While there's nothing like a clean diet, regular exercise and solid sleep hygiene to get your metabolism revving, anyone who really wants to live the their best possible life in their best possible body will want to take advantage of any opportunity to enhance the results of their daily efforts -- and what you do everyday matters, especially what you do first thing in the morning. The first hour you spend awake is one of the best times to hone your focus and prime your body. On a physiological level, your body is rested, rejuvenated and ready for action. On a mental level, you have a clean slate and can set the mood for the rest of the day.
Mornings for Realists
Of course, not all of us have time to go through an elaborate morning ritual. With busy lives, sometimes even squeezing in half an hour in the AM for ourselves is impossible. Fair enough. That's why we've compiled a list of two powerful strategies you can implement within the first 10 minutes of wakefulness that will help your mind and body perform better all day.
Sunrise is your cue to brew. Both coffee and green tea have long been touted for their ability to bolster your metabolism. Which one is right for you? That depends.
Coffee has been shown to help you workout harder and longer, which equates to increased calorie burn. All you need is 2 to 3 cups of black coffee. The downside to coffee is that it is also increases your cortisol, which is naturally higher in the morning. So, if you have been stressed out lately (or chronically), opt for green tea instead.
Studies have repeatedly shown that people who drink 3-4 cups of green tea a day weigh less and have healthier waist circumferences than people who don't. It's all thanks to the powerful combo of catechin antioxidants and caffeine (albeit less caffeine than coffee, which makes it ideal for people who have been feeling stressed.)
Something to keep in mind: the tannins in green tea can make some people feel nauseated if they drink it on an empty stomach, so -- if this is something you experience -- simply brew your tea first thing, and then enjoy it after you have eaten. Also bear in mind that you want your coffee and tea to be black: no milk or cream or sugar. These additions will negate the positive impact of these power drinks.
While that coffee or tea is brewing, it’s time to stretch. As little as a few minutes of stretching first thing in the morning can benefit your body all day. In addition to aligning your posture and giving you quiet time to also align your mind, it also increases blood flow, which will bolster your brain, your focus and your energy. A simple series of stretches in the morning could be the difference between you taking the stairs or taking the elevator. Or the difference between you throwing together a healthy lunch from home or getting takeout. It could be the difference between you smashing your HIIT workout or getting smashed at happy hour. All because of a little stretching. (Psst! Check out our yoga videos for an insanely inspired stretching series!)
Two simple steps. They may seem impossibly small, but all the small stuff adds up. Never, ever underestimate the power of your most diminutive decisions: they can make or break you.
And this is the year they’re going to make you!
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