to meet at the pool has bailed overnight so I can go back to sleep. This morning, they haven’t, so I roll out of bed, try not to trip on a dog, and stumble into the bathroom. I do the potty thing, pull on the bathing suit and sweatpants I thoughtfully left out for myself the night before, pull my hair into a very bumpy ponytail and brush my teeth.

5:55: Let the dogs out, put a mug’s worth of water on the stove to boil. I try to take a few minutes here to turn my brain on — I think about the day ahead, maybe, if I’m really on my game, try to do a little gratitude exercise, although that’s kind of challenging for me when the sun hasn’t come up yet.

6:10: Let the dogs back in, feed them and the cat, add lemon to my hot water in a travel mug, grab a piece of fruit (if I think about it), a bottle of ice water and my swim bag, then head out the door for the pool. I have to have all my swim stuff ready to go ahead of time, because if I need to figure it out in the morning, it’ll take three times as long and I’ll forget, like, goggles. They’re important.

6:30: Hit the pool for an hour. Probably start getting hungry about halfway through. Definitely start complaining about it 3/4 of the way through.

7:30: Hop out of the pool and congratulate myself on how awesome I am to have gotten this done so early, and wonder why I don’t do this every morning. It’s so great! I am unstoppable! Everyone should work out really early EVERY DAY and then DO ALL THE THINGS! Then shower (well, at least rinse off the pool water — let’s not get ahead of ourselves) and head home. Think about food for the entire drive.

8:00: Make a smoothie and maybe some tea or coffee, snuggle the dogs because OH MY GOD THEY’RE SO EXCITED I’M FINALLY HOME. (I guess I do have some scheduled snuggle time in there — who knew?) Acknowledge their crushing disappointment that they’re not getting another breakfast. Then, I get on the computer to check emails and settle into my workday.

Do any of these sound like your morning routine? Which do (and which do not)? Are there any changes you’d like to make? I want to get back in the habit of more early mornings, which is going to mean earlier bed times, I suppose. Kristen

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16 Comments
  1. I love this!! It’s so awesome to get insight into other ladies daily routines, and see where I can improve my own. I would say mine is very close to Jan’s – coffee at the computer while I catch up on blogs, emails, and put up my post if it’s post day. Then off to the gym! PS. Quest bars = guilty processed pleasure. LOVEEEE

    Happy Friday!!
    Latest Post: How To Wear High Waisted Jeans – Distressed Denim + A Boxy Bag

  2. I love my morning routine! Prepping my food ahead of time totally makes the flow of my day easier!

  3. It’s great to see how many people have been able to go freelance and do their own thing. Such an inspiration!

  4. Kristina says:

    Loved reading this! Isn’t it great to know there are other fit women getting a great start to the day! My alarm goes off quietly (can’t wake the sleeping hubby!) at 4:20 am. I snooze once – it’s a must, and roll out of bed at 4:30. It is really really hard for me to get up so early even though I’ve been doing it consistently for almost 2 years. I quickly use the restroom, put on my pre-laid-out clothes and shoes, throw my hair in a pony tail (by the light of one small bathroom light – again, can’t wake the sleeping hubby!), and tiptoe to the garage. I grab my water and I drive 8 minutes to Orange Theory Fitness for my 5-6 am class. I get home by 6:15, shower and get ready, wake my 5 and 9 year old girls up at 7:00, pester them to get ready, feed them and me, and head out the door at 7:45 to get them to school and me to work. I arrive and work and kind of want to take a nap! But, I power through the day, seemingly gaining energy and momentum as I go! It’s crazy early for this non-morning person to wake up 4 mornings a week, but the results are worth it! Happy Friday everyone!
    (And I concur with Commenter Jill – Quest bars are the best ever!)

  5. Michelle says:

    How about profiling some women who work full time jobs outside the home and have kids and let’s see how they fit exercise into their busy schedules?

  6. It’s cool to see into the lives and habits of Fit Bottomed Women. Thanks!
    One simple thing I tell my clients is to drink a tall glass of water first thing. But before she drinks it, (this sounds weird but hang with me) she either tells it “I love you” or she sends loving vibes to the water.
    If you watch Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work on the Hidden Messages in Water (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAvzsjcBtx8) you can see what amazing things a nice word can do to water.
    Since our bodies are 70% water, think what nice words can do to you!
    And it is always good to hydrate. 🙂
    Thx, Lizzie

  7. janet says:

    Would love to get up an extra half hour earlier to have some time to just be still and get my mindset ready for the day…right now I wake up with just enough time to get ready for work.

  8. Jaclyn says:

    I came to say exactly what Michelle said! I enjoyed reading about these women’s routines, but I really can’t relate to them. They all seem to be SAHMs, freelancers or have a flexible schedule. I have a toddler and a baby on the way, and I work full time outside the home as an attorney in a relatively large firm. (That means lots of evening and weekend work too.). How about a post on fitting in workouts around a schedule that requires you to have lunches packed and young kids dressed and fed and ready and in the car in their way to preschool by 7:30 a.m.? I’d love to get more morning workouts in if I knew how to do it without waking up at 3:30.

  9. Cat says:

    I know not everyone can have a long, wonderful morning routine, but there isn’t really any excuse to get up an extra 10 minutes early to take some time to yourself – especially if your day ahead is busy. I like the 6 minute morning (http://halelrod.com/6-minute-miracle-morning/) – even that small ritual can help set you up for the day!

  10. Is says:

    I’m a woman who is in the middle of a life style change.
    I work a full time job outside my home and have 2 children under the age of 8.
    I get up each morning at 5:10am to hit the gym for a 5:30 class. Get home by 6:45 and immediately get
    Myself and my family ready to go. We leave by 7:45.
    I hate getting up early but I love having it done so I can spend the evening with my family.

  11. Maryjo says:

    I would love to see how a 3rd shift worker fit their fitness in….

  12. Kristen says:

    Thanks everyone! We’re hearing you loud and clear and are already working on putting together more posts on this topic featuring women with schedules and family situations and such! And LOVE hearing all the inspiring stories of how you guys are making fitness happen in your lives. ROCK ON.

  13. Juanita says:

    So glad I am not the only person getting up so early. I am up by 5:15am about 4 days a week. I workout to a fitness video, shower, and leisurely eat breakfast before my 3 yr old and 4yr old are even up! I also hold a full time job, so mornings are the only time I have available. I don’t always feel like getting up, I sometimes have to skip if one of my boys has been sick (and I haven’t slept), or any number of other reasons. But the feeling you have after working out and having my me time is not something I want to give up!! Yes, it’s super early but it’s worth it!

  14. Hannah says:

    I have found if I don’t roll out of bed, nurse the baby, and start exercising my exercise doesn’t happen. Once my two year old is up it is almost impossible to get a good workout in! My favorite workouts are intensive interval workouts with free weights and exercise bands!

  15. My mornings are pretty similar. I work out three mornings a week and two evenings a week so my blog stuff switches places with my workouts but all in all I like to get stuff done in the morning and nap all afternoon!

  16. Katie says:

    Hardly any of you have kids along with a full time job. I have three kids and teach full time. This was not helpful to me. Lucky for people to be able to have me time in the morning and only have to worry about themselves.