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2019 has been quite the year of growth, learning and balance. From completing my first year in Group Fitness to competing in my first Spartan Beast. I’m often asked about some of my daily habits so I thought it would be best to provide the 10 habits I picked up in 2019.
As an athlete, I am always mindful of my hydration. I start my day at 4:00 am with 32 ounces of water with lemon within the first hour of being awake . This is important because your body is working while you’re sleeping to remove toxins. When you drink water upon waking up the water triggers bowel movements which will flush out those toxins. Today, I’m drinking 160 ounces of water on average throughout the day. I keep track by carrying a 32 ounce water bottle with me at all times and just go through it 5 times.
As I’m drinking morning water, I’m journaling at the kitchen table in silence. This has been a game changer for me from a mental health perspective. Growing a career in Technology and starting one in Fitness can bring a restless mind. There are times when I wake up with things I “have” to do but instead of taking action once I wake up, I write them down. My morning’s have become a sacred time for me as this is my time. Journaling has helped me collect me thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Each morning, I’ll first write down what I remember of my dream from that night then my “To Do’s” for that day. I’ll carry my journal with me at all times adding notes and crossing out items. If there’s something that isn’t done by the end of the day, I simply turn the next page and jot it down as a priority for the next day.
After my journaling, I’ll grab a book and read for 20-30 minutes. I apologize for the TMI upfront but reading is done during my bowel movement of the day (Damn you water!). I hated reading as a child so I’m still shocked at how much I do today. Books have been my way of educating myself as I build my fitness career. Genres range from Business, Fitness, Health, Buddhism, Stoicism, and Autobiographies. I do this in the morning because my mind is fresh and I don’t have any external factors (Email) that will cloud my thought process.
This has been a big one for me with injury prevention. I am stretching between 30 to 60 minutes a day. That may seem like a lot but I’m spreading out throughout the day. I knock out 30 minutes during my morning workout with 15 before and 15 at the end. The backend 15 minutes is done during my sauna sessions (Post Workout) so I get the two for one special. It’s a perfect time for me because I can decompress from the workout while focusing on breath work.
This is a fun one for me. Cold showers have become a ritual for me and truly love the way I feel afterwards. Cold showers after a sauna session (15 minutes) have many benefits including the reduction of lactic acid build up in your muscles, induced heat shock proteins and human growth hormones, and can help with quicker recovery.
One interesting thing about cold showers that made me a believer was the research done by Dr. Rhonda Patrick. The research done showed that with cold stress (showers), the body will release a hormone called norepinephrine. This caught my attention because I’m currently working on my next certification through ACE Fitness and so happen to be studying about hormone release during exercise. Norepinephrine is a hormone that can help you with your mood, focus, and vigilance. After my sauna / cold shower combo, I find myself walking out of the gym ready to take on the challenges of Corporate America.
As a runner, I’m always looking for ways to optimize my body to gain that extra edge over my competition. Earlier this year, I read the book “Body, Mind, and Sport” by John Douillard. This book has changed the way I view fitness all together. It leverages breathing techniques, dietary recommendations, and seasonally balanced workouts to help people from all walks of life to improve their health and wellness.
One of the breathing techniques include breathing through your nose during runs the whole time to keep your heart rate lower. The purpose of this is to not exert as much energy during the race and have enough at the end to explode into a sprint. I will say that this took some time to get used to but I do it now on a daily basis and wish I started earlier. I’m currently finishing my runs at a 6:00 to 6:30 minute pace depending on the distance and barely surpassing max threshold.
Along with nose breathing, I have started listening to Podcast while I run instead of music. Reason being, I’m not trying to stimulate my body more than I need to like I would with music. Podcast have been another source of education as I build this fitness career.
Here’s what I’m currently subscribed to:
• Finding Mastery (Sport Psychologist Interviews – Favorite)
• Mind Pump (Health and Wellness)
• How I Built This (Business)
• Ben Greenfield Fitness (Health and Wellness)
• Whoop (Health and Wellness)
• Tim Ferris Show (Various Topics)
• Making Sense with Sam Harris (Social Topics)
Email is one area I do not check until I’ve completed the items above. As mentioned above, mornings are a sacred time for me. In this digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with notifications, pings, text, calls, and that doesn’t include physical human interaction. Before addressing the emails and “To Do’s,” I make it a point to prime my body, mind, and soul so I can respond with a cognitive mindset. I’ve received criticism on this one in the past and my response has always been the same.
“My morning routine is complete by 7:00 am before most people are even at work.”
I’m wrapping up my first year as a Whoop user to monitor my sleep. One of the biggest changes I’ve made to my nightly routing is cutting off social media an hour before I want to be asleep. This doesn’t mean the time I lay into bed but actually be sleeping. I used to be that person who would lay sideways on my bed mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram until 9:00 PM. Using Whoop, I learned that most nights I wouldn’t fall asleep until 9:30 or 9:45 pm. This is caused by the blue light from your phone that will suppress the release of melatonin from your brain. Melatonin is the hormone that influences your circadian rhythm. On top of the blue light, I don’t want the influence of external factors such as social media to be the last thing on my mind before closing my eyes. Instead, I’ll take some time to journal, stretch, or meditate.
I covered my reasons in my launch post (www.omarromero.com/findwhatmovesyou) about why I cut alcohol but couldn’t keep it from this list. My days start at 4:00 am and don’t end until 8:00 pm. I train for obstacle course races, sell in Corporate America, teach group fitness, and personal train clients. Some would ask if I work all of the time, when do I go out to enjoy myself? A lot of what I do in my day are things I truly enjoy doing. I have built a lifestyle that has allowed me to pursue my passion while growing a career in Corporate America. For me, Alcohol was one of those thing I simply didn’t need anymore and decided to cut for good.
As I mentioned above, 2019 was a year of growth, learning, and balance. I am not perfect by any means but I focus on the things I can control. I am not saying this is THE way to live. This is the way of life that has worked best for me and my goal is to share ideas with like minded people. I hope you found this helpful and can use some of these habits to improve your life.