• Stephen C. Langhjelm

THE PERFECT MORNING ROUTINE



Everyone's morning routine will be different and unique but there's something they all should have in common. The perfect morning routine needs to consist of various actions that activate the body and mind, in preparation for the day ahead.


Although perfection is impossible to achieve, it's best to aim for it; one must choose steps to take each day when they rise that will propel them most efficiently and enthusiastically towards their endeavors.

"Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" - Vince Lombardi

Personally, I believe that a healthy body and mind encompass a healthy soul. One could argue that all three feed off one another. That being said, if you're body and mind are in good shape, your soul is more likely to be well balanced. Nonetheless, we'll keep the below focused on just the body and mind to keep things simple. I'll start by sharing what my "perfect" morning routine looks like and what I do to activate my body and mind once I get up. Then I'll share some further tips and ideas outside of my own that many adopt and consider successful methods to gear up for the day. After you finish reading this you'll have some good ideas that you can draw upon and consistently put into practice within your own morning routine.

MY PERFECT MORNING ROUTINE



NOTE: The morning routine listed below is the standard I strive to achieve and sometimes do. Ideally, I go through each item if time permits. More often than not, time doesn't permit. So I have some go-to actions that I know will quickly activate my body and mind, which I consider a necessity to start my days. I'VE HIGHLIGHTED MY GO-TO ITEMS BELOW IN GREEN . . .


If I was never in a rush, didn't run out of coffee, and woke up well before anyone else in the house . . . if all the stars aligned perfectly, this is what I would do:



1) Right away I'll have 8 to 16 oz of filtered water. This starts off the process of waking my body and mind. It prepares the digestive system and improves cognition via hydration. No better way to get things going than some trusty H20!

2) Next, I create a Vitamin C drink mixed with MSM powder. I use single packets called Ener-C (Lemon-lime or Raspberry are tasty) and Purica MSM (other great brands are out there as well).



We all know that Vitamin C does the body good but these packets also include several other vitamins and minerals (Vitamins A, B3, B6, B12, C, E, Calcium, Chromium, Folate, Iodine, Magnesium, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc).

MSM has several health benefits such as reducing joint pain, improving recovery times post-exercise, and enhancing arterial health to list a few.

Furthermore, Mixing MSM with Vitamin C enhances the production of connective tissue and healthy cells.


It's a quick (less than a minute) and powerful way to fuel up with necessities:


The hand-held Whisk/Milk-Frother seen above is a gem, you can purchase one here.

3) Following the above comes my favorite drink of all time . . . COFFEE! Besides being amazing, consuming coffee on a daily basis (within reason) has numerous health benefits.


Typically I'll have my coffee black, it's definitely an acquired taste but to be honest, I don't drink it for the taste, I drink it for the benefits.


This is how I've been making my morning coffee for years now (single-serve drip, No. 2 filter, coffee grains, plus hot water):



If you haven't guessed it already, coffee definitely fast-tracks the mind-body connection!

4) Once I have my coffee in hand I like to sit down on the couch and do some reading. I often have more than one book on the go but I'll start off by reading the Bible before reading anything else.


In my opinion, reading is the best way to engage the mind not just in the morning but anytime. Reading not only wakes the brain, locking you into a focused frequency, it provides a wealth of applicable knowledge and unlocks vision and possibilities for you life that you wouldn't realize if you didn't read.


Here's a look at what I'm reading right now:


Books from top to bottom: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The Bible (NIV)


5) When I'm done reading I'll play a game of chess or two online via CHESS.COM. Using this platform you can set the times of your games (anywhere from 1 to 30+ minutes). Usually I'll play two 10 minute games, and sometimes more.


If you play chess and you're a competitive spirit like myself, it's a lot of fun. In an instant, you can play against anyone around the world that's also online. They also match you up with players similar to your level.


I've implemented this into my "perfect" morning routine because it's not only something that engages the mind, but it's something I find very enjoyable.


Here's a GIF of a recent game I played this week (I'm on the black side):



For all the coffee lovers out there, maker sure to have a few sips first if you decide to play some early morning chess . . . . you'll need it.


6) Next, I get the body moving. This consists of either a 5 minute Core Routine, some dynamic warm-up movements, light stretching, or breathing exercises. Usually I'll do a

5 Minute Core Routine coupled with some dynamic warm-up movements.


On the days where I have little time, I'll do some basic dynamic warm-up movements, which is enough to get my body in motion.

7) After I've put the body through some form of exercise and movement, I'll fuel up with a simple protein shake. All I do is mix some protein powder with water and add a dash of Spirulina/Chlorella blend.



For the protein I use the Vega Sport Performance Protein. I find the vanilla tastes best. All Vega products are plant based and their latest performance protein consists of 30 grams of protein with additional complexes of Glutamine, BCAA's, and Probiotics.

If you're in the Downtown Vancouver area, Body Energy Club and Victoria's Health both have this item for $40 approximately. Each place also has a great smoothie bar! Alternatively, you can get this product online but you'll pay a bit extra for it.



Both Spirulina and Chlorella are packed with nutrients and health benefits. Having both in the same mix is a powerful combo. Furthermore, mixing both into your protein shake is a true vitality.


I bought the above Spirulina/Chlorella blend at Victoria's Health but you can get it online as well.

There you have it, that's my perfect morning routine. This takes me anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on how long I read, how many games of chess I play, and how long I workout for.

By the time I'm done my routine I'm already feeling accomplished and the main part of the day hasn't even arrived yet. I've hydrated, supplemented, caffeinated, got my reading in, played some chess, moved the body, and fueled up!



WHAT OTHERS DO TO BOOST THEIR MORNING ROUTINE



Below, I've compiled a list of 27 tips and ideas that many use to create a successful morning routine. I'm positive that there's a few you can adopt and implement into your own routine to ignite the start of each day . . .


  1. Make your bed right away, it's win number one

  2. Take a cold shower, it will definitely wake you up

  3. Do some breathing exercises like the Wim Hof Method, it's extra O2

  4. Journal your thoughts, it calms the mind

  5. Create a gratitude list, it puts things into perspective

  6. Listen to a podcast of choice, knowledge is always useful

  7. Listen to an audio book, for those who don't read or prefer both

  8. Take in a Ted Talk, there's thousands of them

  9. Allow good news only, you'll here the bad stuff anyway

  10. Do a word search puzzle, it's food for the mind

  11. Try some Sudoku, if your into numbers

  12. Listen to uplifting music, science agrees that it's a good thing

  13. Take you're dog(s) for a long walk if you have one

  14. Get a dog so you have to walk it, just saying

  15. Do some foam rolling to loosen the body

  16. Go for a morning hike for some extra fresh air

  17. Go for a bike ride, it's easy on the joints

  18. Go for a swim, if you don't mind the initial cold plunge

  19. Drink some tea, there's endless benefits and flavors

  20. Water the plants, they'll take care of you if you take care of them

  21. Buy some plants so you have to water them, it's a win-win

  22. Leave your phone alone, it ruins every morning routine

  23. Save the emails for later, they'll still be there

  24. Limit screen time at night, you'll sleep better and be more refreshed

  25. Review tomorrow tonight, it makes the morning less stressful

  26. Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier

  27. Don't hit the snooze button, you know why



YOUR PERFECT MORNING ROUTINE



How you start your day largely dictates the level of enthusiasm that you'll carry with you throughout the rest of the day. Knowing this, it's important to establish a morning routine if you don't already have one.


The aim is to create a "perfect" morning routine, a list of several actions of your choosing that appeal to you, suit your lifestyle and initiate the mind-body connection. This routine should take you anywhere from 30 to 60+ minutes depending on the day.


As I mentioned above, I have some go-to items, HIGHLIGHTED IN GREEN, that I always do regardless of how much time is available. These are things that activate my body and mind quickly while fueling me up for the day ahead.


Here's a recap of my morning go-to items: one to two glasses of filtered H2O, followed by a Vitamin C/MSM drink mix, a cup of black coffee, alongside reading my bible, and some dynamic warm-up movements to get my body in motion. On average, this takes me 30 minutes to complete these five items.


That's the bare minimum for me but it works well. When time permits, I'll do all seven of the steps that I've listed.


Your approach should be similar. Aim to create a morning routine that allows you to activate your body and mind efficiently while giving you the option of adding more items on days that allow for it.


Now that you've read about what I do and you've reviewed the 27 tips and ideas that others adopt and implement into their morning routines, you have plenty to draw upon to create your own morning routine.


Develop a list of items that will constitute your "perfect" morning routine using these tips, ideas and information. Additionally, don't hesitate to implement ideas not mentioned here as long as it activates the body or mind in some fashion.


Choose at least 3 things to do as soon as you rise and be sure to select some go-to items that you can resort to when time is short.


Once you have your list, put it into practice. Feel free to change things accordingly as you go along as it may take some trial and error to fine tune your routine. When you've established a system that works well, apply it consistently.


EXTRA TIP: Aim to be up 2 to 3 hours before your first appointment or task of the day, this will guarantee enough space and time to for your morning routine to transpire without feeling pressured.


"Press on despite your setbacks, by doing this you become truly unstoppable" - Anonymous


When you take control of your morning, you take control of your day. Do this knowing you'll stumble and fall as you go forward in the pursuit of excellence, and then keep going still.


It's my hope that you found this useful, it's also my hope that you put this to use.


Get Fit, Stay Fit, Enjoy Life!


Best,


Stephen C. Langhjelm

North Vancouver, BC, Canada

stephen@sclfitness.ca | 778 378 8684

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