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Any great biography about a man who's achieved great things in some form or another...
Is insight on how to live well.
None of these great men - no matter how revered they eventually became - set out with such grand ambitions.
Many of them had far greater obstacles and setbacks than you or I…
Far humbler beginnings...
What they didn't have is limiting beliefs about what's possible...
Or lazy, bad habits that prevented them from becoming great.
If you could define true greatness it's not the end, the legacy they left, the grand things they did, because those things were dependent on who they were daily...
And every day, the greatest among us, simply set out to live the best life they can live for that day.
That's greatness. It's how you live that gets you what you achieve.
Which is essentially why we're here.
We're here to live the best life we can live. Period. That fact should influence every decision you make in every second of every day.
It should clarify why you're doing what you're doing.
Let that sink in...
With every waking moment our mission is to live our best life possible.
Not someone else's life...
And not some future thing that doesn't exist yet.
Live the best life you can live in this very moment.
Too many of us spend our time in the future, thinking about what we want - things, the life, much of which is out of our control.
Get out of the future.
But get out of the past, too.
You don't have to be who you've been.
You are not your mistakes.
Life is the present, it isn't the past or the future, but who you are now, and you can choose who you are now by doing the best thing you can be doing in the moment.
Which brings me to my morning routine.
It’s said that if you win your morning you win your day. (read: Sleep and Testosterone: How to Increase Testosterone by 15% Every Hour
And by winning your day, over time, you win your life.
Over the past 20 years, and especially the last 5, I’ve tried everything to optimize my morning.
I’ve taken things from great men and applied it to my routine.
Sometimes they worked, sometimes it was something that didn’t help me perform optimally and had to be discarded (I tried waking up at 4am for a year, I was just too tired during the day to be at my best - lesson learned).
Within this routine are habits that will help your health, hormones, and your overall performance.
Performance is what we're really after. Being healthy and having high testosterone levels flowing through your veins are simply things that help you perform better (live better).
Let's dive in...
The Morning Routine
I don't like daily
routines. Routines, to some extent, make you robotic.
We need randomness and optionality.
The point of a morning routine, however, is to ensure that you do things that move you forward and maybe even more importantly, don't do things that hold you back. (read: the Testosterone Boosting Morning
You win a day by having these little victories in the battles where you want to do something you shouldn't do, something other than what you've set out to do.
By using a routine you can move from task to task without wasting precious energy deciding what to do with your time.
If you struggle in the morning, read this article: 5 Tips to Fix Low Motivation
What You Don't Do
I find it insanely helpful to keep my phone on mute and hidden all morning. Checking email or Twitter or texts or answering calls ruins momentum.
Also don't check websites that don't need to be looked at in the morning, definitely no TV. From 5am to 10am should be your best, highest performing hours of the day.
Anything that pulls you from the habits that help your performance should be discarded.
What To Do
Early rise. Stretch. Listen. Cardio.
Find your best time to wake up. For me it's between 5am and 530am. I go to bed around 930pm the night before, ensuring 8 hours of sleep - or close to it.
Stretching is something I've added to my routine in the past few years simply because I need it. When I'm routine with my stretching in the morning, I stay injury free. When I miss my stretching for a week or so I'm almost guaranteed to tweak a muscle.
Listening to an audiobook along with the stretching pours wisdom into your brain first thing in the morning. It calms you. Gives you confidence. Opens your mind to possibilities.
Right now I'm listening to Sam Walton's biography. Before that was The Gambler (must read), and before that was The Fish Who Ate the Whale (another must read).
I'm also currently adding 5 INTENSE minutes on the Airbike after this session. It's the toughest cardio machine there is. Intense intervals on an exercise bike will help as well.
Before this, I take Man Mojo
, which has yohimbine, a supplement derived from an African tree that helps you burn fat when working out in a fasted state. It also skyrockets your libido, something I've noticed - which essentially helps you have more energy if you're able to focus it on work and not on sex.
Work and Man Brain
What you do after you stretch will depend what kind of work you do. I work from home much of the time, so jumping right into some work after stretching and listening to a good book is ideal for me.
Man Brain dials me in
. It makes these early hours even more productive. It's really something I notice. I'm more focused, I remember better, I get into the flow state immediately.
Back to the books. Read to become smarter, of course, but more importantly, read to learn how to make better decisions, to understand what's possible, to be better equipped for success - however you define it.
Opening up a book in the morning, for me, is time well spent, especially after that first work session that usually lasts a couple hours.
Your first meal is often dictated by your work schedule. It should include fats, proteins, and carbs.
Eggs, some fruit, and possible some meat (which slows the rise of blood sugar) in the morning is ideal. This meal is also my pre-workout meal.
I eat it a couple hours before I workout. So I'll eat around 9 or 10 and lift around 11 or 12.
With your breakfast, don't overdo it on carbs as you'll crash a few hours later. Meat - bacon, sausage, back bacon - is great as it slows the rise of blood sugar.
I also recommend eating light.
Food should help increase energy levels, not send them crashing down.
Too much food in the morning will inevitably tire you out and create that late morning/early afternoon crash.
Read: How Intermittent Fasting Improves Brain Performance
Work session two is again, devoid of the phone which I typically still haven't looked at. The key to doing good work is to know what you should do.
Rather, decide what you should do, and then do it.
That's it. I used to sit down and then decide what I should do. Now that's decided the day before or at the end of the previous work session.
Man Greens and Lift
I don't like pre-workout supplements. They're filled with crap I don't want to put into my body, and Man Greens
gives me a jolt of energy anyway, that doesn't crash as soon as I leave the gym.
In the gym, strength train.
Getting stronger is a must for men.
It opens up possibilities, it makes you more useful, it's strength training that'll help you build more muscle, strength training that'll help you lose more fat.
Here's the workout I'm currently doing...
Work. Walk Teddy. Get One More Great Work Session In...
The rest of the day's performance, as far as work is concerned, isn't as good as those morning hours, which is why the morning is such an important time.
If you control your morning, don't get distracted by useless things and tasks, you're going to win.
The compound effects of winning your morning can really be felt.
Add in the health benefits of stretching, reading, doing cardio, and lifting weights, and you're only increasing how much energy you have and how well your brain performs.
Take time to make your own morning routine. Get it dialled in.
Above is primarily a suggestion, though I do highly recommend stretching and listening to an audiobook, reading, and doing some form of cardio in the morning.
And a light breakfast with eggs, animals, and fruit is ideal for energy and performance (fruit... I typically have dark berries).
Now, get after it.