Anyone who (willingly) wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning is something of a superhuman. Or at the very least, the early riser we all strive to one day become. Marlie Cohen, a Toronto-based certified personal trainer, holistic health coach and the face behind lifestyle blog Kale & Krunches, is that person. But just like mastering a gruelling spin class – becoming a morning person takes dedication. Read on for the fitness expert’s top 10 tips to make waking up early easier than you ever thought possible.
1. Morning Movement
“My morning routine starts with some form of meditation or movement to get the blood flowing,” says Marlie, whether taking a few deep breaths and stretching at home or stepping out for an early 6 a.m. workout. She also makes a habit of journaling every morning – jotting down three things she’s grateful for as a form of positive affirmation to start the day.
2. Better Breakfast
Whether you’re hungry right when you wake up, or not until after your a.m. workout, always nourish your body with a wholesome morning meal. For Marlie, that means eggs, avocado and toast for breakfast – the perfect combination of carbs, fat and protein. This balance of macronutrients will increase energy levels and ensure you’re satiated until lunch.
Get the recipe for this upgraded Avocado Toast With Poached Eggs.
3. Drink Water First Thing
Before you do anything else, drink a glass of water once out of bed. “You’re super dehydrated when you wake up,” says Marlie. “Drinking water gets the metabolism going and hydrates your muscles to prepare for the day ahead.” Make sure you drink enough H2O throughout the day, too. Marlie advises drinking two to three litres per day, depending on how active you are and how much you sweat.
4. Coffee 2.0
Fact: brewing a fresh cuppa Joe at home makes early wake-ups slightly less daunting. But instead of loading it with cream and sugar, Marlie (pictured below) adds a secret superfood ingredient to her Nespresso coffee: cinnamon. “Not only does it taste really good, it helps control insulin resistance in the body and stabilizes blood sugar,” she says. Cinnamon can also aid in curbing sugar cravings throughout the day and releases caffeine into the body at a slower pace.
5. Stop Drinking Water
We’ve all been there: abruptly waking from a deep sleep thanks to a full bladder. The solution? Don’t drink water after supper. “During dinner, have a few glasses, but I would probably stop after that,” says Marlie. This will prevent being disturbed and waking up throughout the night.
6. Eat Foods High in Magnesium
“Magnesium naturally calms the body and controls your cortisol levels and stress hormones,” she says. Reach for foods high in the mineral, such as whole grains, spinach, green leafy vegetables, almonds and quinoa. Marlie’s favourite magnesium-rich meal is salmon (also high in the nutrient) with quinoa and a sautéed green vegetable like spinach or broccoli.
Get the recipe for Lynn Crawford’s Roast Salmon with Grapefruit and Quinoa Salad.
7. Know When to Stop Eating
While some experts say to stop eating around 7 p.m., Marlie has a different theory: “It depends on your schedule,” she says, pointing to the fact that she often won’t finish teaching until nine at night. In other words, what you eat is more important than when you eat it. “Sugary or carb cravings at night are probably a signal from your body that you’re thirsty, didn’t eat enough throughout the day or you’re tired,” she says. “Nighttime snack cravings are really our body saying it’s time to go to bed.”
8. Opt for Natural Sleep Remedies
If finding your Zen proves difficult at night, turn to the power of essential oils: “I have a lavender spray that I’ll use on my pillows, and will also use the oil on the soles of my feet,” she says.
9. Have a Regular Wake-Up Time
“I think people might overlook the benefits of having a regular wake-up time,” says Marie. Even if your schedule changes day-to-day, she recommends setting your alarm for the same time each morning to establish a consistent daily practice and stabilize our circadian rhythm.
10. Ditch Your Phone
Perhaps the most important tip of all – keep technology out of the bedroom. “I always put my phone in a different room, so when my alarm goes off, it forces me out of bed,” she says. This also means you won’t be glued to your phone before switching off the lights, ultimately leading to a sweet, sound slumber.