Talk to any executive and they'll tell you the same thing in between sips of their morning Joe: “The morning is the most productive time.” They’re right - countless studies don’t just say the early bird gets the worm, but it’s a prized-time for focusing, having alone time and breezing through your to-do list in lighting speed.
“Being a morning person means enjoying more time. Regardless of how you may choose to use that extra time, it is an opportunity for enhanced productivity, efficiency and work-life balance." life coach Emeline Roissetter explains. "When snoozers tend to rush out the door increasing their stress level, not giving any thought to their appearance or their personal well-being, early risers tend to look sharper, well put together and more relaxed about the challenges ahead. Waking up early gives you an opportunity to be and feel more prepared for your working day which will decrease your stress level which in turn will help you think more clearly and therefore improve your problem-solving and decision making skills.”
But if you’re the type of person who has never been naturally blessed with the ability to rise sans alarm or not push snooze (hey, we’re all guilty sometimes) - then the thought of working in the early A.M. probably seems daunting. No worries though: these life coaches share their best solutions that help make anyone - and yep, they mean anyone- a morning person.
Here’s how to get started just in time for 2017:
Commit to 21 days.
Science says it takes three weeks to form a new habit - for better or for worse - so when you decide to become a new morning person, make sure you set aside the time to truly give it a chance. That means even if you drink a little too much at a happy hour, you’re still getting up the next day, so remember your choice when you say ‘yes’ to another half-priced marg. This means you will decide on what your trigger is to remind you of your goal and then actually following through, just like you would when anyone gives you a deadline. “A trigger is a sign you send to your brain that creates a behavior. For example when you see a stop sign, your brain understands that the right behavior is to stop…. You don’t need to think about it, your subconscious takes over and it just happens. Triggers are created by developing a new routine and constant repetition,” Roissetter says. “Experts say that it takes a minimum of 21 days for a new habit to be created, so if you wish to truly give it a go, commit to a minimum of 3 weeks. You don’t need to make drastic changes all at once, you can simply ease into it one baby step at a time.”
Eat protein ASAP.
You know that post (and pre) workout, having a hearty amount of protein will keep you feel full and satisfied, but as life coach John Moore says, this part of our diet is a must-have for morning performance. The catch though? Don’t just gobble up a hard boiled egg when you rub your eyes to a new day, but do it at night, too. “Eat a small amount of protein right before bedtime. This will keep cortisol levels in check and help with a good night's sleep,” he explains. “Then, the recipe for a good morning is to have protein first thing (30 grams within 30 minutes of waking up) This revs up the metabolism and gets you moving.”
Book something that makes you accountable.
It could be an 8 a.m. meeting with your investors or a 7:30 a.m. Pilates class that’ll charge you if you’re a no-show. Whatever will motivate you to be on time and make a commitment to early rise, life and success coach, Valerie Langley says to book it now. “I go to a 5:30 a.m. exercise class that I sign up for in advance which helps me to get up. I have the accountability of the trainer I work with is expecting me, so it motivates me to get out of bed and show up. You can also have an accountability partner someone at work or just a friend who also wants to be an early riser,” she explains. “Every day you can check on each others progress and encourage and celebrate each of your successes. Also having someone to lift you up and help you to get back on the wagon if you fall off will help.”
Find a reason to wake-up that means something to you.
You know how to make business goals, respond to employees of all different management styles and still remember to reply to your best friend’s text message, so why wouldn’t you be able to get up a bit earlier? The reason you’re able to commit to these other parts of your life is because they hold meaning to you. That’s why making your morning significant and person is key. “Focus on the reason you wanted to get up early in the first place. Was it to work out or get in an hour of work uninterrupted, or just to have some quiet alone time to refuel and recharge to be able to give your absolute best to your family and work?,” Langley says. “Whatever the reason let that be your morning focus not how early you are actually getting up. Knowing you will be more productive at work and throughout the day is also a great thing to focus on.”
Do some jumping jacks when you wake up.
Most folks who follow the sun on it’s way up usually have the motivation of exercise to get them going. Your blood pumping, the sweat dripping and your heart racing is a sure-fire way to wake you up - and quickly. But if a workout class or logging an hour at the gym just isn’t your cup of energizing green tea, you can always do something at home that’s easier. Even if it’s just one movement! “Jumping jacks as the first exercise in the morning is like coffee to me (because I don't drink coffee). I'm super alert after 50 fast paced jumping jacks,” life coach, Arianan Curry says.
Don’t make it easy on yourself.
Another trick that Curry uses? Placing his alarm clock far, far away from him so that he can’t simply roll over and give in to his desire to sleep just five minutes more. “I have my alarm set up in the alcove of my bedroom, in front of a big window, with a yoga mat and weights already set up. I have 3 versions of a 15 minute intense workout taped near the big window. This means that I have to get up and walk about 12 feet to turn off the alarm but the ingenious part for me is that once I walk 20 paces or so and turn off the alarm and see the exercise mat and my exercise equipment waiting for me I'm not going back to bed and I’m up and eager, while being fully awakened by the sunshine coming through the window. Beats getting dressed and heading to the gym.”
Don’t make it just about work, but about joy.
While it’s true that not being interrupted by meetings, your children, phone calls or obsessively scrolling through reports (or ahem, Facebook) means you’ll get so much work completed, there’s another bonus of waking up early to keep in mind. Not only is it positive for your business, but for your sense of self, too. Roissetter says to make sure you pick something to do in the morning that brings you personal happiness. “You may want to use that time to paint your nails, have a bubble bath, express yourself through art, spend more time with your kids or share quality time with your partner,” she suggests. “Whatever it is, do something that truly makes you happy. It will help you set the tone for a good day and make your new early morning habit much more enjoyable. This is your time to focus on yourself.”
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.