- Strength coach Jake Boly said he’s experimented for years to find his perfect morning routine.
- He said habits like a cold shower, morning walk, and consistent breakfast set him up for success.
- Getting enough sleep and staying off social media after waking up are key for peak performance, too.
A personal trainer said morning habits like an ice-cold shower and eating the same breakfast each day help him feel and perform his best.
Keeping a reliable routine is key to starting the day with focus and energy, according to Jake Boly, a strength coach and founder of That Fit Friend. He said experimenting and tracking his results helped him settle on the right healthy habits.
“It’s taken years to figure out what works for me,” he told Insider. “I think the biggest thing is being open to different things.”
Wake up between 6:30 am to 8 am after at least seven hours of sleep
Boly said he aims to get seven to eight hours each night, and tries to spend extra time in bed to account for any restlessness, especially if he’s up late working.
“I give myself an extra hour knowing it’s gonna be me trying to go to sleep or waking up and trying to fall back asleep,” he said.
Avoid social media first thing in the morning
Boly said he’s careful not to send emails or scroll Instagram right after waking, which helps him stay calmer and more focused the rest of the day.
“A lot of folks roll over and the first thing they do is look at their phone. I like to have some natural light before I’m blasting my eyeballs with my phone. I find I’m less reactive that way,” he said.
Take a cold shower to focus the mind with ‘strategic stress’
For the last four months, Boly has added an icy shower to his morning to-dos, working up to 45 seconds. The freezing water is an opportunity to push himself, and he leaves feeling energized and centered
“It’s a strategically stressful situation. I’ve learned to lean into the ‘oh shit, this is really cold water’ feeling and focus on my breathing,” Boly said.
Walk the dogs for 10-20 minutes, ideally barefoot
Next, Boly heads outside with his two dogs, Maui (an Australian shepherd) and Kona (a Shiba Inu) for a quick walk. Even if he only has time for 10 minutes (around 1,000 steps), he said the fresh air and self-reflection time are beneficial.
“I think about my goals for the day, something I’m grateful for, and there’s no distractions,” he said.
Boly said he prefers to walk barefoot, when possible, helping strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons in his feet, and giving them a break from testing fitness shoes all day.
Eat the same breakfast every morning
After his morning walk, Boly hits the kitchen for his go-to breakfast: a three-egg omelet with chicken sausage, two kiwi fruits, and a serving of oatmeal, sourdough toast, or potatoes.
He said sticking to roughly the same meal each day provides reliable fuel and frees up mental space.
“It’s easy to track, I know what I’m getting, and exactly how much energy it’s going to give me,” Boly said.
For variety, he’ll mix up the type of carbohydrate or seasonings.
Practice simple mobility exercises to get the body moving
The final part of Boly’s morning routine is mobility training, moving each joint through some basic exercise to increase range of motion and prevent injury. The movements include calf raises, quad stretches, hip openers, and upper body rotations.
It’s a work in progress, something he currently does about four times a week and wants to increase to every day.
The movement also helps him prep for strength training workouts later, which he does around midday or early afternoon.
“I’ve learned my body doesn’t want to lift hundreds of pounds in the morning,” he said.
Have the first sips of coffee at least an hour after waking up
Like most of us, Boly gets a boost from morning coffee, typically black cold brew or plain drip coffee. But since his mid-20s, he’s kept a habit of waiting an hour before drinking coffee to enhance the benefits (and enjoyment). Research suggest drinking caffeine too early can interfere with cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.
“When I’m sitting down at my computer, the first couple sips are awesome,” he said.