Firstly, welcome to the new and approved blog. I am glad you have found it! My names is Chris Baker, x2 NCAA Golf Champion, peformance and conditioning freak, Banksy Art Broker, and nutrition junkie. Here is a closer look and break down of routines and some principles which you too can apply. My morning routine was also featured on MyMorningRoutine.com
What is your morning routine?
I rise with the sun, before going downstairs into the kitchen to consume a slow-carb protein shake and some Bulletproof Coffee using fresh beans from a local small batch roaster.
Leaving for the gym by 7:00am, I perform a short, high interval training session, before returning home and completing an hour of writing, after which I begin the tasks I set for myself the night before.
I believe routines give you the best possible chance for success. When you carry out a refined routine, you enter a peak state of high performance. Having played collegiate golf in the states for three years, routines were what made the difference for the athletes that would perform week in, week out; separating them from the rest of the field.
There is nothing more beautiful than being in this zone. It is the feeling that nothing else really matters; when you enter this state of high performance, you just execute what you want to happen. The process is rewarded and your desired results are met with what seems like effortless input. You become incredibly present with the way you think. Routines allow you to enter this state of mind, which enables you to progress and feel alive.
I am a strong believer that happiness is a direct cause of progress. But you first have to find your own routine; what works best for you.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
I believe routines need to change over time.
It’s like doing the same workout every time you go to the gym. After a while, your muscles and mind don’t become stimulated by the exercise and your improvements and performance will decrease over time. I believe in implementing a Kaizen approach; by adding very small changes over a period of time to keep things new and fresh. These changes do not need to be radical changes, just slight adjustments. I change the experiences around what I see, but the time in which I do them remains the same.
I like to get up early, when nobody else is up. I am one competitive little person, and in a weird way I feel like I’m winning, as I’m doing something productive when everyone else is asleep.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I didn’t really have a morning routine after graduating college. I hit some pretty dark times; I like to call them the valley of shadows. There are glimpses of light, but not too much. I felt a little bit lost of what to do. I had lost all structure out of my day. There was no discipline.
I then looked back on my college days and being a college athlete. Your life has to be incredibly structured and organized. If you’re not organized you just won’t get through it. You simply quit. It’s a shame, but you see it a lot with college athletes. You are juggling an awful lot, from working out at 6:00am every morning to attending class, getting your assignments done on time, and putting the hours upon hours of practice in. Oh, and then on top of all that, you’re trying to find time for yourself and any other half which you may currently have. Your time keeping and management has to be exceptional.
Suddenly, after graduating, all of that was gone, and I didn’t implement any routines in what I did. I just woke up every morning and tried to take on the world with no real plan. Implementing routines put me back on track to a focused end in mind.
I am a huge believer in discovering what works best for you and then amplifying it. I am utterly useless between the hours of 1-4:00pm. I take this back, again, to college, as these were the times I used to practice or go outside. It would be the definition of insanity for me to work during those hours, so I don’t. I learned this the hard way, by trying to be productive in this period and discovering that my mind just didn’t operate. Now, I’ll either take a long walk or schedule a call/coffee with a friend or mentor during these hours.
What time do you go to sleep?
I like to turn the lights off by midnight.
I’ve just started using the Sleep Induction Mat by Dave Asprey as well. I was a little sceptical on this, but sliding it underneath me, half an hour before I sleep, I’ve never slept better.
The art of getting up is the art of going to sleep. They work hand in hand. The end of the day is equally as important as the beginning of the day. If you look at the likes of Ernest Hemingway, he would finish halfway through a sentence when he was writing at his best in the evenings, so that his flow and positive state of mind would continue into the next day.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
No, I don’t set an alarm. If I have to set an alarm I know my routine is out of sync.
The window in my bedroom faces east, so I let the sun wake me up. I feel it is more natural than an alarm. I have the blinds open and let the rays pour in. I am not in a routine if my body doesn’t wake me up automatically. I don’t believe you should ever force yourself to wake up. You should wake up naturally. I sleep with the blinds open, and I wake up with the sunrise.
When my routine is good, I wake up just after 6:00am every day. I implement the biphasic sleeping pattern, which consists of six hours sleep and a twenty minute nap later on during the day. I like sleeping; I just don’t like sleeping much. “You need eight hours of sleep a day” is nothing but a schema, certainly quality, not quantity, on this note.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
The first thing I do every morning is go downstairs into the kitchen and consume Bio Trust protein. I have tested my body like a lab rat, and this is in a different league to any other product on the market. It is very expensive for what you get, but it is of the highest quality, and the taste is pretty good too! Just don’t subscribe to their newsletters unless you want machines guns’ worth of email ammunition unloaded on you.
I don’t eat breakfast until I come back from the gym at around 9:00am. It usually consists of a four egg omelette with steak or chicken, and an avocado.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
I head to the gym every morning.
Working out first thing in the morning is crucial. You are fully in control of the outcome and results, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’ve never spent longer than an hour in the gym. If you are in the gym longer than an hour, you are working out the mirror more than you body (the exception, of course, is training for long distance events).
I stick to high-intensity, explosive interval training, like Plyometrics. This involves a lot of muscle confusion, so the mind and body are always tuned in with what’s going on, opposed to doing the same exercises over and over, which leads to little to no results.
I think I have over 42 exercise sheets which I randomly pick every morning, and I just get stuck into that. I was pretty burned out after college, so I didn’t work out for six months, during which time I lost about five inches of muscle on each leg. It was pretty scary. However, it is great to be a back up to nearly full strength. Working out is continuous; you just don’t do it from time to time. As Nike says, “just do it.”
How about morning meditation?
I’ve tried all sorts of meditation, and I usually just get more annoyed and frustrated after sitting with my legs crossed for twenty minutes after doing it.
Again it is finding what works for you. I always make the last 10-15 minutes of my workout the most focused and hardest. As I finish the workout, I go and find a quiet spot in the gym and lie on my back and close my eyes.
I did a deprivation tank about four months ago in San Francisco. And the one thing I noticed was just how much energy our bodies produce. I got a real sense of connection with my energy levels, and how I felt like a steam train that was constantly on the go. So I pay close attention to this. I then just go through all the things I am truly grateful for in my life. It is so easy to want more and increase the speed and size of your life, but if you’re not content with what you have, you will never be content by what you add. This is my form of meditation.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
This may amaze you, but I don’t have a phone at the moment. I think they are a curse of our century.
At the moment I’m on a full detox diet. I have zero tolerance if someone brings out a phone over a dinner table. I think it may be one of the rudest things you can do. It not only shows disrespect to the people with whom you are with, but it just informs me that you are thoroughly uninteresting.
They also consume what you see, and you forget to appreciate what is actually around you. Watch people in a restaurant, they are all either on their phones or even worse they take a picture of their food before they smell or try it. You can spend your entire life entrapped by them, and they’ll only end up making you miserable.
Of course, this may be a bit extreme, but try going one day a week without screens. Meaning no computers, no televisions, no phones. I went two years through college with no phone, it was probably the most social time in my life. Trust me, you can get by.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
After I make the slow-carb protein shake, I make coffee, which is just beautiful. I could talk about the art of making coffee all day. I am very much an amateur but I enjoy it immensely.
I start by grinding the beans with your everyday grinder. After the coffee is brewed, I put it into a blender with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of Brain Octane Oil. This is also known as Bulletproof Coffee which was introduced by Dave Asprey a couple years ago. It takes time getting used to, and after drinking it, you sort of feel like you are in a fighter pilot experience, but the difference is there is no crash like with normal coffee. You just keep going. Too much oil can leave you with… a fighter jet experience coming out the other end. So beware, less is more!
What are your most important tasks in the morning?
Controlling the five inches in-between your head. No one can take away your attitude or desires away from you.