Morning Habits of Successful Integrative Health Coaches

Whether you’re a morning or night person, you’ve heard how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. So below are morning habits of successful integrative health coaches that will hopefully inspire you!

I’ve always been a morning person. My alarm can go off and I’m out of bed, dressed and out the door in 15 minutes. And I’ve always been proud of it. But now I’m realizing that my rushed morning leads to a rushed day so I’ve been implementing a morning routine to help me slow down, get grounded and be more focused.

Leslie McDonald

The alarm goes off an hour before I have to actually leave the house and sometimes that can be at 5am. You may think that’s super early, but my time alone that early in the morning is something I truly treasure. In the hustle and bustle of NYC, an hour to myself is extremely valuable. So what do I do for an hour before I actually have to leave the apartment? As soon as I wake up I head to the kitchen — no not to eat or get a cup of coffee. I grab a tablespoon of coconut oil so I can start oil pulling. This morning practice should be done right when you wake up, before you eat or drink so it can remove built up toxins from your body that have been stagnant all night. I’ve noticed significant improvement in my skin and a reduction in acne and bumps on my forehead and around my chin since I started oil pulling. But I’m all about multi-tasking, so while I’m swishing oil in my mouth, I’m also in the shower! It takes a bit of coordination, but I’m improving on this morning routine combo.

Once I’m out of the shower and have spit out the coconut oil (not in the sink or shower because it will clog the pipes), and brushed my teeth, I’m having an apple cider vinegar drink. You may think it’s acidic, but rather it makes the body alkaline once consumed which helps reduce inflammation, increase energy, improve heart health and improve the strength of bones. In a cup of water with maple syrup, I add apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Something new?

I also love fitting in 3–5 minutes for Morning Pages. It’s a great way to free flow write exactly what is on my mind. Lately I’ve been writing a lot of questions that I’ve had about work, friends and family. I love writing them down so they aren’t in my head the rest of the day. I feel more centered, grounding and focused by allowing these thoughts to leave my body. The sentences are always coherent, I don’t even write full sentences all the time either. This is my time to write how I want and what I want, knowing no one else will be reading it and it’s just for me to get my ideas out in a given amount of time.

After that, I’m getting dressed for a morning workout. If I don’t workout in the morning, I will talk myself out of it later in the day. There’s always something else to do in the evening, or once I’m home I’m not going to go back out to workout. So I make it a point to get my workout done first thing in the morning before I do anything else. Sometimes I will eat some chicken or sweet potato or an rxbar for pre workout, or I’ll have it after since it is still really early to start eating. My go to workout is Bar Method and I have been a member of the NYC studio since 2011. I am also a cast member on Daily Burn now so I get to mix it up a little to keep my muscles guessing and not get used to one specific routine.

By the time I’m done working out, it’s 8am and I’m ready to start my day of meetings, emails, blog posts, social media and chatting with friends. For me, my morning routine helps me be efficient, healthy and focused because I start the day focusing on myself. I don’t get distracted by work emails or Instagram posts — I focus on what my body and mind need in order to be successful and how I can feed my mind and body to improve the quality of my day and life.

What else have I tried?

I’ve tried other morning routines like dry brushing, saying a mantra out loud, meditating, and even though they’re all great and healthy things to be doing, they just don’t work for me. And I truly believe that what works for one person might not work for another. And I’m always open to changing my routine, experimenting and trying new things, so I never want to rule out anything. I just know that waking up any early than one hour before I have to leave my apartment isn’t going to happen because I really don’t want to see 4:30am if I don’t have to!

Things I won’t do in the morning? Check my phone! I used to wake up and immediately start texting people (you, I know it’s 5am), answer e-mails, scroll on social media…I saw this as being productive and getting a lot of work done and out of the way so I can clear my mind before a workout. But I found that it was stressing me out. I was thinking about work or if someone texted me back while I was working out or commuting, and the sun wasn’t even up! It was just too much. So I have switched it up and dedicated the mornings just to me!

Leslie McDonald // Instagram

Leslie McDonald is a certified health coach, reiki practitioner and entrepreneur. She provides meal prep for individuals and families so they can stay healthy no matter how busy they are. She promotes health and wellness in all areas (body, mind and soul).

Victoria Verlezza

I have always been a morning person but I have only recently given into the desire to have a routine in the wee morning hours. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I choose to sleep a little later instead of getting up but that just means I’m paying close attention to my body and giving myself permission to wait on my tasks. When I started falling into my routine, I wanted something very simply and FUN!

Self-care routine

Around 6:00am, I get out of bed, spray my face with one of my favorite products from Beautycounter. I make sure to turn on my diffuser, usually with Motivate or Cheer from DoTerra. After I have it going, I open a window in my living room to allow for fresh sea air to circulate into my living room.

I make a fresh cup of coffee (and add in Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides) and drink a glass of water to take my supplements. During this process, my cats Oscar and Ernie are anxiously waiting for me to feed them rehydrated chicken. Once they are fed and I’m caffeinated, I start on my pressing to-do list.

I take advantage of the morning time when those around me are still sleeping by either doing something for Integrative Nutrition or work on a paper or reading for my PhD. At some point, I’ll put together some breakfast. My whole routine is surrounded by balance and getting into the mindset of being “productive” (whatever that means). My intention for this year is to actually to start completing a yoga practice in the morning before work. This is something I’ve given thought to and sometimes am able to do but other times, have forgiven myself and decided to do other more pressing things.

What have I learned?

One thing I’ve learned while balancing multiple and often competing priorities is to take a look at my to-do list and figure out what has got to get done in the moment. And I’ll be honest, for me, those wee hours before people get up, is the best time to do it! And the best part? I can do it from the comfort of my own apartment, with my sweet boys snuggled with me and a hot cup of coffee in hand. Happy Morning Rituals, friends!

Victoria Verlezza // Instagram

Victoria is a passionate and driven human who loves all things wellness, balance, and holistic health. I am a current IIN student but also a full time professional and Beautycounter consultant on the side. I love practicing yoga, eating amazing food, and hanging out with my two amazing cats. Check her out at:

Danielle Tamburro

I LOVE the mornings. I am very much a morning person and I consider mornings my “me time”. Now I don’t always have the time to have a whole routine because sometimes I have to get up at 5am and run out the door to go teach. BUT when I do have the time (which is the kind of life I am trying to create for myself), my mornings go something as follows. I wake up and go right to my couch and start my Morning Pages. Morning pages are my morning journal in which I free-flow, stream of consciousness write whatever is on my mind. This idea was developed by Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way.

After I do about 1–3 pages (depending on time) of Morning Pages, I meditate (this is very new to my routine!) or just take a moment to relax and breath deeply. Currently, I am doing Oprah and Deepak Choprah’s 21 day guided meditation which I LOVE. I find the guided meditations super helpful especially since it is new for me. If I don’t have time to meditate in the morning, I will find time at night before bed.

After meditating, I start making breakfast for myself and my boyfriend, usually some kind of egg and veggie scramble and a smoothie, I’ll make myself tea and my boyfriend coffee, and then I wake him up! He is not a morning person so I enjoy slowly waking him up after I have my time to myself. We eat breakfast together, which is my favorite thing to do! Then I take my morning supplements, brush my teeth, use my new tongue scraper, and wash my face with my new favorite face wash.

Does this happen every morning?

As I said, this all doesn’t happen everyday and that’s ok! This is my ideal morning that I do get to have at least 3–4 times a week because I have chosen to make my morning routine a priority and a part of my self-care. I realized how much I love mornings and I want to set myself up for my days better. Before this, I was rushing out of bed and out the door, eating a bar and coffee, which didn’t sustain me and I was hungry an hour later. This is something I know I don’t want to go back to! It didn’t make me feel good. IIN has given me the tools to make my health my priority and a huge part of that for me was having a good morning routine to set me up for success!

Danielle Tamburro // Instagram

Danielle is a dancer with SPDance, a community outreach dance company and an Instructor at The Bar Method Soho. She is currently enrolled in IIN and has found a new passion for nutrition and wellness and can’t wait to share with others. Follow her journey

Alaina Sinopoli

  • Waking up early to get in exercise a few days a week I’ve found works the best for me. I like to get it out of the way so I can focus on other things that may come up unexpectedly throughout the day. (on mornings where I have a hard time waking up, sometimes I went to sleep in my gym clothes so that it would force me to get up and move!) I will alternative some mornings with just stretching or a quick yoga, or a 10 minute guided meditation too.
  • I always need to have breakfast, pre and post workout- usually alternates with something like oatmeal/eggs/avocado toast/fruit/smoothie and…. COFFEE with homemade fresh almond milk from my vitamix.
  • I like to wake up to some easy music like jazz while I get ready to leave the house.
  • I used to wake up and check my phone first thing but I stopped doing that and now take a couple hours to allow me to ease into my day- I will water my plants, read a chapter of a book, do a little writing and/or set my intentions of what I want to accomplish.

Alaina Sinopoli // Instagram

Michelle Cady

My alarm goes off at 6:45am after 8 or more hours of sleep. Ever since healing from adrenal fatigue, getting in bed for 8–9 hours a night has become my #1 health priority and I’m really protective about my sleep time! This was a huge lifestyle shift for me : when I worked in Finance and woke up for 6am Barry’s Bootcamp classes, I’d average only 5.5 to 6 hours of sleep during the week. Which lead to consuming 3–4 cups of coffee a day … no bueno!

When I wake up, I stretch a bit in bed and make myself take three deep breaths and check in with how I’m feeling and internally say something positive about myself or my upcoming day (this only takes a few seconds).

In the bathroom, I wash my face, brush my teeth, use this tongue scraper and then drink a full glass of lukewarm water from this BPA-free stemless glass we keep in the bathroom. This starts my digestive system and helps flush out the system first thing.

Since I work from home and see all my clients virtually, I like to walk a few blocks to grab my cup of coffee to stretch my legs and get a dose of nature and see what the weather is like in the morning. The $2.50 for a gorgeous cup of high-quality black coffee at SweetLeaf in Long Island City is totally worth it for me!

Lately I’ve been experimenting with the Bulletproof Diet and Intermittent “Fat” Fasting and have been adding one TBSP of ghee and one TBSP of Brain Octane MCT oil and a pinch of pink sea salt to my coffee as my “breakfast” and then eating my first real meal at noon. I’m really enjoying it. That said, I tend to switch up my routine a few times a year, experimenting with all types of diets and eating schedules to share with my private clients. Ask me in the Fall and I might have a totally different nutrition experiment going on!

Only after my coffee walk, reading the paper for maybe 5 minutes and kissing my boyfriend goodbye as he heads to work, I look at my cell phone for the first time all morning. By now, I’ve likely been awake for 45 minutes. This type of tech detox (putting my phone to bed by 8pm and not looking at it until 7:30am or 8am) was another crucial step in resetting my stress levels over the last couple years.

I then tend to work for thirty minutes, answering client emails and arranging my work priorities for the day and then quickly switch in to workout clothes and hit up a class at the gym next to my building from 8:30 to 9:30am a few times a week. I love outsourcing my motivation for half my workouts!

Then I’m home and showered and ready to really dive in to my projects, writing, emails and client calls by 10am.

What I don’t do / have not tried

I don’t meditate, I don’t journal, I don’t drink tea, I don’t do a 20 minute yoga flow, I don’t drink matcha and I don’t make my own coffee to save money. All these things sound somewhat appealing, but just doesn’t work for me at this point in my life, and I’m 100% OK with that!

In the past, I’ve loved making a little green smoothie with a side of gluten free toast and almond butter. That breakfast still makes me happy!

Michelle Cady // Instagram

Michelle Cady is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the founder of FitVista. She works 1–1 with driven, high-achieving clients to optimize their nutrition, fitness and wellness, with a focus on stress-management and self-care.

Leanne Maciel

I love the fact that my routine changes from day to day so the only things that are set are these 3.

Smile. Drink water. Drink tea/broth.


Every morning my first conscious thought is “smile”. Before my eyes are even open, I think ‘smile’ to myself and i do it. I don’t think about anything in particular unless something pops to my mind but that smile just helps me feel good and content in my first waking moments.


I put a glass of water next to my bed every night. When I wake up, I sit there and drink it.

Drink Tea.

Then I get up and make a hot beverage of some sort — bone broth, mushroom tea, matcha, etc and I sit on my balcony and drink it. I do nothing else. Just sit and drink it.

Then it really depends on what I’ve got going on. At that point I go about my day. breakfast, emails, social media etc.

Leanne Maciel // Instagram

Originally published at on August 4, 2017.