Morning is your chance to prime your body to get the most out of it for the rest of the day. Just like a car in the winter, your body needs to warm up to function properly. My patients who have taken on this morning challenge say they feel more energized, upright, and lighter throughout the day.
I start my day with a teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt in 12 ounces of water to help regulate the function of my adrenal glands. Chronic stress pushes your adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Over long periods of time, the adrenal glands have difficulty producing other hormones, including aldosterone, which regulates the sodium and potassium levels. These ion levels are critical for cardiovascular and renal health. They are also important for proper muscle activation. In order to fire your muscles, you need the proper balance of sodium outside the cells and potassium inside the cell to initiate the muscle firing sequence.
I follow that up with coffee with grass-fed butter, medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, collagen, and gelatin — essentially Bulletproof coffee with collagen and gelatin added. I do this to put my body into ketosis, a condition that will burn fat first for calories. From a soft tissue standpoint, studies have found that the addition of butter will improve mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, creating ATP, the chemical energy that helps to power muscles. So you're creating more available power for your muscles. I add in collagen to help heal cartilage and support tissue repair, and MCT oil for ketone formation and to aid brain function. Plus, it's a delicious way to begin the day.
To prep your muscles themselves, release what is tight and then stretch. People often think stretching alone will create more motion, but I firmly believe releasing with the Reavy Method is exponentially more effective. My release is applying pressure to tight tissue coupled with moving the muscle through its range of motion. Not only does it break up restrictions in the muscle but works on the reflexive system of the body the way your muscles naturally react.
People normally become tight in the same spots because of our tech-heavy, seated lifestyle. But everyone is susceptible to muscle tightness. I am on my feet most of the day, and I still get tight in the same places as my patients that sit at work. I do up to six releases in the morning, but if you're pressed for time in the morning, just realease your hip flexors (description below). I follow that with mobilizations — here I'm recommending the ilium posterior, or hip rotation, mobilization. This creates more motion and will help you recruit muscles more efficiently. Finish this morning routine with muscle activations, which are key to get your body ready to move. If I'm warming up for a workout, I'll add downward-dog push-ups, and calf raises. And if I'm doing high-intensity, like sprinting, I'll do up to 30 reps of each.
Hip Flexor Release
- For this release, use two lacrosse balls taped together.
- Lie on your stomach and place the double lacrosse ball just below your hip bone.
- Lean a tolerable amount of weight onto the lacrosse balls.
- Bend the knee on the side of the release back to a 90-degree angle. Swing that leg side to side in a tolerable range of motion.
- Perform for one minute on each side.
Hip Rotation Mobilizations
- Lie on your side with your knees and hips slightly bent.
- With your top hand, locate the bony prominence (the ilium) on the back of your top hip. With your fingers on top of the ilium, apply constant pressure.
- While maintaining the pressure, draw your top knee toward your chest and extend it back to your feet.
- Perform 30 reps on each side.
- With shoulders back and arms in a W, lunge and hinge forward from hips; straighten back up.
- Touch rear knee to floor, and rise.
- Dip elbows side to side.
- Twist side to side. Repeat on other leg.
- Do 12 reps.
Inner Thigh Squats
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, feet turned out.
- Keep you weight in your heels and push your hips back.
- As you squat down, rotate your knees out, pulling with your inner thigh.
- Keep your chest up, with arms hanging down. Lower until you touch the ground.
- Perform 12 reps.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Slightly bend support leg, keep knee over heel.
- Bring the other foot back and behind the support leg. Keep shoulders square facing forward.
- Step back and rotate upper body toward support leg.
- Step back and bend to the side opposite the support leg.
- Switch support leg and repeat for six reps on each side.