A daily routine is a powerful force. It eliminates decision fatigue by protecting us from distraction. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. Daily routines have been put into action by some of the best and brightest the world has ever seen: Winston Churchill, Ben Franklin, Tim Ferriss, Jerry Seinfeld, & Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name a few.
One of my evergreen goals is to create a daily routine that helps me be more productive, calm, energized, and knowledgeable. The following daily routine has been through many iterations and is never considered “final”.
I hope you can find some nuggets here that you can apply to your own lifestyle.
Some background information:
I WOD 3x per week: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday @ 5:30 AM.
My daily routine is the same on days I don’t WOD except for the fact that I wake up 2.25 hours later.
4:45 AM – Wake Up & Hydrate: People that are active and eating clean are inadvertently doing two things that reduce their hydration level: expelling excess salts and minerals through sweat and reducing salts and minerals in their diet. This double-edged sword of salt and mineral deficiency in the body leads to a cycle of constantly drinking water yet never feeling hydrated. To compensate for the loss of salts through clean eating and exercise, I put a pinch of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt in my water each morning. Tip: Leave a 16-ounce cup of water with a pinch of sea salt next to your alarm clock. Waking up becomes easier when water is there for the assist.
5:00 AM – Prepare a Goat Whey Protein Shakes for wife and me: We drink 3/4 before the WOD, and 1/4 during the WOD. We use Goat Whey because it’s easier on our stomachs.
5:10 AM – Leave For Gym. 2o minute drive
5:30 AM – Crush WOD!
6:30 – 7:00 AM – Finish WOD, Clean Up, Drive Home. Consume post-workout carbs during the drive. Usually, gatorade or dried fruits.
7:00 AM – Arrive home (or wake up on non-gym days) and immediately start making breakfast and lunch for wife and myself.
7:30 AM – Breakfast with Wifey. Usually hard-boiled eggs, asparagus, dried apricots, & bulletproof coffee.
7:50 AM – Make Bed: I’m going to directly quote Admiral William H. McCraven on this point, nothing more. “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
Forward to 4:30 if pressed for time.
8:00 AM – Wife leaves for work, then I Shower: I’ll spare you the details. Just know that I typically end any given shower with a 30 second “polar plunge”. Cold showers can increase metabolism, circulation, speed of muscle recovery and more. Watch this video on the Iceman, Wim Hof for more info.
8:15 AM – Journal: I take 5 minutes each morning to write down a few things I am grateful for and a few things that need to get done that day. It helps me keep a positive outlook even when times are rough and stay focused on what needs to get done first.
8:20 AM – Meditate: Sitting in uninterrupted silence for 10-15 minutes while focusing on my breathing. I use a Muse Headband to track my meditation sessions. I used to use a guided meditation app called, Headspace. Great for beginners. If you’re not into the idea of meditating (picturing yourself on a yoga mat, wearing spandex shorts, burning incense candles) then I would suggest another breathing exercise called “Box Breathing“. Check out this video of Mark Divine from SEALFIT demonstrating the Box Breathing Technique.
8:30 AM – Read. Usually a non-fiction book about business, self-development, or nutrition.
9:00 AM – Start The Work Day
MAKE THE DAY COUNT:
True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.
8:00 PM – Journal: I know my day is over when I reach for my journal. I take another 5 minutes to reflect on the day and write a few things that made it great and one thing that could have gone better. Sometimes the great things are small wins like finding awesome parking at the grocery store. For the one thing that could have gone better, I try to focus on outcomes I can control: i.e. if it rains, I would not write “The weather could have been better” because I have no influence there. I like to re-read the entries of how I could have made my day better to ensure I’m adjusting accordingly. Keeping track of opportunities for improvement and learning from them ensures my growth as a human being.
8:10 – Get ready for bed. Wash up, start organizing for tomorrow (gym clothes, work clothes, salt-water by alarm clock, etc.)
8:30 PM – Read: Usually a biography or fiction book. Reading fiction helps slow down the gears of my constantly churning mind. Falling asleep becomes easier after reading, rather than laying in bed with forced eyes closed waiting for that magical moment of drifting away. Book > Screen. I made a choice a few years ago to remove the television from my bedroom. Earlier this year I made a commitment to avoid any electronic devices in or around the bed. This includes but is not limited to tablets, laptops, and yes, even my dearest cell phone. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of studies that suggest the blue light emitted from a screen negatively affects sleepiness the night of and alertness the day after. If you don’t want to feel like a zombie tomorrow, ditch the screen for at least 30 minutes before attempting to fall asleep.
9:00 PM – Sleep: Sleep is your best friend, spend as much time with her as possible. Not so long ago I took pride in my ability to function on 4-6 hours of sleep per night. Little did I know, sleep deprivation was holding me back in and out of the box. I was having trouble with my weight, my appetite was suppressed, and I was drinking copious amounts of caffeine to push through the day. I was missing lifts, moving slowly, and constantly in a state of soreness or tightness. When I made a commitment to getting more hours of high-quality sleep on a nightly basis, a lot of these issues fixed themselves.
So you’ve read this post, or if you’re anything like me, you scrolled immediately to the bottom to reach the conclusion. You’re probably thinking, “Good for you, guy. How does this all help me???”
You see, the way I came up with this daily routine was by seeking out and modeling the daily routines of already highly successful people across numerous industries. I’m not saying applying the same principles to our everyday lives are going to make us as successful as our models, but it can set us on the right path.
What does this have to do with CrossFit or physical fitness in general? It’s all related. My breakfast is the main source of recovery for my workout. My cold showers enhance muscle recovery so I can assuredly get back to the box according to a predetermined schedule. The pink Himalayan sea salt in my morning water prevents me from reaching for my water bottle mid-WOD as an excuse to rest. The reading before bed helps me achieve the quality of sleep necessary to feel brand new each morning. My meditation practice serves me dually. It’s a breathing exercise, which allows me to control my cardio capacity better through any given workout. Also, it helps me with mastering mindfulness, so I don’t make silly mistakes like knick my shins on a box jump or jolt my chin with the bar on a push press. Journaling allows me to record personal break throughs in and outside the box: what gets measured, gets improved.
If you adopt any of these principles, please let me know how it works out for you. Like I said earlier, my daily routine is flexible and never final. I have learned from others before and I look forward to learning from others in the future; especially you. Leave a comment to share something you love about your routine.