FitnessFAQs.tv https://fitnessfaqs.tv Bodyweight Strength Training Mon, 10 Dec 2018 04:38:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-single_logo_black7-32x32.png FitnessFAQs.tv https://fitnessfaqs.tv 32 32 7 Reasons Calisthenics is NOT for You https://fitnessfaqs.tv/7-reasons-calisthenics-not-for-you/ https://fitnessfaqs.tv/7-reasons-calisthenics-not-for-you/#comments Mon, 26 Nov 2018 06:12:02 +0000 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/?p=3617 Editor’s Note: The following is a post contributed to the FitnessFAQs VIP Community Blog by staff member JROSS. Check out his Amazon over at Jeremy Ross. With over 1,800 members, VIP Community membership is exclusive to owners of a FitnessFAQs training program. Find out more here. Ancient Chinese philosophers believe that everything in the universe is balanced by opposing forces known as yin and yang. Think light and darkness, male and female, sun and moon, and so on. Although calisthenics training is results-oriented, you should equally be made aware of potential disadvantages and perceived pitfalls as well. While I certainly don’t want to

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Editor’s Note: The following is a post contributed to the FitnessFAQs VIP Community Blog by staff member JROSS. Check out his Amazon over at Jeremy Ross. With over 1,800 members, VIP Community membership is exclusive to owners of a FitnessFAQs training program. Find out more here.


Ancient Chinese philosophers believe that everything in the universe is balanced by opposing forces known as yin and yang. Think light and darkness, male and female, sun and moon, and so on. Although calisthenics training is results-oriented, you should equally be made aware of potential disadvantages and perceived pitfalls as well.

While I certainly don’t want to turn you off from calisthenics, it wouldn’t be fair to glorify calisthenics while neglecting to inform you of commonly expressed drawbacks. Thus, all I ask is that you keep an open mind regarding my list of 7 disadvantages of calisthenics training, and consider whether any sound familiar when you first got started with your training journey.

1) Forget About the Bodybuilder Look

jaycutler

See that huge monster with arms exploding out of his sleeves at the gym? You know who I’m talking about! That one guy stomping around the gym like terminator with stiff arms, bulging chest, and indefinite angry face. Yeah, that’s him; you can’t even look in his direction without the fear of being broken in half, or worse, crushed to death! Worse, the veins on his head are bigger than your arms! Well, I’m sorry to tell you folks, you’ll probably never look like that guy with calisthenics training.

By the way, why is he always carrying around a bottle of red fruit juice? Oh yeah, BCAA’s, heard of that…

Many folks start an exercise program with some type of weight-training with desires of developing huge arms, chest, shoulders and back. Thinking back, I don’t recall anyone saying, “Hey JR, wouldn’t it be cool to spend all this time in the gym and still have skinny arms?”

To the contrary, people lift weights for 3 primary reasons:

  1. Get bigger
  2. Get stronger
  3. Look good

Imagine the super-human physique of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; you will never develop muscles like Dwayne with only body-weight training, unless of course you increased the resistance by adding weight to your calisthenics training. Some may argue this, but I think you get the point

Although calisthenics training will undoubtedly increase both strength and size across your entire body, it won’t increase your muscle mass in a similar fashion to heavy compound weight lifting. However, calisthenics masters’ eventually incorporate weights into their body weight training routines, and the results are unprecedented!

If you want to get remarkably huge like the Hulk, you may prefer the yellow brick road to body building instead of the monkey bar road of calisthenics.

Perhaps you prefer lifting weights but would also like to incorporate calisthenics training into your routine to build a supreme physique without looking “too big.” If so, calisthenics is for you!

2) Say Goodbye to Cute Hands

fitnessfaqs gloves

 

Once you start taking calisthenics seriously, you will quickly realize how soft and weak your hands are. Sure, you may be able to type an impressive 200 words per-minute, but those beautiful hands stand no chance against the non-forgiving pull-up bar (evil laugh inserted here…)

After your first attempts at pull-ups, you’ll soon find yourself staring at your burning red hands as they carry the pulse of your heartbeat! It will hurt so bad you will wish you never tried it.

Why do you think so many people prefer to use the comfortably-padded lat-pull machines?

Many beginners flock to fancy gym gloves to mitigate the pain in attempts at hand preservation. This is where I say – take those damn weakling gloves off your hands and toughen up!

Wearing gloves simply just places an unnecessary artificial layer between you and the bar. Get rid of them! You need to build up your calluses and allow your hands to slowly adapt to the pain and eventually you will develop super-human grip strength.

Take playing guitar for example, how many musicians play music with gloves due to the fingertip pain with steel strings?

That’s right – none!

Your body is so freaking smart that it adapts to the stress and will automatically build calluses where you need them! If your hands could talk, they would say; “Holy crap that hurts! I need to put some thicker skin on my weak hands or else I’m going to bleed to death!”

I’m warning you, the callus building process sucks, but hopefully you will overcome this challenge for the betterment of yourself.

Simply put, if you want to do calisthenics, be prepared for the body’s necessary adaptation to pain. It hurts; but after some time, you will progressively build strong hands with calluses exactly where you need them, and fortunately as a byproduct, super-human grip strength as well.

Don’t worry, with proper maintenance, you can easily sand down your calluses once a week and apply lotion daily to keep those smooth hands. Trust me, your partner doesn’t want to be touched by nasty sand-paper palms, so do everyone a favor and take care of your hands. You may want to refrain from some clothing material during the healing process, otherwise you could unravel an entire sweater!

If you prefer to maintain weak grip strength and soft hands for the rest of your life, you might not like calisthenics that much. Are my hands beat up? Yes, of course they are. However, I keep my calluses maintained with good love and care, and hopefully you do too.

3) It’s Too Hard

Planche Pro

Want to learn how to do this? Visit https://planche.pro after reading this post

 

After a grueling calisthenics workout, you’re going to feel as if you were hit by a bus! Calisthenics requires the majority of your muscles, ligaments and tendons to work in unison. By performing compound exercises, you will definitely be crawling out of bed the next day, and feeling soreness in areas of your body you didn’t even train!

Be aware, calisthenics training will certainly tax your nervous system as well, thereby making you more sore than perhaps you ever experienced with traditional weight training.

For example, you do curls and maybe experience some delayed onset muscle soreness (“DOMS”) in your biceps for the next few days. Calisthenics will definitely make your whole body hurt, amplifying DOMS to a whole new level! Be prepared for soreness beyond comprehension.

Equally important, your wrists, elbows, knees and essentially every joint in your body will freaking hurt! Seriously, you will find areas that you didn’t even know existed! For this reason, you will need to develop more awareness of anatomy and fine-tuning your ability to listen to your body’s rest and warning signals.

The times of mindlessly plowing through your workouts are over.

To be good at calisthenics, you will need to educate yourself immensely on anatomy, mobility, range of motion (“ROM”), stretching, recovery, nutrition, and everything in between. This is a huge learning experience and taking short-cuts will only lead to unsatisfactory results, and will make you injury-prone.

If you’re not serious about learning everything there is to fine tune your body, then perhaps calisthenics is not right for you. Why not give it a try though? Where to go, FitnessFAQs of course! (shameful plug).

4) Social Butterfly

bros

“Making gains brah?” “Yea brah”

 

Going to the gym is like meeting up with your friends at a coffee shop. It’s a social happy hour during the week after a crappy day at work. To the contrary, calisthenics training requires self-motivation and a tremendous serving of self-discipline.

If you’re lucky, you will find someone with similar goals and motivation to exercise with.

However, for anyone seriously attempting calisthenics, be prepared to do lots of homework and solitaire exercise – outside of a typical gym environment.

No more flexing biceps in the mirror in front of the chick in yoga pants. She doesn’t care anyway, she thinks that guy is creepy.

The amount of dedication required and willpower to exercise alone may be a turnoff for someone who prefers a nice comfortable, air-conditioned gym with a bunch of like-minded friendly folks constantly checking their phones.

If that’s you, you may not like calisthenics.

But before you make a decision, take a good look if the gym is working for you, or if you are simply feeding into the gym monster sucking you dry of your ultimate human potential.

5) Progress is Slower

fitnessfaqs time

So many people are impressed with calisthenics and immediately drawn in after witnessing ‘power-moves’, such as the muscle-up, Olympic ring holds, Human Flag, and Hand-stand holds. While those moves are certainly worthy of praise, you should know it takes months, if not years to eventually master them all!

Unlike calisthenics, traditional weight lifting provides tangible and quantifiable results in strength. For example, you may start with curling a 20lb dumbbell, then eventually graduate to doubling that weight to 40lbs in a matter of months! These results don’t always progress in a linear fashion in weight training either, though it’s much easier to track progress.

Calisthenics, on the contrary, forces you to slow down and master the basics before you can graduate to the next level. For example, if you can’t even do a single pull-up, you won’t find yourself doing 20 strict pull-ups in a matter of months. It takes valuable dedication and time. The Great Wall wasn’t built in a day was it? Well neither will your body. Stick in for the long haul – and understand that progress takes time.

Fools rush in, and the same adage applies for calisthenics training. Muscle fibers and tendons require time to adapt to the loads placed upon them and develop strength to handle the resistance. The same principle applies for weight lifters; however, it takes much longer for the weekend warrior to see progress in calisthenics vs. weight training.

If you think you can jump right into calisthenics and be able to perform acrobats like in the Cirque-du-Soleil, you are in for a rude awakening. The artists of Cirque-du-Soleil have many years on you, and by the way – they do calisthenics for a living!

See also: Gymnastics Strength Training Benefits

At this point, I would like to share one of my all-time favorite books with you, The Road Less Traveled , by M. Scott Peck. M.D.

If you haven’t read Scott’s book yet, you’re in for a healthy dose of critical life lessons. To explain, Scott enlightens his readers in understanding the most difficult things in life are avoided by the masses, whereas a handful of dedicated, disciplined, and attentive people embrace difficulty and live a more meaningful life – hence the title of his book.

Simply stated, Scott proclaims that life is difficult and full of suffering. Despite life’s unavoidable suffering, it is how we react to life that makes the difference.

The question you should ask yourself, “Will I take the road less traveled? Will I be the lion or the sheep?”

The road to mastery of calisthenics is not an easy road to take. It’s bumpy, has detours, road closures, will get you lost, but you will eventually make it to your destination. Don’t exit this road for the super highway – for you will simply find yourself lost in traffic. Take the scenic route, and enjoy the journey.

6) Most Will Give Up

 fitnessgiveup

Let’s face it, statistics continue to show that a greater percentage of people quit their exercise programs before reaching their goals. In fact, over 97% of people will quit before becoming masters of the particular skill they are learning. While this may sound alarming, think of the difficulties involved in becoming a master at anything. For example, how many people can play a few notes on a guitar, but will never “master” the guitar?

Before you create any self-defeating thoughts, you should be proud that you are on the journey of betterment – a true step towards becoming part of the 3% of people who stick with life-long commitment of becoming the best version of themselves.

You see, in order to understand how to avoid quitting, you need to first understand the principle of quitting all together. We all see the droves of new gym members in January with new year’s resolutions, only to taper off around March. As long as you stay dedicated and remain consistent with working hard, you will see results, and avoid the quitting plague of the masses.

I know you’re not a quitter – that’s why you’re here on FitnessFAQs (another shameful plug).

7) Seems Too Easy on the Surface

supson fitnessfaqs

I’ll be honest with you; calisthenics will kick your but at first! But then, after several weeks of – say push-ups, you will soon discover how much easier the push-ups through adaptation.

You may stop and think, but JR, you just said how freaking hard calisthenics is – what gives?

Let me break it to you. You will eventually start breezing through all your calisthenics exercises and finish in record time! That said, you need to make it harder, challenge yourself, keep pushing the boundaries.

While finishing a tough workout in record time may seem like a proud moment, it is ironically one of the disadvantages of calisthenics. You see, the exercises are not getting easier – you are simply getting stronger! Once the body adapts to the loads given, the body only works as hard as the mind wills it. As a result, you quickly become complacent without even realizing it, and fail to progress and develop the strength needed for more advanced moves.

To close, I’m sure you realize by now that calisthenics is not for everyone. Fortunately, you love it – that’s why you are here reading this long form topic. Importantly, there is no single right path to the perfect physique. While many of you love calisthenics, many more will dislike it and prefer weights, or cardio, etc. The point is, take a different perspective and understand being dogmatic for any particular modality is not the way either.

Be well and keep training!

Thanks again for reading, and keep this article in mind next time someone tells you how much they love lifting weights over calisthenics; now you know the why…

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How to Master the Plank Exercise https://fitnessfaqs.tv/master-plank-exercise/ https://fitnessfaqs.tv/master-plank-exercise/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2018 05:48:29 +0000 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/?p=3581 The plank exercise is one of the most simple core exercises to perform. Regardless if you’re a beginner or advanced, there will always be a variation of the plank that will be challenging for you. During the plank the abdominal muscles, external obliques and spine stabilizers are targeted. What does this mean for you? Both superficial and functional benefits are coming your way! But… only if you’re performing the exercise correctly and progressing over time. The plank exercise will also transfer well to other movements requiring glute, core and spinal strength. This post will outline several progressions of the plank,

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The plank exercise is one of the most simple core exercises to perform. Regardless if you’re a beginner or advanced, there will always be a variation of the plank that will be challenging for you.

During the plank the abdominal muscles, external obliques and spine stabilizers are targeted.

What does this mean for you?

Both superficial and functional benefits are coming your way! But… only if you’re performing the exercise correctly and progressing over time. The plank exercise will also transfer well to other movements requiring glute, core and spinal strength.

This post will outline several progressions of the plank, including ways to increase difficulty and how to avoid common mistakes.

 

Plank Exercise Variations

Don’t be surprised if you become proficient at planks in a very short time – this is common.

The brutal truth is: if you’re not progressively overloading and challenging your body, you will not get stronger.

A good rule of thumb is as follows:

If you’re able to do your plank variation for more than 45-60 seconds, it’s too easy.

To get stronger and improve at all variations and progressions, remember the following cues:

  • Squeeze your glutes
  • Keep your abs tight
  • Keep your back straight

And lastly, to make the most progress we suggest the following plank training frequency:

  • Three times per week
  • 3-4 sets
  • 15-30 second holds

1) Feet Shoulder Width Apart (Easier)

This is a regular plank, with your feet positioned shoulder width apart.

feet position plank exercise

2) Feet together (Harder)

Instead of having your feet at shoulder width apart, bring them together. This will increase the difficulty of the plank, relying on your ability to adhere to the cues listed above.

feet together plank exercise

How to Make it More Challenging

If you’re able to hold the above variations for 30-45 seconds comfortably, then it’s time to make the plank exercise more challenging.

Here’s how:

1) Lengthen lever arm – position your elbows further in front of you

Shift your elbows forward as per the image below. Elbows should be shoulder width apart. This change increases demand on your anterior core muscles, making the exercise more challenging.

elbows plank exercise

2) Bring elbows in closer together

Bring your elbows together as per the image below. This will decrease your base of support, making the exercise more unstable and challenging.

elbowscloser plank exercise

Common Mistakes

These are the most common mistakes we’ve seen from people performing the plank exercise.

1) Allowing your shoulders to come forward

By allowing your shoulders to come forward, you’re decreasing the demands on your abs. This means you may unintentionally “rest” on your elbows due to your center of gravity shifting into a more favorable/less stressful position.

plank exercise shoulders

2) Not maintaining a straight alignment

Not maintaining a straight alignment will decrease demands on your abs.  Do not allow your hips to sag or raise excessively. If you’re unsure, we encourage you to film your sets and make the necessary adjustments based on what you see.

Here’s an example where the hips are too high:

hips plank exercise

Here’s an example where the hips are too low: 

sagging hips plank exercise

You’ll be able to spot these mistakes immediately if you film your sets. Again, we highly encourage you to do it while learning how to perform the plank correctly.

3) Losing tightness through your glutes

Also known as losing posterior pelvic tilt, it’s important to keep everything “tight and engaged” in order to remain stable.

pelvic tilt plank exercise

As an aside, if you feel you’re plateauing with your plank or your training in general, we recommend you look into cluster sets.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve been able to make good progress with your plank, and whether you have any questions. For a full explanation of these plank variations, refer to the original video posted on YouTube in June 2016.

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The 10 Best Muscle Up Exercises https://fitnessfaqs.tv/best-muscle-up-exercises/ https://fitnessfaqs.tv/best-muscle-up-exercises/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2018 07:38:05 +0000 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/?p=2461 When the bodyweight training basics are achieved (pullup, chinup, dip) – it’s natural to seek out the next challenge. This next challenge is often the muscle up, and the variety of ways this exercise can be performed. Before we demonstrate the best variations, it’s important that you’re first able to do a muscle up. If you would like to learn how, sign up to our email list for a free pack. Here are 10 different ways you can do a muscle up:   1) Medium, Close and Wide Grip In order of difficulty, with the wide grip being the most challenging.

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When the bodyweight training basics are achieved (pullup, chinup, dip) – it’s natural to seek out the next challenge. This next challenge is often the muscle up, and the variety of ways this exercise can be performed.

Before we demonstrate the best variations, it’s important that you’re first able to do a muscle up. If you would like to learn how, sign up to our email list for a free pack.

Here are 10 different ways you can do a muscle up:

 

1) Medium, Close and Wide Grip

In order of difficulty, with the wide grip being the most challenging. As a side note, the close grip is more demanding on your triceps, while a wide grip will challenge the strength of your lats.

muscle up

2) L and V-Sit

These variations challenge you to engage your core much more than the regular variations above. As with a regular L-sit, your legs should be straight and parallel to the ground. The V-sit more difficult, requiring additional hip flexor strength to keep your legs straight, and pointed up at a 45 degree angle.

muscle up

3) No Momentum (Strict)

The muscle up in its “purest” form. Don’t swing, and don’t attempt to make it easier for yourself. Start from a dead hang and pull yourself up. Simple.

strict muscle up

4) Chinup Grip

Switch your grip to a supinated grip like you’re doing a chinup, then perform the exercise.

5) “X” Grip

Cross your hands over each other, then pull.

muscle up x

6) Hip Lifts

A regular muscle up with an addition of a hip lift at the end range of motion. Keep the back flat, and your hands gripped firmly on the bar.

muscle up hip

7) Alternate grip

Use an over/under grip and pull yourself up, hands approximately shoulder width apart.

alt grip muscle up

 

8) Front Lever

Start in a front lever and pull yourself up to a muscle up. If you’re unable to do a front lever, learn how by greasing the groove. This is a difficult variation and should be attempted when proficient at both exercises.

front lever

9) False Grip

Perform a muscle up by starting in an overgrip position with your hands. The overgrip reduces the pulling distance, making the muscle up easier to perform. Try and perform each rep slowly when starting in a false grip position for an extra challenge.

falsegrip

10) Forearm transfer

Pull into a muscle up and “catch yourself” on your forearms just after your chest clears the bar. This variation will require some practice, as you’ll need to perfect the timing and become accustomed to the stress on your forearms in the final position.

forearm transfer

Let us know in the comments below which muscle up variations you like to practice, and whether you have any questions. For the full list of muscle up exercises, refer to the original video posted on YouTube in April 2014.

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My Top 5 Most Popular Videos of 2017 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/most-popular-videos-2017/ https://fitnessfaqs.tv/most-popular-videos-2017/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 04:18:57 +0000 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/?p=3295 This year has been an incredibly busy year for FitnessFAQs. After beginning the year with three full-day workshops across Australia, we worked tirelessly to bring you the Limitless Legs training program – released in August. The FitnessFAQs.tv website was re-launched on new VPS hosting, a brand new design and now features over 20 original blog posts. Full customer testimonials and access to our collection of training products are now easily accessible. We’ve continued to release high quality videos on the FitnessFAQs YouTube channel, which has grown from 272K subscribers in January to 424K. An increase of +155%. Our Instagram has also experienced

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This year has been an incredibly busy year for FitnessFAQs. After beginning the year with three full-day workshops across Australia, we worked tirelessly to bring you the Limitless Legs training program – released in August.

The FitnessFAQs.tv website was re-launched on new VPS hosting, a brand new design and now features over 20 original blog posts. Full customer testimonials and access to our collection of training products are now easily accessible.

We’ve continued to release high quality videos on the FitnessFAQs YouTube channel, which has grown from 272K subscribers in January to 424K. An increase of +155%.

Our Instagram has also experienced a surge in engagement, with the number of followers organically growing from 38K to 84K. An increase of +221%.

Now, in case you’ve missed them – here are the top 5 FitnessFAQs YouTube videos for 2017.

 

#5: Advice every teen should know (13:34)

Are you a teenager or young adult beginning your training journey? If so, you don’t want to miss this. Watch early workout footage of Daniel at 16-17 years old, learn about how teens can build muscle, and our recommendation for how to structure your nutrition.

For non-teens, gain an insight into the mind of FitnessFAQs who has consistently worked at his craft for nearly 9 years.

 

#4: Bulletproof Your Shoulders (6:39)

Shoulder injuries sustained while training are among the most common, and can take a long time to fully recover.

Learn four exercises that can be performed 2-3 times a week to improve the strength and stability of your scapulae and rotator cuffs. Including these into your training program will reduce the risk of injury, allowing you to keep making those sought-after gains.

 

 

#3: Reverse Hyper Alternative (7:33)

If you’re working towards advanced bodyweight skills such as a front lever, back lever or planche, you’ll need the requisite lower body strength to get there.

Learn how this alternative to the reverse hyper exercise can benefit your hip extension strength, as well as your hamstrings and glutes. Regardless of your strength level, an exercise variation in this video will be invaluable for your lower body.

 

 

#2: The 10 Most Common Pullup Mistakes (6:17)

Are you more fearful of doing something incorrectly than learning how to do it correctly? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Learn the most common mistakes you’ll see nearly everyone making when it comes to one of the most fundamental bodyweight exercises – the pullup.

 

 

#1: Touch Your Toes (Flexibility Hack) (6:45)

With over 1.3M views and 750 comments, this tutorial on how to touch your toes is the most popular FitnessFAQs video for 2017. Learn what is preventing you from being able to touch your toes, how to fix it and discover flexibility you never thought you had.

 

Stay tuned…

Thanks for everyone’s support over the last year. We have an exciting project we’re working on that we can’t wait to share with everyone in 2018. This project will not only take FitnessFAQs to the next level, but also get everyone closer to achieving their bodyweight and calisthenics training goals.

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The First 2 Hours of Your Morning https://fitnessfaqs.tv/morning-routine/ https://fitnessfaqs.tv/morning-routine/#comments Wed, 27 Dec 2017 03:57:28 +0000 https://fitnessfaqs.tv/?p=3246 The fate of your day rests on how you spend the first two hours of your morning. We pride ourselves on being able to work hard, sacrifice when needed and “life hack” our way into a productive existence. We embark on ventures such as starting a business, losing weight (to sculpt that elusive dream body) or even learning a new skill to add to our repertoire. Poorly setting up your morning will inhibit the effective realizations of the above objectives. Does the following scenario sound like you?   Common Example The sound of an alarm rings, it’s 7.00am. You reflexively bash the snooze button. The previous

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The fate of your day rests on how you spend the first two hours of your morning.

We pride ourselves on being able to work hard, sacrifice when needed and “life hack” our way into a productive existence. We embark on ventures such as starting a business, losing weight (to sculpt that elusive dream body) or even learning a new skill to add to our repertoire.

Poorly setting up your morning will inhibit the effective realizations of the above objectives.

Does the following scenario sound like you?

 

Common Example

The sound of an alarm rings, it’s 7.00am.

You reflexively bash the snooze button. The previous night was spent watching that captivating new TV series you’ve been streaming on Netflix while browsing news websites online, destroying the self-made promise of increasing your sleeping hours.

Just 5 more minutes.

The alarm rings again, it’s 7.15am. Snooze.

By the time you rise from your bed, bleary eyed and irritated – it’s 7.45am and you’re met with a familiar feeling of anxiety that you’ve overslept and will be running late for work. You begin sifting through a pile of clothes, the indecision when choosing your daily attire begins to test your patience. Once you’ve arrived at a decision, you dress yourself and dash to the kitchen.

You look at the clock and decide there isn’t enough time to prepare a quick meal; the same conclusion you arrived at the night before when you were about to go to sleep.

By the time you get to work at 9am, you’re hungry.

Not to worry, there are plenty of places to eat near the office! You buy your usual coffee and decide to grab something quick to eat – a muffin because it looks the most appealing. Your hunger is now satisfied. You arrive at your desk, flustered because you haven’t planned your day and begin to have trouble focusing on your work.

 

Actionable ideas for your morning

I’m not going to present to you another cookie cutter “best morning routine” nor anything you absolutely must be doing. There are enough blogs, podcasts and nutritional preachers who have reaped significant rewards from beating this topic into the ground.

What I will do is invite you to review the first two hours of your morning and how it’s spent, as this may be something you have not paid much attention to in the past.

In my attempt to aid you, I’ve listed some common approaches you can experiment with. I’ve also listed some resources for you to get started at the end of each section.

 

1) Reduction in morning decisions

How much time do you spend planning what to eat in the morning? How about what to wear? Completing these tasks the night before will minimise the cognitive fatigue you’ll experience.

On a typical evening, I’ll set everything out for the next morning so I can simply grab what I need and begin my day. This includes preparing tomorrow’s meal, choosing what I’m going to wear and packing my gym bag.

Resources to get started:

  • No resources required – just get it done.

 

2) Morning meal

What does your first meal of the day look like? Is it one that you’ve chosen to ignore due to poor time management or do you practice fasting? If you feel that energy is lacking, particularly during the first hour or two of work, addressing this area should be one of your priorities before you leave in the morning.

According to a study undertaken by NPD group in 2011, 31 million U.S consumers opted against a morning breakfast. This equated to roughly 1 in 10, with 28% of men aged between 18-34 choosing to forgo this morning meal. This illustrates that breakfast isn’t for everyone. Or we’re lazy.

Personally, I love a big meal before I begin working. However, I acknowledge that we’re not all like this.

A few years ago, I traveled overseas with a friend who can’t stand the sight of food until well after 10.30am. His patience was tested as I dragged him around the streets of Tokyo looking for somewhere that served a substantial meal in the early hours of the morning.

 

Oatmeal breakfast

Aesthetically pleasing photo of oatmeal aimed at enticing you.

 

Resources to get started:

    • High protein / fiber breakfast ideas (Eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese). I’ve eaten oatmeal most mornings for over four years. Considered a complex carbohydrate source containing starch and fiber, the slower digestion of this food continues supplying your body with glucose (“energy”) over a longer period.

 

    • Intermittent fasting – If fasting is more your style, here are some approaches you can adopt. I’d recommend the “Leangains” approach. This involves 14-16hrs of fasting with 8-10hrs of eating, closely resembling what would generally be considered a “typical” diet anyway. This is beneficial for weight loss and reducing unnecessary consumption during fasting windows.

 

    • Preparation of smoothies. If you don’t want to fast and would prefer not to eat, prepare a smoothie. Bodybuilding.com has over 150 available recipes for you to experiment with.

 

 

 

3) Morning workout

Too tired after long working hours to train? Get it done first thing in the morning before the onslaught of social media notifications begin pouring into your smartphone.

By training between the hours of 5am-7am, it’s unlikely that you’ll be disturbed. You will not carry a heavy mind burdened by the troubles of the day – you’ll be instead entering into a session with a clean mental slate, theoretically devoid of any fatigue.

Warning: the morning workout isn’t for everyone. You’ll be more likely to succeed if your gym is close to where you live, or if a home gym is an investment you’re willing to make.

Resources to get started:

    • Pact (iPhone / Android) – Put your own cash up as an incentive to cultivate an exercise habit.

 

    • Sleepytime (iPhone / Android) – Calculate the best time to sleep/wake up, helpful when getting started with morning workouts.

 

4) Morning meditation

In case you haven’t realized, the practice of meditation has gained more mainstream exposure online due to its associated benefits. Is it the life-rejuvenating magic pill that you’ve been looking for? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

A common recommendation is meditating for 20 minutes, once a day, in a quiet spot. In my limited experience, I’ve found that sitting on a pillow in a semi-dark room in complete silence works well. I’ve had luck sustaining this practice by limiting it to 10 minutes, every second day and have noticed a negligible improvement, but nothing life defining.

Ideally, the result of meditation will help you be present in the moment, hone in your focus on a task and generally feel more at ease. Everyone’s experience differs, and there is no “best” way to do it. If someone claims otherwise, they’re probably after your money.

See how you go.

Resources to get started:

    • Headspace (iPhone/Android) – Free 10 minute guided meditation sessions to get you started.

 

    • Noisli.com – Ambient sounds such as rain forests, oceans or wind. Very helpful for concentration when working during the day as well.

 

    • Sensory deprivation tanks – I’ve experienced these tanks a handful of times and would recommend it. From my experience, it’s like having a psychedelic experience without the psychedelics. No sound, no light, just you and your thoughts.

 

 

By employing one or more of the above suggestions, your morning will become something you grow to embrace rather than agonizingly endure. Good luck.

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