Good morning! It’s bright and early – Before dawn. Now it’s time to Exercise…
Hopping out of bed at the crack of dawn and exercising has been about as realistic as the crazy recurring UFO dream I used to have, yet here I am at 6am doing it.
After a few months of permanent “travel” (aka just regular life for me now) I realized I was getting fat, had low energy, and was simply not jazzed about life.
Finally I’ve figured out that bodyweight exercises can be awesome for a traveler. They’re challenging, you can build muscle, and you don’t need to travel with a bunch of heavy equipment.
But how to do it? Well check out my sweet new life habit / routine thing:
Exercise Without Thinking
In the past… What has destroyed my exercise routine? After the initial excitement of working out wears off… I would find myself in the gym sorta lost, looking around wondering, “OK, what do I do now?”
So I’ve eliminated any chance of that by outsourcing my exercise and training to an app.
I just wake up. Start the coffee. Then start exercising.
I used to use a free bodyweight workout app but recently I’ve upgraded to Freeletics. I’ve been using it for only a short time, but so far it’s great.
There’s lots of benefits to using the app. For example, it adjusts training based on your feedback and you can tell it what equipment you have available. I have NO equipment available right now and the exercises are just fine for me. I’m pleasantly sore and get a decent sweat on in the morning.
There are free apps out there and I’m sure almost ANY of them would be good enough. As long as you’re breaking a sweat.
Why work out in the morning
Working out in the morning (before 9am) increases cortisol levels, that’s the stress hormone. It’s GOOD to elevate your cortisol in the morning because then the rest of the day it’ll be at lower, healthy levels.
Most people go around with elevated cortisol all day long, which is BAD because it puts your body into a constant state of stress which leads to all kinds of crazy illnesses and craziness and general life-not-excellent-ness.
Then there’s the cool chemical stuff that happens where your body utilizes beneficial hormones and all this biochemistry stuff I’m not an expert in. But basically, if you go to sleep early your hormone production gets in balance. And if you exercise early it handles stress (which can mess up your hormone and cool brain chemical utilization) and makes the rest of your day awesome.
So I made it my habit to wake up super early. Then exercise. I’m training the habit now, so I can’t say it’s permanently in place. But so far so good and I have every intention of keeping it up.
Go to sleep early.
If you want to wake up early, well, you gotta go to sleep early. In the past I’ve hemmed and hawed and made this thing way more complicated than it has to be.
Here’s what I did: Set a target to be in bed around 11:45pm. Asleep by midnight. And awake at 6am. Simple. If I stay up past midnight, too bad. The alarm is going off at 6am. So far, this has worked surprisingly well.
At first I set little alarms with labels as the new bedtime was coming.
For example: “10PM GTF to sleep! / Night Routine”
How much do you need to sleep?
Your body needs somewhere between six and eight hours of sleep, so they say.
I’ve heard from Shawn Stevenson, the sleep expert, that the ideal amount of sleep for the average person is a minimum of six hours a night.
Then it goes up in increments of 90 minutes.
For example, if six hours is too little, then jump up to seven and a half hours. If that’s still too little, jump up to nine hours.
I used to think that I NEEDED eight hours of sleep a night, no matter what. I’m realizing now that I can function well if I get just six hours and wake up early.
I did give myself a “get out jail free card” where if I’m still tired or sleepy then I can take a nap of 37 minutes in the afternoon (I’m an expert napper and discovered this was the perfect amount of time for me).
An Energy Boost
When I wake up super early like this I find I get an energy boost… Like bonus points my biology is giving me for living according to the cycle of the sun and the moon. It’s almost like… I was meant to wake up early. Weird.
Arnold Schwarzenegger says when he was making a name for himself in the early days of his career he’d sleep six hours. Work a construction job as a brick layer. Work out bodybuilding for four hours. Take classes at the community college. Take acting classes. Go to sleep at midnight. And repeat the whole process. He didn’t want to waste a single minute of his time.
And so that’s how he became a millionaire before filming his first movie. From reinvesting his masonry business money into real estate. There was no money in bodybuilding in those early days, so he says.
In his motivational speeches he’s been giving since the release of his autobiography he likes to say, “Oh well some of you out there will say that I need 8 hours of sleep. Well, I say just sleep faster.”
Anyway – If you’re like me and think you need tons of sleep.. Maybe that isn’t so.
DO IT if you want to live…
Try sleeping for six hours a night. Waking up early. Exercising early. And seeing how awesome it is for you.
So far I’ve been following this routine which I partly stole from Robin Sharma (thanks!) and I feel GREAT.