There’s something truly wonderful about being awake, and out of bed before anyone else in your house has woken.
I am writing this as someone who is now very much an early riser (or trying to be most of the time with 2 young children!). I haven’t always been this motivated to be an early riser but over the last year or so, getting up earlier than the rest of the household is something that is now a scared ritual for me. There’s something truly wonderful about being awake, and out of bed before anyone else in your house has woken. The quietness first of all, especially if you have kids, is really special. And over the last 12 months I’ve been slowly carving out a morning routine where I can have some quiet time to myself to meditate, workout and ease into my day on my own terms, rather than being woken by my kids.
I find it all too easy to have a quick scroll through social media or check my emails before bed and it’s a bad habit so I find it better to leave my phone charging in the kitchen.
The 5am Club
My alarm goes off at 5am, sometimes I snooze but a second one is set for 5.10am and I HAVE to get up when this one goes off. I used to use the alarm on my phone but after reading much about sleep from various sources, I am really trying to avoid having my phone in the bedroom. I find it all too easy to have a quick scroll through social media or check my emails before bed and it’s a bad habit so I find it better to leave my phone charging in the kitchen. Instead, I use the vibration alarm on my FitBit Versa The upside of this is that it only alerts me to wake up, unlike my phone which would also wake my other half up too (never goes down well when they aren’t a fan of a 5am wake-up call).
Next, I go to the bathroom, have a pee (TMI?), brush my teeth and splash my face with cold water just to get rid of any remnants of sleepiness! I then put on my workout clothes straight away. I tend to lay them out the night before so there’s minimal searching for socks or cursing because I can't find the t-shirt that I want to wear. And also, I am trying to make as little noise as possible to anything that keeps noise to a minimum and reduces my need for decision making at 5am is a win!
I’ll head downstairs and feed the dog. He tends to follow me everywhere and he’s quite familiar with my early morning routine now in as much as he knows I’m heading down to the kitchen and he’s in with a good chance of getting fed. Plus if I don’t feed him at this point and he’s followed me down, he starts barking for his food so as I said, keeping noise to a minimum, I give him his breakfast and let him out in the garden for a wee.
One of the main symptoms for me with hypothyroidism is sheer tiredness. I could easily sleep you under the table.
Next I’ll take my thyroid meds. So I’ve been hypothyroid (under-active thyroid) for around 6 years now, since the birth of my first child and as such I am on daily thyroxine medication to manage this condition. I have to have a gap of 2 hours either side of taking this when it comes to eating food, so I’ve found that taking this first thing means that by the time breakfast comes around at 7 - 8am then I’m fine to eat. If I don’t take it at this time generally, then I completely forget to take it and then I have breakfast and by then the whole 2 food-free hours either side make it impossible to take during the day. When I miss it on a regular basis, I feel exhausted. One of the main symptoms for me with hypothyroidism is sheer tiredness. I could easily sleep you under the table. Throw in two young kids into the mix… and well, you have the perfect storm for general knackeredness. So taking my thyroid meds to reduce this is something I have to do. The other symptom I experience with hypothyroidism is that I find it super easy to put on weight and it takes me a long time to lose it.
I’ve always struggled to drink enough water. I grew up in a house where tea with milk and two sugars was the norm, even from being a toddler
I’m also trying to get better at drinking water. As we all know, a major part of being healthy, and feeling great is hydration. I’ve always struggled to drink enough water. I grew up in a house where tea with milk and two sugars was the norm, even from being a toddler (thanks Mum for the sweet tooth I now have. I’m sure the tea with sugar in my sippy cup contributed!!). Feeling hot? Have a cup of tea, it will cool you down (this was ACTUALLY something my Mum said to me!). Too cold? Have a cup of tea, it’ll warm you up. I hope you get the picture! Anyway, drinking water in my family home just wasn’t something that we did. So fast forward to now and I have to make a hugely conscious effort to drink water, sometimes ANY water. I’ve found that having a good water bottle helps and my favourite at the moment is the Joseph Joseph Water Bottle with a tracker that you can update every time you have to refill. So in the morning, I drink 600ml of filtered water (I use a Brita filter jug) before I do anything else.
There's lots of research about the efficacy of pre-workouts and one of the key factors is the right amount of caffeine.
Next I’ll make up my pre-workout drink; Energize. I’ve been using a pre-workout for around a year now and have to say that this definitely gives me that kick up the backside to push harder during my workout. I make this up with around 500ml filtered water and drink it about 20 minutes before I push play on my workout. This particular product is clean, meaning it is plant-based, with no artificial sweeteners, colours or flavours. It also makes me feel a little tingly when it kicks in which I love! There's lots of research about the efficacy of pre-workouts and one of the key factors is the right amount of caffeine. Research has recommended around 200mg of caffeine packs the right punch for fat-burning without the jittery effects that too much caffeine has. Energize has this amount per serving so I know it's giving me the right boost at the recommended level. I drink this while I'm doing the next 2 things; journalling and reading.
At this point I'll sit down and journal for 5 minutes. I've played around with having a physical journal and writing in a book but I find that I don't tend to stick to this method. I guess it reminds me of being a 13 year old and writing Dear Diary which I did religiously as a teenager! So now I use a web based diary and app called Diaro. I use the format from the 5 Minute Journal so I'll write for 1 minute about what I'm grateful for that day. It could be anything as simple as waking up to live another day, a good night's sleep, a warm and safe home… I keep it pretty simple and about the basics that I have because I think quite often in the busyness of everyday that these are the things that get overlooked. Then I'll write for 1 minute about what would make today great. Maybe it would be sitting and writing for 20 minutes, or having a hot bath or even an afternoon nap! Finally I'll set out a thought, affirmation or quote for my day. I get lots of inspiration from things I read, Pinterest and Instagram for these. Some I see really stand out to me and I'll save them to come back to later.
For me, personal development is a non-negotiable. There’s a lot of talk about exercise and eating well, but for me that mental wellbeing part is so key to tying it all together.
Reading Personal Development
Next I'll read some form of personal development. I've really got into this over the last few years and now I just devour books where I can learn new ways and ideas about how we learn and grow as people. There are some absolute favourites that I'll return back to again and again (I'll share these in another blog post!) and some of them look at the same concept in different ways but I just LOVE learning. I've toyed with listening to books on Audible but I've finally settled with a Kindle which I recently bought and I have to say that I love it. I really like the fact I can highlight and make notes on whatever I'm reading which is great to come back to later on. Plus I’ve finally reconciled the fact the physical books are using paper and energy unnecessarily. I try and read for 20 - 30 minutes a day. Sometimes this is all done in one go first thing, sometimes I’ll do this broken up over the course of the day. Just depends how much time I have to play with. For me, personal development is a non-negotiable. There’s a lot of talk about exercise and eating well, but for me that mental wellbeing part is so key to tying it all together. You can workout until the cows come home and live off salad, but if you aren’t happy on the inside and have that inner confidence, then does ANY of it really matter?
I tend to prefer to follow a structured program rather than just do ad hoc workouts as I know that a program is designed to achieve maximum results, when coupled with the accompanying nutrition plan.
By now, it’s time to push ‘play’ on my workout. Depending on the program I’m following, my workouts tend to last 20 - 30 minutes on average and include everything from yoga to weights to HIIT. I tend to prefer to follow a structured program rather than just do ad hoc workouts as I know that a program is designed to achieve maximum results, when coupled with the accompanying nutrition plan. I have just launched ‘The 100 Project’ over in my online membership community ‘The Body Positive Bootcamp’. ‘The 100 Project’ is a structured workout program which includes 100 unique workouts, with a nutrition plan, and the best bit for me is that there is a DJ playing a set through all of the workouts! I’m currently on workout 15/20 and I KNOW that by the 100th workout that I’m going to have had some serious results! By the time I’ve finished this workout, it’s around 7am and my eldest has usually come downstairs and is nagging me for breakfast! So Mama duties kick in and I’m fully in the throws of the morning rush of feeding the kids, getting them ready and getting them out of the door.
I can say that becoming a morning person has definitely helped to make my own health and wellbeing a priority. That being said, it all goes out of the window if I don’t get enough sleep. So getting to bed at a reasonable time so I feel rested is the key to ALL of the above. If I’m getting to bed beyond 11pm, then a 5am wake time just won’t work for me. I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently around sleep and really recommend the book ‘Sleep’ by Nick Littlehales who has worked with some of the top athletes in the UK and has lots of useful insights and recommendations to make when it comes to making some simple but effective changes to your sleep routine.
And as with any habit, the key is about creating a routine that works for you
I’ve also found that by waking up early to workout, that I feel more productive, energised and dare I say it happier! I know that once it’s done in the morning, I can crack on with the rest of my day. Feeling those endorphins crank up really helps set the tone for my day and elevates my mood without a doubt. And as with any habit, the key is about creating a routine that works for you. You can tweak and tailor it so that it becomes something that you look forward to each day! And over time, waking up early will become easier.
If you are ready to focus on your health and fitness and commit to yourself, then registration is OPEN for the next intake of ‘The 100 Project’. What is ‘The 100 Project’?
💥 20-30 minute workouts, designed to be done in the morning to set your metabolism on fire for the rest of the day
💥 It’s 100 different cardio, strength & flexibility workouts, suitable for ALL levels of fitness; even complete beginners
🎶 All workouts set to energetic music with a LIVE DJ in the studio
🥬 Choice of nutrition plans to suit you
We start with a Prep Week on 15th September and kick off the 100 workouts from 21st September. Get ready to finish 2019 in better health than you started!