How often have you heard someone say, “I’m not a morning person”?
It’s a familiar refrain we hear time and time again and it’s something we’ve probably repeated ourselves on more than one occasion. Many of us wake up each day racing against the clock trying to check things off of a never-ending to-do list and already feeling like we’ve failed before we’ve even begun. The alarm goes off; we grab our phones and quickly scroll through our social media feeds then jump in the shower and get dressed before rushing out the door to get to work. Just the mere thought of mornings is enough to make you feel exhausted.
But what if we had a roster of morning rituals to help us kick start our day?
Carlos Salas, Carlito to his friends, is a Toronto-based calisthenics and street workout expert who’s trained with some of the top calisthenics athletes in the world and has worked with big brands like Reebok, Kellogg’s and Nestlé. He’s also part of Continual Growth, a community of like-minded people committed to living their best lives through better habits. It’s impossible to follow him on Instagram and not be inspired (his 23,000 plus followers would probably agree). This is a guy who knows how to get the most out of the morning.
So how does Carlito start each day? Here are his pro tips for maximizing your morning routine so you can build and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The health benefits of drinking water are widely known. From hydrating and helping the body get rid of toxins to improving metabolism, skin and hair, drinking water does a body good, especially first thing in the morning. Carlito recommends getting in the habit of drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
Get down and push up
After gulping down some water, it’s time to get moving and Carlito suggests getting down and doing 10 pushups. It’s a great way to wake up your body and get a boost of energy for the day ahead. “Just 10. That’s all you need…enough to get your heart going just a little bit faster, your blood pumping just a little bit more,” says Carlito.
If you’re not meditating, you’re missing out. In a world filled with constant distractions, we need to take time to centre ourselves and get grounded. Apps like Calm, Apple’s 2017 App of the Year currently valued at $250 million (USD), are helping people meditate, sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety. Carlito advises mediating for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning to set your day up for success.
Review your goals
One of the most crucial components of Carlito’s morning routine is reviewing his goals and it literally takes two minutes to do it. It’s about reading them, believing them and thinking about them so they can manifest themselves in your life. If you’re looking for an effective way to set goals, give the SMART goal setting method a try. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Taking time in the morning to give thanks and practise gratitude shifts the focus from what we’re lacking to what we have. For Carlito, that means reading over a list of 20 things in his life that he’s grateful for. One of the many benefits of gratitude is that it improves self-esteem: according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, gratitude was found to increase self-esteem in athletes.
Carlito plans each day with his GSD. If you’ve never heard of GSD, Carlito breaks it down: “GSD stands for Get Shit Done. Basically, it’s my Get Shit Done list. It’s a list of three things that I need to do in that day and if I complete them, I give myself a win, I give myself a you killed it, you did a good job…you have to acknowledge your accomplishments.”
Rather than reaching for the phone when you first roll out of bed, why not reach for a good book instead? Reading has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve memory and Carlito is a firm believer in reading for at least 20 minutes in the morning. Keep a book on your nightstand as a reminder.
The last thing on Carlito’s list of things to do to get the most out of your morning is to work out. “Training is one of those things that I take very serious, regardless of the goal. I train hard whether I’m training for a competition, whether I’m [just] training to maintain, whether I’m [just] training for life or whether I’m [just] training to come back from an injury. And so that’s why training is last in that list…it’s one of the biggest priorities,” says Carlito.
Check out this video – co-starring Carlito – depicting the difference between a life with a morning routine and one without: