To quote every influencer ever, a lot of you have been asking about my morning routine (????). Specifically, after I posted on Instagram pointing out that six years of consistency in that 10 to 15 minutes every morning is what has moved the needle on me having biceps to be proud of. Now, there’s a lot of unpacking to do about the journey to being happy about said muscles, but that’s a whole other post. In the meantime, I wanted to share the evolution of my morning yoga/mini-strength that I do on the daily.
It started with this yoga video from Strala founder Tara Stiles, one of my personal yoga heroes. (I’ve gotten to interview her and she’s just a lovely human.) Anyway, this was the video that I did every freaking day for a solid year:
Since that first year, I’ve modified my routine. I say this all the time, but I no longer use a yoga video to follow—though if you’re starting a routine, I highly recommend it (and we have a list of videos here!). I kept the yoga flow, but added strength elements along with PT exercises. It’s now a hybrid version similar to the original, but much more in line with my needs. And I do it while watching really bad TV every morning, because nothing gets me moving quite like watching a cheesy show that Peter won’t watch with me.
Now, this is the sped up version of what it looks like:
You can read more about this over at Bicycling, where I get into the ‘why’ of doing this in the morning, every morning. (And the above video is my parent’s living room, FYI!)
But to keep it simple, I do:
- 5 min of planks: 1 min straight arms, 1 min on elbow, 1 min on right side, 1 min elbow, 1 min on left side
- Bridges, inc. single leg
- Leg lifts + crunches
- 8-ish in yoga flow: Vinyasa style, so using plank + downward dog to transition between pigeon and a warrior flow on each side, with 12 pushups between each transition into plank for a total of 36 pushups
The funny thing is, it never gets much easier! I’ve added to it over the years and shifted from the original (the Tara Stiles video above), obviously, punctuating it with my own blend of yoga + strength plus PT stuff that’s been recommended over the years for various issues. The pushups have been slowly brought up to sets of 12, and every year or so now, I add a couple more.
But it’s not really about the exact routine that I do—though that might be a helpful starting point! It’s really about the consistency. This is what I do EVERY morning, with rare exceptions for races or 3 AM wakeups to catch a flight (and I’ve been known to do a mini-version in airports!)
Top tips for creating your morning routine:
- Keep it super simple. Follow ONE video over and over until it becomes routine. (You may need to try a few videos to find one you like, but my point here is that part of what makes it easy to stay consistent is when it’s easy to find/remember and you’re not searching for a new thing every morning. If I was starting from scratch, I’d start with a series of 10-30 second planks for 1-2 minutes, and call that good for a solid 6 months before progressing.
- Keep it short. 15 minutes isn’t a ton of time, but it’s not easy if you have a commute/kids/a million things going on. Find a 2 minute version to start with!
- Habit stack. My favorite advice was an old podcast guest who talked about doing squats and planks while her French press brewed. That’s a perfect way to get going!
- Don’t expect instant results. This is a slooooooow progress thing. (Though that said, you may notice an increase in strength and flexibility pretty quick!)
- Make it fun! Again, cheesy TV that you only watch while doing your yoga and strength is a great move here.