(Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Limitless Coffee and Tea. As always, we only share and talk about the products, experiences and events we care about and want to share.)
But first, coffee.
The t-shirt-worthy phrase has never meant more to me than when I think about the two essential ingredients to kick-starting mornings on a productive, feel-good note: coffee and fitness.
If I can get in a morning workout before I start anything else for the day, I instantly feel more productive, energized and accomplished – and our body feels those effects on a physiological level, too. Exercise, and especially high intensity interval training (periods of intense work with little rest in between) stimulates a reaction in the body called EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. When that happens, your body continues to burn calories long after you finish exercising (i.e., if you work out in the morning, you’re continuing to feel the effects of that workout throughout the day, and hence the productivity double whammy in the mind and the body).
And, the American Psychological Association reports, you’ll get a mood boost too. “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise”
Morning workouts: two points. Snoozing the alarm: zero.
The key ingredient to successfully make it past that moment of snoozing and to a morning workout, though, is coffee. I don’t know about you, but without that first cup of the day, I am arguably the worst morning person I know.
Early in the morning, though, you need something that goes down easily and nothing that will hinder your said best-morning-ever workout. Cold brew coffee like Limitless Cold Brew Coffee has less acidity than regularly brewed coffee (a study found it had a pH of 6.31, as opposed to a pH of 5.48 in regularly brewed coffee, making it more acidic on the pH scale). Foods and beverages that are more alkaline typically go down easier and settle on your stomach better.
On the other side of the coffee-equation is the source of your coffee. Limitless Coffee works directly with its farms to pick beans straight from the coffee trees and immediately wet-wash and soak them, instead of letting them sit and dry out, which allows more time for fermentation and contamination to occur.
From the source to your stomach, you’re sipping on a clean product that goes down easily to kickstart your morning routine on the right note. Then, it’s just a matter of picking a workout that will jump start your mood and turn you into a morning person.
Your challenge: Add this 15-minute routine to your morning and report on how you feel each day in something like this bullet journal.
Your morning routine pick-me-up workout:
Duration: 15 minutes
Equipment: just your bodyweight
Exercises in your workout:
First, perform a dynamic stretching warm-up with each of the following moves for about 30 seconds each:
- :30 – Cat and cow
- :30 – Low squat and squat twist
- :30 – Inchworm
You’ll do this set of movements twice, completing 50 seconds each combo movement and resting for 10 seconds in between each movement (photos and detailed directions are next):
- :45 -1 high plank to low plank, 1 spider man plank
- :45 – 2 squats, 2 jump squats
- :45 – 3 laterally traveling planks, 3 push-ups
- :45 – 4 lunge jumps, 4 rainbow lunges
- :45 – 5 butterfly sit-ups, 5 bicycle crunches
- :60 of burpees – try to do 15-20 reps in that time.
The exercises, broken down:
Cat and cow: From a table top position, inhale and drop your belly, lift your chest and open up through the front side of your body. Exhale to round your back, tuck your chin and stretch through the back side of your body.
Low squat and squat twist: From a low squat position, push through the outer edges of your feet and press your heels into the ground. Use your elbows to guide your hips more open gently. After holding for a few breaths, bring your right hand outside of your right foot and lift your left arm up, creating a twist. Keep both heels on the ground and your hips externally rotating. Then repeat on the other side.
Inchworm: Start standing. Lift your arms up and fold over your straight legs (bent knees are an acceptable modification if your flexibility isn’t there yet rather than rounding through your back). Walk your hands out to a plank until your shoulders are stacked over your wrists. Perform one push-up, lowering your body towards the ground, keeping your core, glutes and legs engaged. Press back up to your plank, walk your hands back towards your feet and stand all the way up. Repeat for 30 seconds.
High plank to low plank: Start in a full plank position, shoulders, hips and heels in one line. Lower your right forearm to the ground, then your left forearm. Then press your right palm down, followed by your left palm, to come back to a full plank position. That counts as one rep. You’ll do one rep, then move to a spiderman plank set. Then continue one rep of a high plank to low plank and one rep of a spiderman plank.
Spiderman planks: From a full plank position, drive your right knee towards your right elbow, keeping your shoulders and hips as square as possible. Step your right foot back to a plank, then pull your left knee in towards your left elbow. That’s one rep.
Squats: Start with your feet hips-width apart. Inhale to lower down, keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted. Squeeze your glutes, drive through your heels and stand all the way back up as you exhale.
Jump squats: From the bottom of your squat position, drive through your heels to explode up into the air, extending through your hips, knees and ankles. Land softly back into a squat position by softly bending your knees on the way down.
Laterally traveling planks: From a plank position, take 3 steps to the right by moving your right hand and left foot, then left hand and right foot, then right hand and left foot, evening your stance out as you go so that your shoulders are stacked over your wrists and feet are about hips-width apart again.
Push-ups: From your plank position, keep your core, glutes and legs engaged and lower your chest towards the ground as you inhale. Exhale to press back up to the top of your plank. Perform 3 reps, then go back to your plank walk series to the left, and perform 3 more push-ups.
Lunge jumps: Start with your right foot forward, left foot back. Lower down to a lunge, keeping both knees at a 90-degree bend. Drive through your front heel and power off the ground, switching your legs in the air and landing softly back into your lunge.
Rainbow lunges: Start with your right foot forward, left foot back in a lunge. As you exhale and jump into the air, rotate your body in the air to turn and land back into a lunge facing the opposite direction. Use the strength of your legs and your arms to help you jump higher and land softly each time.
Butterflt sit-ups: Lie on your back with your feet together, knees apart and hands overhead. As you exhale, sit all the way up and tap your hands in front of you. Lower back down slowly.
Bicycle crunches: Lie flat on your back with your legs extended. Exhale and lift your shoulders off the ground, bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. Lie all the way back down. Exhale again to lift up and bring your left elbow towards your right knee. That counts as one rep.
Burpees: Start in an athletic stance with your feet hips-width distance. Squat down as you lower your hands to the ground then jump back into a plank. Lower down to the ground in a push-up position and press back up to a plank. Bend your knees and launch forward, jumping into a squat position. Stand up, using your legs and jump into the air.
(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)