Morning routines for optimal health – Podcast #79

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand share their morning routines for optimal health in today's podcast episode. They both emphasize getting hydrated is really important when you're just about to start your day. A great way to kick off your morning is to focus on what you're going to do for the rest of the day. Be it through a task manager or through visualization. 

Morning routinesDiscover ways you can increase your productivity when you listen to this talk. Listen to helpful tips you can do to help your concentration as well as find out about apps you can download to manage your time and get a more efficient workflow. They also talk about thinking positive and how to deal with negative thoughts in this interview.

In this episode, topics include:

01:20   Morning routines

5:19   Apps to manage time and tasks

9:30   Gratitude, affirmations, and visualization

10:45   The Law of Attraction

11:57   Be-Do-Have mindset

15:20   Summary: Action Items







Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Evan Brand, it’s Dr. J, man.  Long time no see.  How ya doing?

Evan Brand:  Oh, I’m doing great.  I have heat.  Yay!  My wife and I, we woke up freezing.  It was 50 degrees in the house and so I–I think I may have increased my level of brown fat in the body, so I’m feeling pretty, pretty happy about that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Getting your cold thermogenesis on?

Evan Brand:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Well, I was actually doing that last weekend.  I was water skiing in Lake Austin without a wet suit.

Evan Brand:   That’s pretty chilly still this time of year.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I mean, it was 75 out in the air but in the water, it was still like upper 40s, lower 50s, and anyone that knows water temperature that’s pretty darned cold still.

Evan Brand:   That’s chilly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.  I put a video online if anyone wants to see it.  But it’s quite frigid and I smartened up a little bit afterwards and I–I bought a wetsuit, at least one that cuts off at the knees and the–the elbows, and was kept–keeps that torso a little bit warmer just so I don’t have that feeling of death in that first–

Evan Brand:   Really?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   30 seconds.

Evan Brand:   Gosh, no joke.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   But it’s quite exhilarating.  That’s first 30 seconds you feel like you’re gonna die and then it’s like the endorphins and the enkephalins kinda come in and then when you come out, you get this feeling of warmness like a warm blanket around you.  It’s pretty awesome.

Evan Brand:   Yeah, I have great memories of Barton Springs going–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Evan Brand:   When it was freezing–what’s year-round freezing but oh, it’s exhilarating for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absolutely.  So we were gonna talk about today–pre-show, we were talking about morning routines.  We get a couple of people on YouTube and people emailing the office saying we would like a video on your morning routine.  So anyone listening that wants to get some videos on specific info or some audio or podcast on certain info, give us an email.  Shoot us over at NotJustPaleo and/or and reach out.  Moving forward though, let’s dig in to morning routines, Evan.

Evan Brand:   Let’s do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   What’s up with yours?

Evan Brand:   Well, so my morning routine, I don’t ever set an alarm.  I’m lucky enough where I can wake up naturally and it feels so good because I need to keep my adrenals in check because I’ve verified in my past that I’ve had some adrenal issues and it’s not confirmed by science, I don’t think, but Dr. James Wilson, the guy who wrote that great Adrenal Fatigue book, he says a lot of time that people rest really well adrenally from 7 to 9 AM.  So if I can sleep in a little bit later, I’m going to and then when I get up first things for me is–is hydration.  Go get some water, pee, start getting ready for some fat or protein to start the day with my food.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Ab–absolutely, that’s great.  With me, I kinda have an idea.  I kinda segmentally intend what I’m gonna do with that first hour or two of my day.  If I have patients or if I’m gonna be doing a podcast or exercising.  So with me, I kinda have my alarm typically around 7 to 7:15 and I figure out exactly what I’m gonna do.  Most of the time for me it’s I’m showering first thing.  So my alarm goes off, I literally get up right away and jump right in the shower.  I’m with–I’m in the shower within 10 seconds of my alarm getting off.  It’s like–boomp–boomp–because I just wanna hit that day and like hit it with momentum so I feel like I’m hitting the ground running, and then from there, I end my shower with a 1 to 2-minute cold shower and that really gets the adrenaline going.  I feel super pumped and super motivated to start my day.  And then from there, I go downstairs and depending on what the breakfast is that day, I start out with saltwater, so typically about a half a teaspoon in the morning with you know, typically 2 or 3 big coffee mugs, so like about 20 to 30 ounces of water right away.  I get hydrated.  I get minerals in my body and then I figure out what I’m gonna be cooking and typically it’s either gonna be a good shake or it’s gonna be a good egg breakfast or a leftover breakfast and I get that dialed in while coffee is brewing.  And then from there, I take care of my little cats, get them all fed, and then I take care of myself and sometimes my wife as well if she’s gonna be eating breakfast that morning.  So I get the coffee going.  I get a good shake lined up if it’s a shake day or a good meal either reheated or some good eggs going if we’re gonna be going the–the egg route.

Evan Brand:   Yes, something else I’ve been doing and I know a lot of people–I’ve seen–for some reasons popular with girls.  They like to put their morning routines on YouTube.  I’ve just seen some videos pop up and it’s so unrealistic.  They just try to paint this perfect picture of how their morning routine is, you know, and it’s just kinda funny but–but for real, something that I’ve been trying to do is to create–I have this little journal that you’re–you’re not seeing–Justin’s seeing it, but I just write down one little desire and intention, just one little paragraph and I try to wake up and sit down and focus on that intention for the day.  So I’ve realized that trying to do too many things in the same morning or the same day even, it reduces your productivity so much but if I just focus on 3 things like you and I were talking about getting the supplements going, if I’m focusing on getting the supplements going, say doing a podcast with you and doing some coaching calls, that’s it.  So long story short, instead of outputting my energy to 20 different places and doing 20 different things per day, I’ve realized that if you just focus on your 3 primary goals or your 3 primary categories of life that you need to focus on or your business, that’s really gonna help you to be more productive.  When I try to do too much, the whole day just falls apart.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I love that.  That’s a big Tim Ferriss thing from The 4-Hour Workweek.

Evan Brand:   Really?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   What’s the big 3?  Big 3 things I find that you gotta have a good task list whether it’s Google Task or To-Do List or just using the reminders on your iPhone, you gotta have some kinda way to–to download those things so you know exactly what you get going the next day because if you take it out of your head and you put it down somewhere where it’s there for you, it’s amazing how your body can relax and de-stress because it’s not worrying about having to remember things.

Evan Brand:   Oh, I agree.  My sleep’s definitely better, too, which would definitely count into the morning routine because if you get stuff out of the brain, it’s literally clearing the ram and now your brain can sort of, “Ah, I’m gonna daydream.”  I’m gonna think creatively about what we’re gonna do on a podcast to kinda freeze all the energy up which is really cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, it’s like the same kind of anxiety you get when you have a–a flight the next morning and you just start thinking about, “Oh, my God.  Oh, my God.  I sleep through my alarm.”  Well, just set two alarms and then you’re set and then you cannot worry as much.  It’s the same thing.  You start thinking about all the tasks you have to do.  Just stop, take 5 minutes, put up your little to-do list, app, or your Google Task, or there’s a one on iPhone called WinStreak where you can plug in 3 things.  Just put those big things.  Write them down.  I always put them in order of most important to least important, alright, and then you can do it based on what’s bringing in the most revenue if you’re business-oriented or what’s the biggest priority if it’s like, you know, food for you family or picking your kids up.  Whatever that priority is, just put it in the higher order.  That takes away your brain having to be on top of it and then you can just shut off your brain and just focus on R&R because you know you made this agreement that you’re not gonna forget it because it’s somewhere else that gonna be in your face all the next day.

Evan Brand:   Right.  Yeah, I mean, so moving forward through my day just in terms of trying to stay productive and–and keep the morning flowing, I’ve been using something and I’m not going to lie and say that I use this every day, but something I’ve been trying to make a practice and you know, force myself to make this habit is doing pomodoros.  So there’s an app on Mac and I’m sure there’s on Windows as well.  It’s called Pomodoro One on the Mac and all it is is this idea that you wanna work in sprints so which is a 25-minute timer where you just go, go, go, and then after that, it just goes ding, and it’s 5 minutes and you just take a break.  So if I’m standing for 25, I’m gonna sit for 5, and go–go to the bathroom, whatever, or if I’m just working in general, I’ll get up and try to go in the kitchen, maybe drink some water, refill my water bottle, whatever it is, just something to get up and just change the flow of everything and then jump back in.  But to be [inaudible] guilty of going for an hour, and then stopping after that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.

Evan Brand:   Did I freeze there?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   You froze just a little bit.  So you were saying with the Pomodoro and you have the 3 things and you sprint, sprint, sprint, and go, go, go.  Yeah, I was saying that and then–but I’ve also noticed that my concentration will actually last longer than 25 minutes at a time, so I may just wait through 2 cycles which ends up being, you know, basically an hour and then I’ll try to–to change the flow.  What about you?  Do you have any type of set time or do you not even pay attention to that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I get super focused and in the zone where 10-12 hours can go by like that, so that’s something I’m working on.  I do have an app on my phone called Calm and it will pop-up a couple times a day and ask me to do a 5-minute mediation and I’ll just go, you know, sit in my recliner in the office and I’ll just do a 5-minute mediation, a visual, you know, guided meditation to help me relax and just chill out and then get back to work and then also, I’ll–I have like some kettlebells in my office so I’ll just stop for a few minutes and I’ll just do some kettlebell swings a few times a day just to get the blood flowing, and I’ll even do some push-ups to failure, so it’s like kettlebell swings, push-ups to failure, boom, jump back in it.

Evan Brand:   Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Kinda just shift the physiology a bit and that could be a big help for me.

Evan Brand:   Oh, yeah, that sounds good.  Yeah, I mean, I’ve tried to meet up with my wife at the gym so we’ll usually go anywhere from 11 to 1 PM.  We’ll meet up at the gym and I’ll put in a workout.  I usually try to do all strength training.  I don’t do any high intensity stuff right now and that really sets the mood for–for the rest of the day.  I guess technically that’s outside of my morning routine but it’s still something that I always look forward to.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, one thing I did last year I wanna get back into it.  I did like a 15-minute walk in the morning and it was great.  I did it to Anthony Robbins, I think it’s Morning Magic on his Get The Edge CD.  It was one of his bonus CDs.  It’s a really good one.  I did a 15 minutes where I was–you go for a walk in the morning and we talked about it on previous podcast, but it’s 5 minutes of visualization, 5 minutes of gratitude and appreciation, and then 5 minutes of affirmation.  It actually went gratitude, affirmations, and then gratitude–or I’m sorry–it went gratitude and it went affirmations, and then visualization last because you’re visualizing what’s to come, all the good things.  I think that’s a really important piece because you gotta get thankful for where you’re at.  You got, well, you know, start putting those positive mental things in your brain with the good self-talk because if you’re doing good self-talk, then at least–the good thing about that is it’s not bad self-talk.  So it’s at least better than putting all the negative stuff there and then part 3 is, you know, visualizing and looking at what’s it gonna be like when these things are completed and you have these things accomplished.

Evan Brand:   That’s great.  Yeah.  Have you noticed when you do think more positive and you try to put more good intentions or good vibes out that more things come back to you?  Have you made a correlation between putting good things and getting good things and putting negative and getting negative?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  I mean, that’s kind like the Law of Attraction.  I think the–the big issue with the Law of Attraction where it falls short is a lot of–there was an article that was on Facebook going around.  It was really interesting.  A study came out, I think this month talking about people that just get super–they’re super like positive thinking-oriented and they’re super visually-oriented like visualizing what happens and a correlation between like unhappiness and not getting what they want.  And the big thing is it kinda came from that artic–article was like this lack of execution.  Lack of like action in the moment. So I think it’s great looking at where you wanna be and feeling those good feelings and seeing it happen–happening and visualizing and seeing it inside your–your mind’s eye but you need a plan that you’re also executing in the moment right now that predictably makes sense now that will help you to get there.  So you gotta feel it, you gotta see it, but you also have to be doing some kind of action item to help you move forward in that process.  If not, you’re gonna be basically setting yourself up for failure.

Evan Brand:   That makes perfect sense.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And that’s the big thing that a lot of people with The Secret, they just totally miss the boat on.  You know, Neale Donald Walsch and his book, Conversations with God, talks about see–Be-Do-Have, right? Be-Do-Have, like first you–you think it.  You–you become it internally, right?  You think of it.  You visualize it.  You feel it on the inside so it’s more of an internal thing.  Doing, you start actually having actions that follow suit because of that beingness, and then you actually have what it is you want.  So it’s this Be-Do-Have type of mindset and not Have-Do-Be.  But the important component in there, I think a lot of people that kind of follow this Secret type of mindset, the Do part is missing.  It’s like Be-Have.  Be-Have.  I’m just gonna think it and then I have it.  And that’s not quite how things work.  It’s this Be-Do-Have mindset and then there’s a lot people that just have it, they–they wanna have it without having to think it or do it either.  So there’s that part, too.  So it’s important you get in your head and get to that appreciation place and gratitude place, and then start visualizing it but you have to make sure there’s some kind of plan that makes sense to you or to your family or to your coach that–that has lined up that has predictable actions that will help you get to where you wanna go.  And the nice thing about it is success leaves footprints, so if we’re just talking about health and you’re visualizing your body being super healthy or you visualizing your body having healthy energy, but you’re still eating crap and you’re still not getting to bed on time and you’re eating gluten and you’re not taking your supplements, well, you can see that visualization really means nothing.  So you kinda have to get back and say, “Alright, great I’m gonna visualize my good body, my good energy and feeling awesome,” but then now, take a step back and say, “What are the 3 action items though I should be taking that are gonna help move me forward in that direction?”  And the nice thing about it when it comes to health, it leaves footprints.  There’s things that people do that are predictably healthy, like their diet, like their lifestyle, like their water.  These are predictable things that people do across the board.  So just make sure whether it’s with health or business or life or relationships and, you know, just for the–the health side of our podcast, we’ll focus on health, but make sure you’re following those 3 to 5 actions that makes sense for you that will help you continue to walk in that direction of improved health.

Evan Brand:   That’s a great point.  And a lot of people, they may be so paralyzed by their symptoms, you know, when I was struggling with IBS.  I mean, it was hard to track what exactly was helping and–and what exactly was causing me the symptoms, but if I just sat there long enough and just kind of really felt, “Oh, this is what food is doing it to me,” then I was able to have clarity.  So sometimes I know the waters can get so muddy that people are like, “Well, I don’t know what the footstep is,” but if you just sit and kinda feel things out, generally something, even just one little baby step in the right direction of any of these categories is usually present and just, you have to start somewhere.  You can’t get to the massive snowball that you want if you don’t start with just packing the first little pieces and–and that’s really been a huge lifelong learning lesson for me is that I can see point, say, C, but I had to go through point B to get to that C.  And if I just kept focusing on the C and I didn’t actually look at the journey it’s gonna take to get there, then sometimes, you know, I could feel disappointed because it’s like, “Man, I’m not there yet.”  But you know, you–you and I we kinda talk sometimes like, “Hey, man.  Let’s pause.  Look at–look at the progress so far.”  Wow!  And then you celebrate that and that usually gives you enough emotion hopefully to–to keep going.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absolutely.  So in kinda the realm of summar–summarizing this whole entire conversation is number one, start your day with a bang.  So get momentum going right away.  Have clarity, either the night before or that morning on what the big 3 tasks that you have to do, write it down, be clear.  Get momentum whether you start your day with a workout or a shower or breakfast; get moment right away, alright.  Alright, e-motion is energy in motion.  So if you can create that e-motion by moving confidently and hitting the ground running in the morning, that’s gonna help your day.  I like the cold shower in the morning.  If you’re not gonna work out, a good cold shower is amazing.  And then from there, getting momentum on your day and having some visualization, even if you’re not out for a walk and you’re just doing the dishes, getting caught up and making the coffee, and making breakfast, kinda go through a mental exercise and just say, “Hey, what am I really thankful for right now?”  And it could just be, “Hey, you’re thankful for just having the foresight to do this exercise and being thankful for being thankful or being thankful for having this really good clean water in the morning or having this–this food in the fridge that’s–you can eat that’s organic, or you know, having this job you can go to or whatever.  Just for being up and being able to move.  Just find out a couple of those things and really get focused on them and then figure out your action items for the day and try to get momentum, alright.  The more momentum you can get, the more you can kinda get things rolling.  It’s amazing how that spirals off into production.

Evan Brand:   I agree.  Those are all great, great summary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Well, anything else you wanted to add about your day or just little tips that you’re doing?

Evan Brand:   I mean the main thing for me is just you–you and I we both are alone a lot of the times because we’re doing virtual consults with people.  So a lot of times I’ll find myself just kinda trapped in my own head and it’s tough sometimes when–when you are in your own head because your brain just tends to–and I did a whole podcast with Dr. Rick Hanson on it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Evan Brand:   We were talking about happiness and how basically your brain acts like Teflon for positive thoughts, but it acts like basically super glue or something for negative thoughts, so we’re just kinda wired for those negative thoughts, and you can’t believe everything that pops into your head.  It’s going to happen.  It happens to all of us–all of us; it happens to the best of us.  Negative thoughts will happen.  You just have to try to look into those a little bit deeper and figure out why they’re happening or where they’re coming from, but if you can easily self-paralyze yourself and I tell a lot of my clients, too, that they’re often they’re worst enemy.  A lot of times it has nothing to do with even their friends or their family.  A lot of times it’s themselves beating themselves up.  Maybe they made a–a food choice that wasn’t 100% organic or something, and they’re beating themselves up and stressing them out.  I’ll often say that that type of stress is worse than the actual potentially damaging food item could have been because to me emotions are kind of this underlying piece of this whole puzzle that we don’t talk about too much but I’m in–I’m slowly increasing the amount of the piece of the pie that–that I factor that in because I’ve had such a powerful experience in fixing my emotions and fixing other people’s that it’s–it’s unreal what you can achieve if you have good–good emotions that you can–that you can feel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absolutely.  I’m a big fan of if a negative thought comes in my brain, number one, I have to feel like, one, is there something I can do about it?  That’s the first thing.  Like for instance, if you get this negative thought because you’re late on your tax bill or something, well, you shouldn’t just, you know, disconnect from that and move on to a good thought.  You should actually write that down and take action on it.  So things that you have control over.  The credit card bill, like, “Oh, I forgot to pick my kids up at practice.”  Like those are things you gotta take action on right now.  But then there are things–it may just be looking at yourself and doubting your ability.  Maybe a negative thought about yourself or an interaction that you have with how you’re looking at your body or your mind.  Things that you may not have 100% control over in the moment, that’s really where you wanna shift your mindset.  And one of the big principles in NLP or neurolinguistic programming is visualize a big red stop sign coming right in your face.  So when it comes to negative thoughts that don’t really require you taking an action per se, that’s where those are really good.  If it’s something that involves you taking an action, that negative thought comes into your brain, visualize the action that you have to take to neutralize it.  If it’s the tax bill, visualize yourself getting on the horn with your accountant and writing out that check, or if you’re guilty because you didn’t go to the gym or you’re eating gluten, visualize what you gotta do to solve it.  If it’s something that doesn’t involve an action, then just visualize that red stop sign and move towards a better thought.  So those are just some really good techniques, just the problem with the positive thought community is sometimes you gotta take action to fix the problem and sometimes you don’t.  So you gotta just know what’s in your control, go to the solution there.  What’s not in your control, go to that better thought.

Evan Brand:   That’s amazing.  Yeah, that’s super helpful.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Great, anything you wanna add, Evan?

Evan Brand:   Not really, man.  That was good.  I mean, overall, we sort of said the same thing in 5 different ways which is good because it clicked for me, so I know it’s gonna be clicking for our listeners here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Great and then also just from a health side of things, what are some key health principles that everyone can add in, we kinda interlaced it already in–in this call, but let’s just highlight that.  So number one, start your day with momentum, alright.  If you move slow out of bed and just begrudgingly, you know, into your closet or into the bathroom, that–that sets the tone.  So move with e-motion, energy in motion.  Number two, get hydrated and get minerals in your body.  Minerals are activators.  Hydration is really important, right?  The solution to pollution is dissolution.  Get good hydration in your body and try saying that ten times fast, too.  And then next, get a good breakfast lined up.  If it’s a fast day, because you can handle it, fine.  It’s a fast day.  But if not, get your good coffee and your good fats lined up. If you’re not gonna do coffee, get a really good breakfast lined up.  I mean, try to have that 30 grams of protein in the first 30 minutes.  Get your body charged with nutrients.  Get your blood sugar stable.  The sicker you are or the more fatigued or stressed you are, you really wanna make sure you’re having that good quality breakfast that morning and not skipping it and not doing a fast if you’re under a ton of stress and you have maybe some health concerns or challenges.  Anything you wanna add on the health routine side of the fence?

Evan Brand:   Well, I would go a little bit harder. I’d beat the drum a little harder on the blood sugar point because for me, and I would say for most of our clients, they are dealing with some type of adrenal stress typically and so they are gonna have that increased sensitivity to those blood sugar swings.  And if you’re blood sugar is not stable and you’re trying to get through your day.  By the time it hits 1 PM when we’re recording this, most of these people are going to be tanking out.  They’re going to be having some sugar cravings, some carb cravings that are coming in, and we wanna minimize that stuff because that’s going to reduce your productivity with your mind because you’re gonna be so focused on getting that blood sugar back up.  You’re not even gonna have the blood flow to even think creatively or however you need to think period to get your task done for the day and if you have that blood sugar stable, it’s just–it’s a life-changer and that’s something that is literally one of the most impactful foundations that I’ve ever worked on personally with myself.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I like that and also on the same vein, really making sure you’re taking the supplements you’re supposed to be taking by your functional medicine doctor at the right time.  So if it’s, you know, morning multivitamin and/or some adaptogens or glandulars or some adrenal support or whatever else, make sure you have that kinda built into the food routine, taking those and getting those in at the right times.

Evan Brand:   That’s very true. I mean, is it better to get it in during the day at some time, better than no time?  Yeah, but the reason that we design things at certain times, with XYZ meals, in-between meals, etc. is because that’s the optimal timing and there’s a–there’s a rhyme and a reason to those nutrients.  So yeah, taking your supplements say because you forgot them and you took them late, that’s okay, but if you wanna be performing like the top 1% of mankind, then you have to have these things dialed in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absolutely and again, normal and typical aren’t the same thing.  Most people tell me how they feel in the morning and how they feel in general, right?  Well, this is just normal.  Everyone feels this way.  It’s like, well, let’s not confuse what’s normal and what’s typical.  Normal should be optimal health.  Normal should be.  It’s not typical, or it is typical to be, you know, flat in the morning and fatigued and–and not happy with your body.  That’s typical.  But just because other have that, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily normal, right?  This optimal energy and performance and focus and brain power should be normal.  It’s just not typical, so these type of little action items that we’re talking about will make your typical the new optimal normal.

Evan Brand:   Great, yeah.  Well said.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Alright, Evan.  Hey, great chat today.  Hope everyone enjoyed it.

Evan Brand:   Take care.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Alright, bye.

Evan Brand:   Buh-bye.


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