Why a Strength Coach Starts His Day with Electrolytes and To-Do Lists
In this article:
- Develop A Morning Routine
- Work Then Workout
- Train, Refuel, Then Work More
- Pre-Sleep Ritual
- The Key to Success: Wake Up and Repeat
Throughout my years in the strength and fitness industry, I’ve continually examined and refined how I go about my day to accomplish my goals. Whether it’s training, work, or just general life goals, I’ve refined and dialed in my approach so I can stay consistent and progress in a realistic, sustainable way.
Often, the fitness, wellness, and nutrition industries try to sell us the idea that “more is more”. We are told we need this new diet, that supplement, or we need to train this hard to accomplish our goals. This way of thinking is counterproductive.
The most meaningful and effective way to move the needle forward in your life is to make consistent, marginal gains every single day. Grandiose shifts are not usually sustainable.
As you read through my routine, remember that the aim is not to uproot everything you’re doing. Instead, look at my systems and identify the details that align with your goals and how you might integrate them into your day-to-day.
Here is my wellness routine for pursuing strength, body composition, life, and business gains.
Mornings are awesome because they present the opportunity to set a consistent and strong intention for the day. Everyone’s morning routine should look slightly different, but I’ll share what works well for me.
Every morning, I do these three easy things that help me set the tone for my day, and allow me to gauge my energy levels:
- Consume 12 to 16 ounces of water with electrolytes: We naturally lose minerals and vitamins while we sleep, so taking an electrolyte supplement with my morning glass of water is a nice way to start hydrating for the day.
- Journal: I spend five minutes journaling on two specific things: two to three things that I want to accomplish today; and two things I’m grateful for. This helps me align my focus and start my day with a sense of appreciation for the positives in my life.
- Walk my dogs while I soak up the sunlight: I’ve learned that when I start my day by glancing at my phone, I get stressed by the many notifications and emails I received while I was asleep. I now begin every day by seeking out the sunlight and taking my pups for a nice walk. This allows me to enjoy the benefits of sunshine and connect with my dogs before ramping up for the day.
After my morning routine, I make breakfast and start checking emails and notifications to start my workday. Work can vary greatly, but I try to stick with a consistent timeline to help me regulate my energy and break up my day. Many of us work from home these days, so it’s especially important to create a schedule that fosters a healthy relationship with our work and how we perceive our living space.
On a normal day, I work in the morning from about 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., taking five- to ten-minute breaks every hour. For these breaks, I get up and play with the dogs, check in with my partner, and try to separate my attention from my screens.
Since I work out around 2 to 3 p.m. each day, I start timing my pre-workout and some of my pre-workout supplements before I disconnect and hit the gym. Specifically, I take vitamin B complex and beetroot juice about 60 to 90 minutes before my training session.
I eat my pre-workout snack then sip on beetroot juice while I work. Research suggests beetroot may increase nitric oxide levels and help enhance athletic performance. This timing allows me to reap the benefits of my pre-workout supplements while I am training.
My workouts are generally about 60 minutes long and vary based on my goals. I take a “less is more” approach to my training. I’m in the gym four times a week, which is more than enough time to pursue strength and body composition goals for most lifters.
After my training session, I come home and start refueling. Since my drive to the gym takes about 15 to 20 minutes, I bring a whey protein shake in a reusable water bottle to consume on my ride home. This keeps me from getting “hangry” while I prepare my post-workout meal.
My post-workout meal varies slightly from day to day, but it generally consists of lean protein, cheese, vegetables, and a carb source like potatoes. You should aim to individualize your pre- and post-workout nutrition routine to your personal nutrition goals. If you need guidance, seek out a registered dietitian specializing in sports nutrition to help you optimize your diet.
After I’ve refueled with a nourishing meal, it’s back to work. I work from 4 p.m. to about 7 or 8 p.m. I enjoy breaking up my workdays and my evening tasks vary based on the demands of the day. I generally save my less mentally demanding tasks for this early evening shift, so I often edit videos, send out emails, or structure tasks for the next day.
Following my evening work session, I start to wind down and prep for bed. My partner and I take a walk with our dogs while we talk about our days. This evening walk affords us quality time together going over what happened in both our business and personal lives.
I try to put my phone and other screens down between 8:30 and 9 p.m. I’ve found the blue light emitted from these devices messes with my ability to wind down from my day and fall asleep. Taking a screen break before bed has helped me fall asleep quicker and easier.
Sometimes I notice I’m still hungry from my day as I’m winding down before bed. If I need a pre-bedtime snack, I opt for oatmeal with protein powder to fuel my body with fiber-rich carbs and a protein boost. I also enjoy my final glass of water and adding more electrolytes if my day was especially stressful or physically demanding.
After this meal, I take a relaxing, hot shower and read a good book for 20 to 30 minutes.
Before finally hitting the hay, I take magnesium glycinate and zinc to aid in recovery and support my immune system. I find the magnesium helps me relax and boosts my recovery when my training that day has been neurologically demanding.
The following day, I wake up and go about pretty much the same flow. To me, this consistency is the most important part of my ritual. It’s not the sporadic big wins or gains, but the commitment and persistence that help me progress day after day.
The key to achieving your goals throughout 2022 is to find a simple, sustainable daily structure or flow that incorporates tools to help you perform your best. A daily structure that is easy to follow, keeps you focused on your goals, incorporates time for movement, and allows for connection to those you love can help set you on track for success in this new year.