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!
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