Optimize Your Morning Routine, Part 2
The four pillars of health.
I’ve found that the quality of my day is largely dependent on how well I optimize my morning routine. I like to get a jump on things early, so I wake up between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. every day to start my morning.
In a previous post I introduced one key element of that routine: The walk. That article addressed one of the Four Pillars of Health — Movement. But before I ever step outside in the morning, there are several other things that happen first. And each of these activities focuses on a different Pillar.
Though it may sound like a convoluted chemical process, this is just my term for drinking lots of water. It’s the first thing I do every morning to wake up my body. And although it’s simple, hydrating early has a huge effect on energy, alertness and metabolism throughout the day.
This is something many people don’t even consider when looking for ways to optimize their health and performance. In fact, studies have shown that 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration — a problem that can decrease memory and increase feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Additionally, the spine actually compresses from dehydration overnight and replenishing your water early in the morning can alleviate back pain and keep your joints healthy.
Understanding how to breathe, oxygenate and calm ourselves is a lesson everyone can benefit from. According to recent scientific studies, lung capacity is one of the biggest determining factors of longevity and quality of life. The more we breathe, the more fat we burn, the more relaxed we become and the more we’re able to stay present and aware throughout the day.
As a business consultant for more than 20 years, one of the biggest things I helped clients with didn’t actually have anything to do with business — it was teaching them to breathe. Taking the time to be intentional with your breathing (seven-second inhale and seven-second exhale through the nose) can really change your life. Every morning, I focus on deep breathing so that I can pump the maximum amount of oxygen into my bloodstream. This decreases anxiety, heightens awareness and lowers blood pressure.
Rather than eating a heavy breakfast, I try to take on as many nutrients as possible every morning. I make a hypernutrition smoothie that consists of nutrient-dense, raw, organic, Non-GMO superfoods.
My hypernutrition smoothie has almonds (or cashews), bananas, cacao nibs, dates and sometimes Bulletproof coffee, combined with high-grade protein powders and small amounts of the following superfoods and concentrates (I personally prefer Sunfood Superfoods and Mushroom Matrix because of the way they’re processed):
- Maca — hormone balance and immune booster
- Mesquite — supplement for minerals depleted in the food system (honestly, it just tastes good)
- Reishi — anti-inflammatory
- Lion’s Mane — anti-inflammatory
- Greens Blend — increases alkalynity and a wide spectrum of phytonutrients
- Açai Berry — huge antioxidant
- Maqui Berry — antioxidant, but also anti-aging
All of these superfoods are adaptogens that help to stabilize the body’s processes, and the effect of all these ingredients is immediately noticeable.
I’d encourage anyone to adopt these habits into their own morning routine. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact on our lives. And when we make healthy practices a habit, it allows us to do more on a daily basis and make bigger strides toward our potential.
And if you want any insight into the tactics of what I listed above, here are some resources:
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on September 22, 2016.