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The early moments of your morning are sacred. They give you the chance to set the tone for your day, whether it be with a meditation or a quick workout to break a sweat. We heard from eight local fitness experts about how they spend their mornings. What they share will have you rethinking hitting the snooze button and instead capturing the opportunity to make the most of the moments at the beginning of each day. From morning runs to breakfast beverages to making to-do lists, the morning routines of these local guys and gals are motivating and enlightening.

Granola Bar + Coffee + Morning Run

Hunter Hall, Fleet Feet Nashville

“My wife and I like to get moving early, especially while training in the heat of the summer. We’re usually awake by 5 a.m. or 5:15 a.m., with coffee pre-set from the night before and food laid out. I usually eat a granola bar with coffee and plenty of water while moving around and doing some light active stretching and foam rolling before heading out to run by 6 a.m. I’ll get anywhere from 8-12 miles in before coming back to the house and getting ready for work.”

RELATED: 23 Ways to Stay Healthy from Head to Toe This Summer

Hunter Hall is known to log 8-12 miles before work.

Oil Pulling + Hot Lemon Water

Lauren Beasley, Pure Barre Nashville

“My day starts with oil pulling, followed by hot lemon water (with my collagen peptides mixed in, of course!). This combination of detoxing my body first thing in the morning makes me feel awake and refreshed before jumping into my day.”

Lauren Beasley starts her day with oil pulling and hot lemon water.

Natural Light + To-Do List + Workout + Errands

Kortni Koutrakos, Studio Novo

“I balance teaching 6-10 classes per week at the studios with my full-time job as an orthopedic device territory manager for the state of Tennessee. My mornings can be very different — but I am going to give you my typical Thursday morning!

My alarm goes off 4:45 a.m. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is let my dog outside. I then open all of the blinds to let all of the natural light sink into the house. I then put workout clothes on and freshen up my hair – normally before 5 a.m. I sit down in my kitchen and I read over my schedule for the day, my to-do list, check my email and glance over my class rosters while eating my first breakfast of the day. I then hop in my car around 5:15 a.m. to head to the studio to teach. I teach a class of eager and energetic clients from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. — and then I will head straight to my own workout. I will generally shower and get ready at the gym while eating my second breakfast of the day. My first appointment normally is between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. depending on the day, so I will go straight from the gym. If I have extra time, I will normally try to run an errand, get my car washed or follow up on emails.

My tips for more productive and healthy mornings:

  • Have breakfast and breakfast snack items already prepped.
  • Have a gym bag ready to go with the necessities in case you need to shower at the gym.
  • Do not get wrapped into social media when you first wake up. In fact, avoid even opening social media apps until 10 a.m.
  • Prioritize your morning activities.
  • Spend at least five minutes outside in nature before the rush of the day begins.

Kortni Koutrakos offers her top tips for ensuring your mornings are productive. Hint: Don’t open any social media apps!

Shave + Pre-Breakfast + Prayer

Zach Kleinfelder, Iron Tribe Fitness

My morning starts by heading to the sink to shave away the past. When I was in the Army I started each workday with a clean shave, and the tradition continues. There is nothing like the sting of icy water and the smoothness of hot metal against my skin to rid myself of the past. After saying good morning to ACE (our new puppy) and listening to his protest about disrupting his MilkBone fantasies, I begin to make “pre-breakfast,” which is merely an appetizer and has been the same for years — two pieces of Dave’s Killer Bread (Super Seed) toasted, with peanut butter, honey and half a sliced banana. 

As I sit down at the table to let the coffee cool to the perfect temperature, I say my morning prayer. 

Each morning I say the Prayer of St. Ignatius in a nod to my Catholic background and begin my five pillars of prayer. The first two are to thank the Lord for one more day and to bless my family. Next is our Leadership, that it may bring our country closer together and not drive it further apart. Number four is for Him to bless the lowly, the meek and the humble, and to be with them in their time of need. Lastly, is for Him to bless the children of this world for they are the future …

Then I open my eyes to the awesomeness that is the day ahead.

Zach Kleinfelder starts each day with “pre-breakfast” and prayer.

Snooze + Essential Oils + Protein + Stretch

Fury Grundy, OrangeTheory Fitness

I try to give myself plenty of time to wake up in the morning. With a crazy and random schedule, it can take me a minute to get the blood flowing and my mental gears going. The first thing I do as soon as I wake up is hit snooze. I feel like it mentally makes me think I gave myself some extra time. Then when I wake up on the second attempt, I feel even more in control of my day! Seems silly, but “mind over matter” works for me.

The moment I sit up, I grab my citrus essential oils and take a big ol’ sniff. The smell of citrus is so energizing and actually gives me the little zing I need to jump-start the day. Essential oils have been tested to show an increase in energy, positive thinking and a decrease in stress. (Read more here.)

I am always on a schedule, and the morning is no exception. I have 30 minutes to wake up, get out of bed and get at least 30g of protein in my body. I picked up this tip from fitness guru Tim Ferris. Ingesting protein curbs your white carbohydrate and sugar cravings and continues the fat burning process that started while you were sleeping!

The last thing I do before I shower, workout, head to work or whatever I am doing that day … is stretch. I spend about 5-8 minutes doing some simple full-body stretches. Stretching increases your blood flow, waking your body up, and it keeps your muscles functional. YouTube has a ton of stretching videos, like this.

Fury Grundy embraces the snooze button (just once!), and then awakens with the help of citrus essential oils.

Water + Teach + Run

Liz Laubenberg, Camp Gladiator

My morning is pretty brief. I wake up and get my three furkids up (they like to sleep in). From there, I get myself ready for my first Camp Gladiator workout that starts at 5:30 a.m. Before I leave the house, I try to down an entire glass of water to help wake myself up. I get to my workout location 30 minutes early to be able to set up my marketing materials and my workout set up. From there, I wait for my campers to show up to get 60 minutes of a great workout. After I finish training that group I get my workout in; usually, a 3-5 mile run or I try to make it to another Camp Gladiator workout that’s across town.

Liz Laubenberg starts her day with a big glass of water.

Praying + Jog + Breakfast + Gym/Yoga

Susannah Herring, Hot Yoga Plus 

I usually spend a few minutes each morning before I get out of bed praying and centering myself for the day, then it’s time to get to it! As soon as my daughter wakes up, we feed our Sheepadoodle, Ruby, and the three of us strike out on a two-mile jog. We are a wide load with a jogging stroller and a 60-lb. dog, but you will most likely see us every day, rain or shine, running around the block. I used to tell myself that it was for Ruby, but I have come to realize that it’s just as beneficial for me. Even when I’m stiff and sore, I always feel better when I get moving right away. And two miles is quick enough that it doesn’t feel like a burden, and I don’t try to talk myself out of doing it. When we get back to the house, it’s breakfast, then out the door to drop my daughter off at school, hit the gym or yoga for me and work.

RELATED: 5 Yoga Poses for Travel

Susannah Herring swears by a morning jog with her daughter.

Smoothie + Meditate + Intentions

David Joniak, OrangeTheory Fitness

I wake up at 4 a.m., make my bed, wash my face, rinse my hair and brush my teeth. Then, I make a smoothie (banana, flavorless protein powder, oats, avocado, cinnamon, local raw honey and unsweetened almond milk). I meditate, do yoga and stretch and write down three things I am grateful for, three goals and three emotions I want to practice today. Then, I check emails and media platforms. It all takes about 30 minutes total.

David Joniak wakes up with a healthy smoothie before launching into his day.

Does this have you rethinking your morning routine?


Find more health and wellness inspiration here!

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