Boot Camp? Check. Personal Trainer? Check. Stress levels still high? Read on...
Very few people I know, including friends, personal training clients, bootcampers and even me, consider themselves "morning people."
Thinking about how most of us spend our mornings; usually rushing around getting ready for work and out the door on time, or getting the kids ready for school, trying to beat the traffic, while already starting to check/reply to emails or voicemails...is it any wonder?!
This is the same reason many people's favourite time is actually the evening. This is when work is over (for some anyway) and there is a little more freedom to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, the stresses of the day often mean reaching for chocolate and/or wine as an "earned" reward for surviving it...
If this sounds familiar, don't worry you're far from alone. In fact, you're one of the majority experiencing the overwork overload imbalance that has driven so many of the population to overeat and over-drink; often without even realising it is happening.
Up until recently, even following a great nights sleep I'd still struggle to get up in the morning. Before I met my husband (an ACTUAL morning person!) I'd always associated early starts with duty and obligations like school (which I hated) uni lectures (I loved uni but preferred lectures that were in the afternoon...) or having to be somewhere other than the comfort of my bed. I also always found I had way more energy in the evenings.
Cutting out gluten a few years ago hugely enhanced my sleep quality and ability to get up, as it was affecting my brain and central nervous system as well as my stomach. But I'd still often feel rushed in the mornings, which stressed my body out. And this is something not helped by intense exercise. In fact, too much intense exercise can even end up having the opposite effect on the body's stress levels.
That's when I decided to make another change: to start both going to bed and getting up earlier. And from having that little bit more time in the mornings, something AMAZING began to happen.
My morning routine that I try to maintain now:
After my cups of warm water and lemon, I now do fifteen minutes of mindful meditation*, followed by twenty minutes of yoga, then a shower and my green smoothie. This little bit of extra quiet time in the morning gives me the freedom to consciously prepare for my day before any calls or emails are attended to, and before my first personal training client arrives. I now honestly cannot imagine not doing it.
"Yes, but how could this help me burn fat?"
...Is the question on everyone's lips! Speaking from experience, this routine has significantly reduced my stress levels; giving me clarity and increased my energy and capacity to perform. And we all know the detrimental effect stress has on fat-loss!
Before embarking on this routine, I wasn't even aware of how stressed the rushing in the mornings was making me feel; especially given how much I love my job as a personal trainer and it never actually even feels like work!
Yoga's combination of gentle stretches, vigorous movement and relaxation also balances out my other high intensity and strength workouts. My muscle tone has therefore increased!
My HIIT workouts now take place a couple of times a week between my meditation and Yoga; taking them outdoors for some fresh Southampton air, weather-depending. I fit my strength training in during the afternoon, when I have gaps between my personal training clients.
"So how could I get started, to help reduce my stress levels?"
We are creatures of habit, which is why I believe the body will always feel and perform better when it is in a healthy and sustainable routine. Start by going to bed and setting your alarm half an hour earlier, for an extra thirty minutes of distraction-free morning "me time".
A wonderful lady, whom I admire once stated that morning routines do take discipline and commitment. I couldn't agree more. And considering the wonderful results I've personally experienced from sticking with it, you might just find yourself becoming an 'honorary morning person' too 🙂
Good luck and wishing you a peaceful day!
*My favourite mindful meditation is Tony Robbins' Daily Magic. This is something that has helped me and many of my personal training clients achieve clarity, peace and wellness in more ways than any of us ever thought possible.
The power of one's thoughts should NEVER be underestimated! If you fancy learning more about how this or any other aspect of this post could help you too, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation today.