A Dad’s Morning Routine

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Like most people today, I don’t have bundles of time. It is hard to balance life, work, a commute, and the hobbies I hold dear. I was struggling. So by New Year, I knew a change had to occur. Since then, I have made a whole lot of differences to my routine which have helped.

I know, it is easy to sound liberated and I am not here to judge. However, by sharing my experience and morning routine, I hope to inspire others to do the same – because it does make a lot of difference!

So, without further ado, here it goes…

I used to be a VERY slow starter, often being tired and not functioning properly before 4 cups of coffee and the clock striking 9AM (like most parents). I have been running frequently, but something else needed to be done! So, from January 3rd (needed to get the NYE champagne on a distance first) I decided to go cold turkey, changing my routine from one day to the other, and it now looks like this:

The alarm goes off and I get straight out of bed. My phone (alarm) is in the hallway outside our bedroom, so I have to get up, to turn it off. Now comes the tricky part – stay up! I used to snooze – a lot – but I have eliminated that. I then go downstairs and have 1-2 glasses of water before anything else.

Then starts a 15-25-minute routine (see routine below) There are a lot of good 10-minute routines out there, but I have put my own together and here’s why: Firstly, the exercises must be relevant and fit your person. There is no idea in choosing a program where you physically can’t, and thus immediately will stop doing. Not to mention injuries. Secondly, part of this workout is also strengthening my knees, as I run 2-4 times a week, so to avoid injuries, this helps. You guys may have other goals and should therefore find other and better fitting drills.

Head back upstairs, shower (ending with a “cold shock”), get dressed etc.

Downstairs, freshly brewed coffee (drip in the morning), sparkling water, handful of almonds, an orange, fried eggs, and rye bread.

Slow morning with the rest of the family.

This morning routine has been a game-changer for me. Already within the first week I could feel a huge difference – and this with a minimal effort (10-20 min BEFORE the day really starts). Cliché, I know…

My personal exercise routine looks like this:

Set 1

Standing hip abduction

Set 2
Crunches / Abs-exercise combo
Pelvic lifts
Mountain climbers

Set 3
Floor back extensions
Lower back stretch

Set 4

Now, I am not here to tell you to do 2-3 sets of x, hold the plank for x minutes and so on. Again, make it fit your capability – if you stick to it, your capability will progress! I started with only 5 exercises and gradually expanded from there.

What I am trying to say here is, instead of taking on a lot of “impossible” drills, be realistic about your time, what you can and cannot do, what you like or need (e.g. help against back pain, posture etc.)! And a little is better than nothing at all; and I believe that if you get started, and the progress begins to show, you will begin to expand the exercise.

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