The Chief Habit: Your Ten-Minute Morning Fitness Plan
Becoming the person we want to be is typically a case of taking action—not once, but over and over again. This is hard to do, particularly within a world that ingeniously inserts technology meant to pull us from those actions that we decided we wanted to adopt. Logically, it makes perfect sense to add a workout five days per week, but life is busy and our emotions will often disagree with these plans.
This is unfortunate because working out is a keystone habit—the type of daily action that tends to reverberate in better decision and actions throughout every arena of life. In fact, it is the most important of the three core habits, that Justin Lind and I advocate everyone adopting in our free e-book, The Essential Guide to Self-Mastery.
“It’s remarkable how the mind follows the body. Honestly, I think a lack of understanding or desire to understand that simple evolutionary reality is what inhibits so many people from rapidly improving their lives.”
If you had to choose one thing you could do to enhance your work, your relationships, your attitude, your confidence, and certainly your health, it would be exercise. It not only gives you more time alive on this planet but allows you to do far more in a given time. That is why when you look around at the most successful people they all have a lifelong fitness habit.
Whether you’re a lifestyle guru like Tony Robbins, a neuroscientist and ethical philosophers like Sam Harris, a CEO of multiple companies like Mark Cuban, or you are manipulating the thoughts of the entire universe like Mark Zuckerburg, your level of energy and productivity are dependent on habitual exercise.
We hear this and still rationalize how we are too busy. We’ve tried and tried and yet over and over our plans are sabotaged by the unforeseen complications that define modern life. After all, we tell ourselves, "None of those guys have to do the heavy lifting when it comes to raising their children." Or we conclude, "It would be easy if I was already successful.
Then I’d have control of my schedule." Yet deep down we know these excuses are just distracting from the reality that the most important thing we can do for ourselves, and thus our children, is to find time for exercise.
We are busy and yet there is always a way if we are creative and clear about what is the priority. Habits consist of a cue, a routine, and a reward. As we explain in detail in The Essential Guide to Self-Mastery, building a habit is best done by preying on daily cues. There is no more consistent or controllable cue than waking up each day.
If exercise is the most important habit, then it stands to reason that it should be the first thing you do every morning. In fact, by making it a quick daily habit, rather than an hour long routine you add onto your schedule a few days per week, we reduce the time that we need to spend training and can actually see major improvements. All you need is a plan and you can achieve tremendous fitness and kick-start a daily trajectory towards impact in only 10-minutes each day.
“We are all mere bundles of habits.”
Waking to movement is something we can all do. Set the alarm ten minutes early if you have to. As much as I want you to get good sleep, ten minutes will not make a difference in your rest but will change the course of your day. As with every habit, the most important part is to keep it simple and never allow yourself an excuse. You can do ten minutes at 100%—99% is a wimp.
The Daily Wake Up-Warm Up
Start each day the same, recognizing that your body will not feel like moving right upon waking. This is why you move it. The body just lied dormant for hours. Your psychology follows your physiology. If you want a life of action and results, move your body and the mind and emotion will follow. Still, we can’t go from zero to 100. The first couple of minutes are more of a process.
- Child’s Pose – x3 diaphragmatic breaths
- Neck Nods – x3
- Neck Infinities – x3 per side
- Gorilla Rocking – x3
- Down Dog Hold and Explore – x20 seconds
- World’s Greatest Lunge – x3 per side
- Straddle Stance Thoracic Rotation – x3 per side
- Thoracic Hip Bridge – x3 per side
Take It Up a Notch
- Lunge Isometric Holds (1-10-*) – x3 per side
- Push Up Negative Holds (5-3-*) – x3
- Bear Crawl – x10 (forward and backward)
- Superman – x10
- 1-Leg Glute Bridge – x10 per side
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Monday
10-1 Descending Rep Circuit
- Air Squats
- Frogger Hip Thrusters
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Tuesday
Choice Tabata – 8 rounds of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest
Choose an Exercise:
- Mountain Climbers (Hard)
- Bear Crawls (Medium)
- Plank Jacks (Easiest)
- Set a timer for four minutes and work from 0-20 seconds and 30-50 seconds of each minute. At the 3 minute and 50-second mark collapse and commence your awesome day.
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Wednesday
Four Minute As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP)
- Burpees – x10
- Supermans – x5
- Bird Dog – x5 per side
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Thursday
- As Many Push Ups as Possible (AMAP) in four minutes
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Friday
Four Minute Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)
- Super Skater Hops – x5 per side
- Alternating V-Up – x5
- Chops – x20
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Saturday
Four Minute Core Crucible
- Table Top Toe Touches – x5 per side
- Reverse Crunch – x10
- Break Dancer – x10 per side
- Russian Twists – x20
- Donkey Kicks – x20
The Four-Minute Daily Main Event: Sunday
Four Minute AMRAP
- Jump Lunges – x3 per side
- Blast-Off Push Ups – x6
- Bent Over Y-Raises – x9
Increase Your Daily Fitness
This plan quickly delivers a tremendous dose of daily bodyweight fitness that fits your morning so conveniently you’ll hardly have to shift a thing. If you wanted to add a couple of longer sessions on top of this habit, that is bonus points. If you can’t, no worries.
This will get you very fit and feeling well provided you eat sanely and emerge from your chair occasionally. In fact, with good nutrition habits and a propensity to move as a way of living, this is all you’d need.
Regardless, something is always better than nothing. This is your plan to always get the most important something of your day. Show up daily. Life is too short to be normal!