The Life-Changing Magic of Morning Workouts (Plus 4 Habits to Become a Morning Person)

The Life-Changing Magic of Morning Workouts (Plus 5 Habits to Become a Morning Person)

For nearly the entirety of my existence on this earth, I and mornings (and especially morning workouts) didn’t get along. My mood was sporadic.

But, attempting to grow a company, grow a movement, grow as a man, and grow in many other areas of life required that I quit having daily sleep-ins (10 am-noon wake-up times).

Before I go any further, I’m well aware that there are many people in the world who are successful, fit, and wake up late. But that wasn’t working for me. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and quit operating out of an old narrative.

Lastly, my productivity, mood, and growth in business weren’t where I wanted it to be. As Einstein reminds us, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Your productivity, nutritional decisions, sleep behaviors, internal motivations, and quality of relationships are greatly affected by how you start the mornings (or the 1st quarter as I called it in my book Body Architect).

A successful morning puts you in the right frame of mind, which is executed through PCO (purpose, control, and optimism).

When you have more optimism in your life, you exude a radiant energy that is contagious and magnetic to those around you. An optimistic person will have more purpose to their day and life. And lastly, with more optimism and purpose comes greater control of your daily habits and behaviors.

One of the best ways to accomplish those three key attributes is through morning workouts. Morning workouts provide fuel for a stellar day (along with getting a myriad of health and mental benefits).

When you choose to get a morning sweat session, you’ll reap these seven benefits.

1. A natural mood booster

I can easily find myself down the neurotic highway while eventually making a wrong turn toward comparison highway along with running into larges congestions of procrastination.

Add all of this up and this becomes an unproductive day along with my well being taking one-too many jabs.

One of the things my therapist recommended to me was to take extreme ownership of my mornings and tightly guard it. You would think as someone ten+ years involved with health that I would always do this, but I’ve never given morning workouts a try for an extended period of time.

After a month, I noticed that as I went about my days, my mood and outlook on life were better. The quality of my work was better and I felt accomplished because I started the day off by marking a big rock off my to-do list.

These effects aren’t a placebo I manifested inside my head. This positive effect on my mood happens due to exercising leading to the secretion of various neurotransmitters that promote mental clarity and greater emotional health and intelligence.

When you improve on those factors, you’re better equipped to handle the day.

Lastly, your mood is also improving due to you releasing endorphins from your physical activity. More endorphins given off translates to a more positive version of you.

2. Better focus as you head to work and get started with the day

Exercise has numerous benefits, but at the top of the list is the positive effects it has on your cognition. Through exercising, you’re improving your short and long term brain health.

More specifically, exercising helps to jump start your brain which helps with your working memory.

3. It’s hormonally beneficial

Testosterone is at its peak in the morning due to it replenishing during sleep along with the rest of your body resting since no physical activity, metabolizing food, sexy time activities, nor arduous mental work is going on.

Stay calm women.

As I mentioned numerous times, us men have double the amounts of testosterone circulating inside our bodies compared to women. Therefore, women aren’t going to pack on muscle at the rate and at the quantity as men.

Testosterone helps both men and women with their sex drive, muscle mass and bone density (osteoporosis affects many women), mood, quality of life, memory, thinking abilities, energy, and many more benefits.

bed — morning workouts
Change your life, body, mood, and health through sleeping

When it’s functioning optimally, the more efficient your body and health will be. Take advantage of this hormone peaking in the morning and commit to morning workouts.

4. Your metabolism gets a little boost

Besides optimizing your sleep and eating enough food to maintain a robust metabolism, exercising at peak times is the next best thing to help deliver a slight edge to your health.

Exercising at any time of the day naturally boosts your metabolic rate and leads to calorie burning long after the session due to EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

However, morning workouts provide some extra credit for your health.

Researchers at Brigham Young University found that people who workout in the morning end up being more active in general throughout the day along with burning an extra 190 calories 14 hours after exercising compared to those who didn’t (little pieces become big chunks over time).

5. It helps with compliance

Let’s be honest, one of the most difficult parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is consistently exercising. This could be the act of stopping working or actually getting to the gym itself. However, morning workouts help increase the chances that you stay consistent with your exercising.

Morning workouts reduce your chances of making excuses for work, projects, and “not feeling like it”. The less you have to think about working out and using willpower to get to the gym later in the day, the higher your chances of succeeding with fitness.

Make your morning workouts first priority in the morning and get it done before getting lost in the day.

6. You’ll cultivate self-discipline & level up in other areas of life

I don’t have direct research to supports this idea. But I can speak from personal experience along with working with clients over the years. When people truly commit to embracing a healthier lifestyle, everything else in their life seems to exponentially grow and become greater for them.

One reason I believe this happens is that they learn extreme ownership and self-discipline. With more self-discipline comes more focus and clarity in your life.

This leads to higher quality work, being a better leader, and improving in relationships among many other avenues in life.

One of the best ways to build some mental calluses is to stop sleeping in and immediately start owning the day with a morning sweat session.

7. Your sleep improves

Want better sleep, workout earlier in the day.

A study had participants exercise at 7 am, 1 pm, or 7 pm three days per week. And to no surprise, it was the 7 am workout group who reported the deepest, longest, and highest quality sleep. The improved quality stems from being able to fall into deeper sleep cycles.

Late evening workouts have the opposite effect. After all, exercise is a form of stress and your body naturally reacts to stress by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol—which keeps you alert.

Evening workouts boost your bodies temperature and stimulate the body, which makes falling asleep more difficult.

I understand due to scheduling and other logistical factors, evening workouts are the only option for some of you. If that’s the case, exercise and try to at least finish your lifting session a few hours before your estimated bed time.

Convinced about morning workouts, but how can you start to become a morning person?

It’s not easy for most and definitely wasn’t for me. There is a laundry list of things you can try to help yourself become a morning person, but these four factors below provided the biggest bang-for-the-buck for me when I made the transition to becoming a morning person.

1. Start sleeping smarter, better, and earlier

With that said, it’s imperative that you get to sleep earlier along with getting the proper quantity and quality of rest.

Getting quality sleep starts with establishing a sleep ritual 60-90 minutes before bed. One essential thing to do is to make an electronic cut off time 60 minutes before bed.

If you’re neurotic at times and have a lot on the brain, this can keep you up at night. I like to play relaxing music, journal and establish my key to-dos for the next day to eliminate feeling overwhelmed and disoriented the next day.

2. Place your alarm clock far away from you (and no snoozing)

You can have the best intentions, but if the alarm clock is within hands distance, you’ll most likely hit the snooze button because it’s earlier than you’re accustomed to.

Force yourself to get out of bed to hit the alarm clock. Less of a chance of actually going back to bed once you get out of bed.

alarm clock — morning workouts
Just say no to “snoozing”

3. Have your clothes laid out in front of you

In the early morning and especially when adopting new habits and behaviors, you want to make it as easy as possible to build the new habit. Also of importance is to rely as little on willpower as you can.

Reduce your decisions and save your brain power for tougher decisions that arise in the day. When you have your clothes laid out in front of you, it’s a no brainer to put them on. No thinking or deliberating required, just action taking with a healthier mind and body on the horizon.

4. Have your vision and mission in sight

Every single morning, I read my detailed vision of what I want out of life. The type of experiences, growth, contributions, people in my life, location, where I’m living, what I’m doing, and what I’m becoming. And of course,  how I want my body to perform, look, and feel.

Get specific here and don’t judge when writing this out. I don’t care if your present state is light years away from where you want to be in your vision.

Read this every single morning, let it soak in, and let this become your compass for daily decision making. Knowing how you want your health, body, and life to be in the future makes it a lot easier to get your butt in the gym.

Mental Fitness 101: 10 Powerful Lessons to Overcome Adversity & Improve Your Well-Being

Mental fitness

My physical fitness was a strength of mine throughout my life, but my mental fitness was a glaring weakness.

I would appear strong on the outside, but inside I would crumble at the slightest sight of adversity. I had a million dollar body but a $2 dollar mindset.

When it comes to achieving our fitness goals, it’s never really just the training and nutritional program that’s holding us back.

It’s oftentimes the other intangibles of life that are holding us back from our desired fitness goals. One of those big ones is our mental fitness. The sets of squats and deadlifts aren’t the toughest challenges to staying healthy, it’s the random (and sometimes cruel) things of life that can cripple us.

One of my favorite books over the last year was ’13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success’ by psychotherapist Amy Morin.

As someone who’s not ashamed to admit to being in therapy for six months, our mental strength is pivotal to our overall well-being. We don’t blink an eye to hiring a coach when it comes to improving our physical fitness and appearance (go here if interested in that). We should treat our mental fitness the same.

mental fitness
Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising for toned legs.

If you aren’t mindful of your thoughts, then irrational thoughts and beliefs can run rampant. If behaviors aren’t in check, you run the risk of causing damage and making bad decisions with your health and well-being. And with our emotions, if we don’t reel them in, then the inverse will happen and they’ll reel us in.

With that said, our mental fitness starts with us replacing and challenging our irrational thoughts with more realistic thoughts. Behaving and acting out of logic despite how dire or tough the situations may be. And finally, being in charge of our emotions so they don’t control us.

As Dr. Morin states in the book, “we make our best decisions in life when we balance our emotions with rational thinking.”

Here are some of the bigger points I got from the book that you can apply to become mentally tougher in fitness and life.

1. Don’t waste time with self-pity parties

If there was going to be a picture of self-pity in the dictionary, it would have my headshot there with a crown. No matter the situation in life, I had a Captain America shield that deflected blame to everyone but me.

Ran out of money, not my fault, it’s the bank’s fault. My girlfriend breaks up with me, not my fault for ignoring her and not treating her as she should—it’s still her fault.

Tore my pec minor in college trying to show off, not my fault—it’s the gym and benches fault for throwing me off angle. Writing gets rejected, not my fault—it’s the website and editors fault.

Unfortunately, this pops up in fitness a lot of times, it’s easier to find some external excuse in the world to blame for our shortfalls with fitness than to acknowledge and admit to ourselves that we’re the problem.

Here’s the big problem with feeling sorry for yourself?

Feeling sorry for yourself leads you to procrastinate with taking responsibility for the situation. Most importantly, this is stopping you from growing as an individual and learning from your mistakes.

Feeling sorry for yourself and having a self-pity party is self-destructive. This only leads to more problems down the road and more consequences. When you don’t take responsibility for your weight loss shortcomings, you’re neglecting the core reasons that stopped you the last time while you’re health is still getting worse since you didn’t succeed.

Next time you catch yourself falling into a self-pity party, try these things:

  • Switch out your self-pity for gratitude —I failed on my last diet. Instead, I’m grateful for attempting to improve my health and though I didn’t reach my desired goal, I’m grateful for the lesson I learned and now I can apply it to my next attempt at improving my health.
  • Choose to actively problem solve your situation — You’re not losing weight. What are you going to do about it? One small action is all that’s needed to get started again. Don’t just remain passive about the situation, fortune favors those who take action.
  • Replace your negative thought with a shot of reality—Is your situation really this bad? Probably not. Many others have been in our situations—we’re not special snowflakes with unique problems. Don’t allow yourself to believe that your life and situation is worse than most peoples.
  • Try the 5-second rule by Mel Robbins—Bad thoughts keep coming. Stop and count, 5…4…3…2…1 and then do something or act differently to change your current state.
  • Don’t forget the good— Think of all the good things you have and have done compared to the one thing that you’re struggling with.

2. Don’t freely give away your power like it’s a Netflix rental

Far too often, we let other people steal our joy and zap our self-worth away. Maybe it’s a bad relationship or a manipulative figure in your life who knows just the right thing to create a mind-fuck within you.

Maybe it’s your immediate circle of people who aren’t supporting you with your fitness goals. Instead, they tell you a million reasons as to why you can’t do something instead of the very reason why you can do something.

At times, my family and even some of my friends unintentionally zapped my self-worth away. But in actuality, the only time we can give our worth away is when we allow it to happen. Our self-worth card isn’t a Netflix rental that needs to be freely available to everyone in the world.

Netflix-DVD- mental fitness

3. Don’t be afraid to change and reinvent yourself

Change is uncomfortable and scary—no other way around this. Putting myself out there with writing and now speaking creates massive butterflies of nerves in my stomach.

But without changing, we can’t arrive at the future that we desire for. It may be hard giving up some of those comfort foods, tv binges, familiar social circles who aren’t good for you, or social events, but think about your outcome.

Is the perceived goal really important to you or are those events of short-lived fun more important to you?

Your resolutions don’t break because you’re not capable enough, smart enough, good enough, or any other type of enough—they break because you weren’t mentally ready to change yet.

Grab a sheet of paper and write down the pros and cons each on a sheet of paper. If the pros mean more to you, then that’s part of your motivation and reminders as to why you want to change.

4. Focus only on the controllables

This type of mindset is detrimental to your success in fitness because you can’t control most of the events that pan out. If you want to lose 20lbs, that’s great, but you have no control over when those 20lbs will be gone.

All you can control is the process and the present moment which encompasses doing the daily actions that will give you the chance to lose those 20lbs.

When you waste energy on things you can’t control, your happiness decreases, stress levels go up, and there is a higher likelihood that you’ll give up on your fitness goals because of the unreasonable expectations you placed on yourself.

Often times, this obsessive control problem is mainly operating out of fear that we’re trying to mask.

Ask yourself, “what am I so afraid of?”. For many of us and myself included, it was fear of failure and the fear of putting in the effort and not getting the desired results.

The first step to gaining control of this issue is to start examining your beliefs about what you can truly control and what you can’t.

When those 20lbs come off—out of your control.

Eating healthy and exercising consistently each day—fully in your control.

Practice accepting things as they are. By surrendering to not trying to control everything, you:

  • Become stronger
  • Become happier
  • Become better at your relationships
  • Become less stressed out
  • Become better in your professional life

5. Don’t fear taking intelligent risks

Taking risks is something that’s unavoidable in life, especially when attempting to attain a new goal or changing the narrative to your life. Whether it’s the pursuit of a new relationship, new business, travel the world, or a fitness goal—all of these come with a degree of uncertainty which in turn means there is some risk involved.

And that’s ok. Taking risks is necessary.

step up & play the game —mental fitness
Step up & play the game.

The biggest reason that we avoid taking risks and going outside our comfort zone is our emotions and inner critic drowns our belief in the situation.

6. Keep the past in the past

The present moment can’t be executed to it’s best capabilities when you’re stuck in the past. The future can’t be molded to your liking when you’re too busy regretting and obsessing over the past.

Constantly replaying a bad breakup, a past shortcoming with weight loss, a loss of confidence with women, and a past business failure all present the same problem of keeping you stuck in the past. This happens because the fear of moving forward seems too painful and it seems easier and more comfortable to stay stuck in the past.

It’s tempting to romanticize the past as a method to escape the present and your responsibility. It’s easier to imagine that life would’ve been much better had we changed “such & such” event in the past.

Don’t let the past hold you back from what you can become. Getting out of this rut starts with shifting your thinking. Our memories aren’t as accurate as we think they are when it comes to recalling these past events—there tends to be a lot of exaggeration.

Accept your past choices, actions, and decisions for what they are and move on. There’s a lesson in the past that you can use for your future endeavors.

Maybe you lost weight and then gained it all back. Accept that and then look for the lesson that you can take with you this time around so it doesn’t happen again. The business failed, accept it and think about what you can do differently this time around.

7. Don’t give up after a setback

It’s tempting to give up after a setback or two.

“It’s just not for you.” I hear this many times when it comes to people’s health and fitness. It’s genetics, their body type, their job, and another laundry list of excuses that I didn’t feel like writing out.

Unraveling those excuses, it’s just their mentality—the setbacks and struggles have gotten to them psychologically.

Setbacks and failures are a natural part of life. If you aren’t experiencing setbacks and failures on a recurring basis, you aren’t pushing yourself enough outside of your comfort zone.

I’ve been rejected by many publications. I’ve been denied by companies I reached out to for speaking. I’ve been rejected by women—this one kinda stings a little:)

In all instances, those situations only made me a better person. More importantly, pursuing those things I wanted, prevented me from having the regret of not doing anything about my desire.

Dr. Seuss was rejected by 20 publishers and he ultimately ended up with 46 books. When you give up too easily, it becomes a recurring self-fulfilling prophecy.

Each time you quit on something, you’re reinforcing the idea that failure and setbacks are bad and you’re not good nor worthy enough to keep pursuing your dreams.

Think about some beliefs you have around failure that stop you from trying again. Is it the perception of what you see and think of yourself when you fail that hurts? Is it peers, family, significant others, or social media?

Find the root of why the failures and setbacks hurt so much and potentially stop you from trying again.

Reframe the way you see failure and setbacks. Instead of thinking of failure as meaning you’re less than or not capable enough, see it as an experimentation where you’re continually gathering data and ideas to implement into a better version the next time around.

The biggest way to get over this is focusing all your efforts on the process instead of your outcomes.

8. Don’t fear being alone

Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.

Loneliness (one of the biggest health crisis) is a perception and feeling that no one is there for you. While being alone and in occasional solitude is about making a choice to be alone with your thoughts.

Many (myself included) at one point was afraid to be alone due to the potential discomforting thoughts that could arise.

Alone time is good because you get to connect with your thoughts and feelings while removing the excess chatter in the world. Having alone time allows you to reflect upon your goals, set goals for the future, and decide what it is you truly want.

staring out at windows is underrated—mental fitness
Staring out at windows is underrated.

Alone time allows you to build up your mindfulness more. One way to do this is through meditation. This helps you accept your thoughts as just thoughts, not necessary serve as your truth and let them determine who you are as a person.

9. Let go of feeling entitled and like the world owes you something

No matter how crappy life has been, how smart you are, how pretty you are, or anything else—you don’t deserve good fortune more than the next person beside you.

Sounds harsh, but this humility and self-awareness that none of us are special snowflakes make us realize that our issues aren’t unique and therefore are solvable.

If many others have had our problems and perservered, then why can’t we? I see this as the ultimate motivation as to why it’s never good to give up.

Life isn’t meant to be fair. Our problems aren’t unique. Many people have fallen short with their fitness. Many have lost weight only to see it come back in full force (often with extra weight). Many have been rejected by publishers and event planners (talking to myself here).

Many have been rejected by our crushes (talking to myself again). Many have had bad relationships (unfortunately). Many have had low funds in the bank and felt the darkest night of the soul night wondering how to get out of this (talking to myself for the third time).

These situations are tough, there’s no denying that, but they aren’t unique.

What’s unique and left open to the possibilities is how you respond to those disappointments and setbacks. That’s where the mental fitness comes into play. None of us are more deserving than the next person.

10. Let go of needing immediate results

Living in today’s microwave generation is dangerous to our egos and psyche. Patience is a past time. We overestimate our abilities. We underestimate how long transformations and change takes. This combination leads to prematurely quitting and giving up because we can’t wait—not that we’re not capable.

When you have expectations for immediate results and want everything yesterday, when you don’t get those results, you’re tempted to take shortcuts and cheat your future (hello fad diets and other short-term fitness tactics).

Skewed and unrealistic expectations potentially lead you to deduce the wrong conclusions, negative emotions, low self-worth, and behaviors that set you back even further.

Let go of the need for immediacy.

Commit to the long haul. If it’s worthwhile, then isn’t it going to be worth it down the line (I tell myself this every day)?

Don’t underestimate just how damn difficult it is to change. Be mindful that progress isn’t always easily apparent and linear. Often times, progress shows up in small ways and through the intangibles.

Keep your eye on the prize. Celebrate milestones along your journey (no matter how small they seem—momentum is your best friend).


Here’s a free gift with the 10 mental fitness lessons from this article. Hang it somewhere visible & use it to remind yourself not to go back into your old habits.

mental fitness chart

The Surprising Truth About Why You Won’t Accomplish Your Fitness Goals

the-surprising-truth-about-why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals

Maybe it’s the diet?

Maybe it’s the workout?

Perhaps, but most likely not. It’s easier to blame a particular problem for our fitness woes than to assess ourselves and take responsibility for our shortcomings.

In today’s overly saturated world of information, we have countless weight loss drugs and tv shows such as the biggest loser that promote dangerous healthy behaviors that are unsustainable for the long run.

If you ask the average person why they didn’t accomplish their particular fitness goal or what’s holding them back—they usually point to a specific tactic that’s setting them back.

If only it was that easy.

The things that hold us back not only in fitness but also with our careers and relationships are the intangibles. It’s the small things that are blatantly in front of us but they seem so obvious that we overlook them.

Whether you’re on a weight loss journey, looking to build muscle or any other type of fitness goal—make sure to address these 4 surprising but often overlooked areas that can stop you from accomplishing your fitness goals.

1. You don’t understand your needs

Entrepreneurs and small business owners wouldn’t randomly jump out of bed one morning and immediately pursue a business idea out of blind faith. The boardroom of directors doesn’t decide on budgets and actions for the next quarter through random guessing.

In each of these scenarios, there is a level of research and understanding of the market to a certain extent. While they can’t prepare for every single little thing, they can front load their work for the big issues and assess what their particular needs will be.

The same philosophy applies to your fitness. In this case, you’re the market and before you can worry about external tactics or anything else, you have to place a premium on yourself.

For some of you individuals who overextend themselves in work and in their personal lives, this means to become a little selfish for the time being.

Why be selfish?

Because you need total clarity about yourself. Before thinking about adding anything externally, you need to answer the basic questions that suit you on a daily basis.

For example, how many calories do you need to eat? To figure this out, you must look at your age, gender, the level of activity, and factor in general lifestyle factors into the situation.

After you have some of the data on yourself, now you have to figure out how to execute on the plan at hand. It’s useless to have a bunch of information and well-intentions if you don’t take action on them.

This is one example of many. You should get clear on your sleep, working out, and any other big priority in your life.

2. Record your progress

Peter Drucker is famous for saying “what gets measured gets improved.”

If you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t, how can you be your most efficient version of yourself?

In the business world, they’ll analyze marketing campaigns, manufacturing costs and many other metrics.

What does this look like in health and fitness?

For examples, healthy eating and using the power of journaling your food for increased awareness.

Why journaling your food?

Because you need to know what you’re eating, how it’s making you feel, what’s triggering you into eating not-so-good foods.

Did you happen to experience a mid-afternoon crash today at work or did you feel more lethargic than normal today? How’s your sleep going? With the journal, you’re able to get information and then measure it to see if small changes are needed.

why-you-wont-accomplish-your-fitness-goals
Don’t underestimate the power of journaling

3. You don’t have boundaries

When you haven’t truly thought about your value adding activities and your life-draining habits, you’re going to be inefficient.

Many times, people don’t fall short just because of their diet or workout plan, it’s because of their lack of boundaries.

When you have no boundaries established, the world feels as if it’s caving down and you never have enough time to do anything. You feel constantly busy with no end in sight.

A common place where this occurs is with friends and family asking you to do things for them. After a period of always being there, there’ll be this expectation that you’re always available and when you try to change your behavior with them, this can cause some friction.

Activities such as always numerous weekly happy hours are among the many potential scenarios the each of us will face.

However, when you make a list of essential and nonessential activities in your life—you’re gaining headspace.

This frees your mind and allows you to make better decisions. This most importantly, allows you to start saying “no” to things that don’t serve your vision towards a healthier you.

4. No schedule

Business owners, entrepreneurs, athletes, and many successful individuals in fitness adhere to a daily schedule.

Not because they can’t keep up with their day, but because they understand that discipline equals freedom. They established times for meetings, phone calls, strategy sessions, workouts, and other appointments. Having the discipline to schedule allows you to become more efficient and effective at everything you’re doing in life.

Blocking out times in fitness is pivotal especially if you’re a busy professional who has demanding workdays. As we all know, nutrition is critical and without planning this out, many busy professionals fall short with their fitness goals because of this.

If you have a schedule, you could plan to meal prep on Sunday and let that last you until Wednesday. Then you could have another mini-meal prep on Wednesday to finish the week out.

The more you can automate your healthy habits, the greater the chances of succeeding with your fitness goals.

If you’re looking to transform your health and body while building long-term sustainable habits, then the 30-Day Health Makeover is exactly what you’re looking for. Enrollment for classes close Saturday, January 14 at 11:59 pm.