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5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You into Superman

5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You into Superman

Why do most people get stuck in a repetitive and boring lifestyle? It appears to me that the majority of us do not seek out ways to get more out of life.

For me, I am reminded of an inspirational quote from Steve Jobs, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

This quote inspires me to wake up motivated. In my crazy world, I am always moving at 100 mph at the next objective. I am always moving forward and endlessly creating. I wake up every morning knowing that I create and own this day!

I have developed a powerful morning routine. Here is what it looks like.

3 am: wake up, stretch, take a pre-workout, do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 40 bicep curls, and listen to an audiobook.

3:30 am: take a nootropic, do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 40 bicep curls, and run for 7 miles while listening to an audiobook.

4:30 am: cool-down, shower and personal hygiene while listening to an audiobook.

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5 am: eat breakfast, use posture belt, and read.

5:30 am: use posture belt and read.

6 am: write book or blog or prepare lesson plan for teaching, do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and 40 bicep curls.

7 am: write in five-minute growth journal and spend time with family before heading off to work.

This is a crazy and powerful routine. It is also a routine that is hard to follow and requires extreme dedication. Here are 5 ways you can use my morning routine to transform into superman.

1. Plan ahead and do those things others are not willing to do.

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” – J.M. Power

The key to a successful morning routine (and sticking with one) is to plan ahead the day before. I plan out my day on a small white board, take a photo of the white board and save it as the background on my phone. Since we use our phone for everything, it is easier (and faster) to glance at the background than it is to unlock my phone and open the calendar app.

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Furthermore, our brain is great at providing us ways to solve problems just by sleeping on them. By establishing my calendar the night before, my brain is already thinking ahead (and finding solutions) to ensure I stick with my calendar. It is a huge time saver and those first few minutes in the morning are the most important.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning as the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck

2. One year = 365 opportunities to create a powerful habit.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

The hardest part in establishing a morning routine is actually sticking to it. Step one is easy, we can put together a plan, but actually executing it can be a monumental task. If you can conquer this task, then you are ahead of the game.

Even if you travel a lot, adapt your morning routine so you never miss a day. This means that you must first start with a realistic plan. For this, use the If-Then planning technique. If X happens, then I will do Y. For example, If I have to work late and cannot get to bed at a reasonable time, Then I will move my morning routine to the right one hour. Or, If one-hour is not enough time to run in the morning, Then I will cut the time from my shower or from reading by 15 minutes to give myself the extra running time.

Remember, you are going to fail at times – as I do. If you miss a morning, guess what… you can start again the next day. Don’t let one failure turn into 364 more.

3. Do more before 7am than anyone else does in one day.

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.” – Marsha Doble

There is no better way to start the day than to simply exercise! I start my day off with 100 push-ups, 100-sit-ups, and 40 bicep curls. You will notice that I get 300 push-ups, 300 sit-ups, and 120 bicep curls done before 7 am every morning. I also run for 7 miles at 3:30am, which I know is crazy.

I run outside in the elements at every available opportunity. The only time I will run on a treadmill (because I refuse to miss a day) is when my wife prevents me from running outdoors, usually due to a severe thunderstorm or blizzard… yet, I do wake up earlier than she does!

Moreover, I use my morning run as a way to induce creative thinking. Albert Einstein used music as his way to bring about creative thought. When he was stuck and in need of inspiration, he would play the piano.

Einstein remarked, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.”

For me, running brings about my creative inspiration. It is amazing how ideas pop in my mind when I run. It is as if those ideas were just floating above me waiting for the perfect moment to drop in my mind.

Here are two powerful reasons why we should exercise, especially in the morning.

  • Neurogenesis: Exercising in the morning prepares the brain for optimal learning and sparks neurogenesis. Neurogenesis demonstrates that exercise is strongly correlated with increased brain mass, improved cognition, and new brain cell production. Neurogenesis is sparked by exercise and will literally grow our brain cells. Additionally, aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of the magical substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
  • Metabolism: Metabolism is the sum of total energy our body expends each day. Just as in our car, we burn less fuel at rest compared to when we are moving. Simply put, the more active we are during the day, the more we burn, and the higher our metabolism. A morning workout will help you burn more calories in the day. It is simple math, the earlier you start burning calories, the more you will burn in a day. If I start burning calories at 3am and you start at 7am, then I have a four hour jump on you.

4. Be obsessed with improving.

“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” – Larry Page

After you exercise in the morning and spark neurogenesis, you then need to do something to keep your wiring strong. I read, write books, blog, create lesson plans, and listen to audiobooks. BDNF production increases neuron growth, so maximize your time and enhance your neural connections… become a super learner.

Additionally, we all seem to have horrible posture. Every morning I wear a brace that improves my posture. I simply use an old martial arts belt and follow the steps I found at pranayoga.

    • Step 1: Place strap over your upper back and hold the ends in each hand.
    • Step 2: Drape each end of the strap over its respective shoulder.
    • Step 3: Cross the strap in back holding one end in each hand.
    • Step 4: Pull the straps so that you feel it in your trapezius muscles and secure the ends at the front.

    5. Read and make the day subservient to you.

    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

    Simply put, I do not live in this world to be average. I want to be the absolute best and so should you. Use your morning to become fit, highly motivated, happy, productive, and use it to improve your intelligence. The absolute best way to improve your intelligence is to read! I read 100 books a year and grow exponentially from every one of them.

    Listen to audiobooks, create playlists on YouTube, create boards on Pinterest, and find other creative outlets that assist you in becoming better. Reading will open doors in your mind. These are doors that have always been present, yet they were previously invisible. Reading will enhance your brain connectivity. It will increase your vocabulary, cognitive efficiency, and overall intelligence.

    Additionally, listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks offer us a way to upload knowledge to our brain. Think of plugging yourself into a computer. You have the ability to learn something new at any time of the day. I listen to audiobooks as a way to speed up my learning. I listen to them at 2x the speed in order to listen to as many as possible.

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    Remember, you are responsible for the success and happiness in your life. Greet each day as if you own it. Be the creator and force the day to bend to your will. Wake up, exercise, read, and improve. Become obsessed, crazy, and creative… become superman!

    Featured photo credit: Warner Bros. via warnerbros.com

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    Dr. Jamie Schwandt

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    Published on November 14, 2018

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

    With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

    For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

    In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

    Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

    Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

    It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

    For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

    Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

    Symptoms of Fatigue

    Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

    • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
    • mental blocks
    • lack of motivation
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • muscle weakness
    • slowed reflexes and responses
    • impaired decision-making and judgement
    • moodiness, such as irritability
    • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
    • reduced immune system function
    • blurry vision
    • short-term memory problems
    • poor concentration
    • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

    Causes of Fatigue

    The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

    • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
    • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
    • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
    • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

    Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

    Medical Causes of Fatigue

    If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

    Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

    Anemia

    Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

    Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

    There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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    This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

    Diabetes

    Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

    Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

    Thyroid disease

    An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

    Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

    • Lack of sleep
    • Too much sleep 
    • Alcohol and drugs 
    • Sleep disturbances 
    • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
    • Poor diet 

    Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

    • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
    • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
    • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
    • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

    Psychological Causes of Fatigue

    Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

    • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
    • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
    • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

    How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

    Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

    1. Tell The Truth

    Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

    To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

    Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

    The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

    One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

    • How you feel
    • What time of day it is
    • What may have contributed to your fatigue
    • How your mind and body reacts

    This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

    2. Reduce Your Commitments

    When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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    If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

    When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

    Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

    3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

    If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

    Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

    If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

    Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

    Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

    4. Express More Gratitude

    Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

    It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

    Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

    5. Focus On Yourself

    Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

    There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

    But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

    We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

    6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

    Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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    Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

    The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

    Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

    7. Take a Power Nap

    When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

    Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

    This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

    8. Take More Exercise

    The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

    Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

    The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

    You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

    9. Get More Quality Sleep

    To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

    Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

    My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

    10. Improve Your Diet

    Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

    Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

    On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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    To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

    Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

    Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

    11. Manage Your Stress Levels

    Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

    When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

    Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

    My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

    12. Get Hydrated

    Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

    Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

    If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

    The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

    The Bottom Line

    These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

    If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

    Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
    [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
    [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
    [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
    [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
    [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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