How’s your morning routine going? We’ll give you a break; it’s summer, and not just any old summer. It’s the summer, the post-lockdown summer — so if you’ve been frequenting those bars and pubs and lying in a little longer than you usually would in the mornings, we’ll forgive you.
But as we’ve said before, the importance of morning routines can’t be underestimated. Neither can the importance of fitness; which, for many, is a paramount part of what they get up to before work. So we decided to merge the two, in a fit of efficiency, and ask some top fitness instructors how they start their mornings. These guys are the epitome of healthy living; so if anyone knows how to start the day off right, it’ll be them.
Sandy Macaskill: Co-Owner of Barry’s UK and Founding UK instructor
What time do you wake up? 7-8:00am, depending on when my three-year-old decides “the sun has woken up”.
What do you listen to? Victory The Podcast: by the guys in my favourite show, Entourage.
Do you do a workout? Ideally, I would always workout in the morning — at Barry’s of course — but as I like to try all my different instructors, I have to be flexible on times.
What do you have for breakfast? Black coffee, eggs and arepa if I have time; or a Hermosa vanilla protein shake if I’m in a rush.
William Mclaren: Personal Trainer at KXU
What time do you wake up? My alarm is set for 5:30am most mornings. Despite not having to wake up so early on the weekends, I try to keep my routine consistent as it really does help with my overall energy levels. Lie-ins may seem appealing, but your body actually doesn’t really benefit. Early to bed, early to rise. My first clients start at 6:00am: so I practice what I preach, encouraging them to have a healthy sleep cycle.
What do you listen to? My mood will dictate my music choices. One day could be WHAM; the next, Beethoven. When I’m coaching online, I like to have background music playing (although it tends to lead to karaoke).
Do you do a workout? I used to be an avid fan of working out in the morning. It makes you feel great for the upcoming day, and it’s nice to finish work and then go straight home. But as I’ve got older, and better with my time management, I prefer late afternoon workouts as I can train with friends while we’re in that mid-afternoon quiet time between clients. People often ask me: ‘When is it best to work out?’ In reality, we’re all individuals, and different times of the day suit different people. I’d say try to keep intense workouts to a couple of hours before you go to bed, just to help your body unwind.
What do you have for breakfast? I’m so glad you asked! One pint of water as soon as I wake up. Your body does an amazing job detoxing overnight, so help yourself out with a good flush first thing. One cup of coffee. Then 300ml of Oatly, a cup of mixed frozen berries, 1.5 scoops of whey protein, a teaspoon of peanut butter, fibre powder: then blend for 45 seconds. Add 50g of oats — and boom. Delicious, easy and fast breakfast.
Zack Mills: Trainer at Sweat IT
What time do you wake up? I wake up at 6.30am everyday.
What do you listen to? I listen to the High Performance Podcast on my commute in the morning; it’s a great way to increase your knowledge and learn a little bit more each day from someone new.
Do you do a workout? I don’t normally work out in the morning; but if I do, I prefer to do a Sweat IT class as I can just show up and work out without having to think about planning my session. The music, group atmosphere and high intensity session really helps me wake up, and sets me up for the rest of the day.
What do you have for breakfast? My breakfast is always the same: protein porridge. It sounds boring, but with a few specialities added it becomes delicious. Oats, protein and then a teaspoon of Nutella — plus one banana and a couple of Biscoff biscuits crushed up — makes it perfect. If I have a late start, I’ll be cooking a bacon and egg bagel to start the day with a glass of orange juice — but that’s a luxury.
Olu Adepitan: Strength & Conditioning Coach at BXR London
What time do you wake up? Typically, I’m up and out of bed by 5:00am to catch the 5:30am train into London. I live in Hertfordshire with a one hour commute into London, starting my first client at 7am.
What do you listen to? I change what I listen to in the morning depending on my mood. My regular sports podcasts are BBC football (daily, to laugh along at Micah Richards’ banter — plus, you get technical football analysis). Also Costello & Bunce on 5 live boxing and the Toe2Toe podcast for a round up of boxing news. Podcasts are great for inspirational content, and I listen to a fantastic motivational podcast by Sandro Forte.
Do you do a workout? On weekdays, training in the morning will be a luxury as that’s my busiest time for coaching clients; so I generally train just after lunch. My training week will consist of four resistance/weight sessions, two cardio sessions (boxing/running) and two recovery sessions (mobility/stretching), so you’ll catch me doing any one of them.
What do you have for breakfast? Overnight oats made with lactose-free yoghurt and almond milk, topped with a variety of fresh berries or banana, honey, nuts and seeds.
Rod Buchanan: Personal Trainer, Founder of Bodbyrod and Co-Creator of Barre at Psycle London
What time do you wake up? It’s a 7:00am wake up; the luxury of a lie in doesn’t seem to work, since my body is so accustomed to the 7am call!
What do you listen to? My weekly Spotify. Music massively affects my energy and mood; even my workouts are enhanced by music.
Do you do a workout? No. Even though I’m up early, I’m not the best version of myself until 10:00am. Workouts should be valued, so I make sure I’m at my optimum when I work out.
What do you have for breakfast? Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day — I could eat it three times a day. My usual is smoked salmon with smashed avocado and scrambled eggs; and if I have time, I have a second mid-morning breakfast of blueberries, banana, natural yogurt and cinnamon.
Luke Worthington: Personal Trainer
What time do you wake up? I wake up at 5.30, and my day starts with a 30 minute dog walk around the park. Unfortunately, the dog has no idea whether it’s the weekend — so that stays the same every day!
What do you listen to? On my dog walk I don’t listen to anything, and I try to leave my phone behind. I will check my messages and emails beforehand in case of any overnight scheduling changes; but other than that, I think it’s a nice time to enjoy some peace before the day starts in earnest. I tend to watch the morning news headlines whilst I’m eating breakfast — I then leave home at 7:00am to drive to the gym, and I listen to XFM in the car.
Do you do a workout? It’s extremely rare that I would get the opportunity to work out in the morning. Mornings are peak times to work with clients, so busy trainers will usually have to wait until the afternoons. Fortunately, the job is an active one and you’re moving all day!
What do you have for breakfast? I have the same thing every day: four scrambled eggs with a handful of spinach, a couple of slices of halloumi and half an avocado, all on two slices of toast. It looks a mess, but it tastes great, it’s a good way of making sure I get a good start on my daily protein and it can keep me going through my morning clients. I also have vitamin D3, some fish oils and some powdered greens every morning.
Aidan Swietochowski: KOBOX trainer
What time do you wake up? I’m usually up no later than 8:30am, but it can sometimes be as early as 5:30am for early morning clients or teaching.
What do you listen to? I either listen to new releases to find some new songs for class, or to my ‘KOBOX THOT 100’ playlist. However, I do love a podcast — at the moment, I’m listening to The UncerTwenties by Karis Aldridge.
Do you do a workout? I lift free weights every morning, six days a week. I alternate between push/pull/legs or a body part split, depending on my goals.
What do you have for breakfast? I’m not a big breakfast person, so I usually just have a coffee before my morning workout. After my workout, I grab a protein shake; because I’m always on the go.
Jason Bone: Head of Strength at FLEX Chelsea
What time do you wake up? I usually wake up at 5:10am to have time for my protein shake and be lively enough for my first client at 6:00. On weekends I will try to sleep in; but I’ll be wide awake at 6:30!
What do you listen to? I’ll always read the Sky Sports news app. It’s like reading the back pages of the newspaper.
Do you do a workout? If I have time, I’ll train between clients; but my mornings will often be fully booked with sessions.
What do you have for breakfast? My morning protein shake has three eggs, 50g oats, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a banana, protein powder and full fat milk.
Ben Foulis: Personal Trainer at Gymbox
What time do you wake up? My alarm varies, depending on whether my first personal training session for the day starts at 6:15 or 07:15am. I like to maximise the amount of time I spend sleeping, which means I don’t have time to mess around once the alarm goes off — it’s a case of get up, get to it!
What do you listen to? I’m actually not a big music guy! Spending anywhere from 8-12 hours a day in a gym in which music is played nonstop kind of kills my interest in listening to anything in my spare time. I feel like I get my music fix at work, so I’m very much a podcast guy on my commute. These vary from entertainment-based podcasts (typically featuring golf or the NFL) to more serious, performance-based podcasts surrounding business, personal development, sport and the human body.
Do you do a workout? I actually don’t train in the morning. I am a morning person. I am mentally at my sharpest in the morning, so I like to capitalise on this by tackling my big tasks for the day as early as possible. [Instead,] I’ll typically train at around 2-2:30pm. By this point, my brain is pretty fried and I’m ready for the release that training brings. I’m also not the biggest fan of training on an empty stomach; I like to feel full when I train, so I’ll have typically had two meals by this point and I’ll be ready to go.
What do you have for breakfast? I try to hit between 50-60 grams of protein in total for the meal, and between 6-800 kcals. I’m a big promoter of breakfast consisting of protein, fats and fibre. So it will typically look like this:
- Main protein source: 175-200g red meat (typically a steak or 5% beef mince) or salmon.
- A large serving of mixed vegetables
- Occasionally I’ll throw a splash of olive oil in there
- 40g mixed almonds and pecans
- 150-200g strawberries with 100g stewed apples (I like something sweet to finish off most meals)
Haydn Whiteside: Head Instructor at Boom Cycle
What time do you wake up? My natural body clock [wakes me up] around 700am — I’ve always been an early riser! I would only ever set my alarm for an early time if I was going on holiday the next day, or for Boom Cycle.
What do you listen to? I love a podcast! My top two to set me up for the day are: Katherine Ryan’s ‘Telling Everybody Everything’ and Alan Carr’s ‘Life’s A Beach’: both packed with the ultimate feel good, laugh out loud moments.
Do you do a workout? If I’m not teaching in the morning, I usually take the dog for a nice long walk — we’re quite the adventurers, so we often rack up 20,000 steps a day.
What do you have for breakfast? I’m loving making omelettes at the moment! I love whacking a variety of different veg combos in the mix — red onion, mushroom, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
Gareth Moran: Barrecore Teacher
What time do you wake up? I usually wake up at about 6:00am.
What do you listen to? When I first wake up, I like to be in complete silence; and once I’ve showered and start making breakfast, I stick on a podcast to set me up for the day — usually something that’ll make me laugh.
Do you do a workout? Work permitting, I’ll usually always work out in the morning; I’ll do a functional weight session that’s been programmed for me by my trainer.
What do you have for breakfast? At the moment, it’s a protein smoothie with different frozen fruits: this helps start my metabolism, and it helps me reach my total calorie intake per day. It’ll be accompanied by a Trek protein flapjack and a black Americano.
James Dollah: Head of Brand and Head Coach of Puresport Fitness Club
What time do you wake up? I usually wake up at 6-6.30am. I’m not an early morning person, and this is the very earliest I’ll get up. I’ll get up at this time so I can get some training in before work; any later, and I feel like I’m wasting the day.
What do you listen to? I spend 10 minutes listening to Headspace every morning before leaving the house. I’ll usually listen to music on the commute, and when training — it can vary every single day depending on my mood. Some days it’s drum and bass, other days it’s 80s classics or drill. Very eclectic.
Do you do a workout? Yes, I like to do some movement and get a sweat on every morning. I feel better for doing it first thing, as I’m less likely to get distracted by messages or emails at that time, and I feel more productive when I do actually start work. My workouts will differ every day depending on what’s programmed, what gym I’m at or what equipment is available. It’ll usually consist of some machine-based intervals (rowing, SkiErg, assault bike, running), some light barbell or dumbbell exercises and gymnastics — altogether, it’s around 40-60 minutes worth.
What do you have for breakfast? I don’t normally eat breakfast. First thing in the morning, I’ll have a Puresport Boost CBD Oil and Nootropic Capsules, followed by a NOCCO en route to the gym. My first meal wouldn’t be until around 11:00am and it’s whatever Fresh Fitness Foods have provided for the day. Most days, it would consist of a lean protein, some veggies and a carb source — occasionally they’ll send yoghurt and granola, or even pancakes!
Ryan Pickard: Co-Founder and Head Coach at 12x3 Boxing
What time do you wake up? I have a three-year-old son, so he’s my alarm clock at the moment; but if I were to rise with the alarm, ‘early’ would be 5:00am and ‘late’ would be 6:30am.
What do you listen to? Quiet to gather my thoughts on the way to the gym; then when I arrive, I normally stick some soul on while I prepare the space (Aretha or Marvin, something like that); then I get my action started with Fela Kuti. I’m a bit obsessed with Fela!
Do you do a workout? I don’t get the chance really, as I dedicate my mornings to clients and boxing coaching is very physical. I do get a stretch in, and I sometimes cycle to work.
What do you have for breakfast? Scrambled eggs on toast with (probably) my third cup of tea of the day at about 10:00am. Before that, I’ll grab a banana on the way out of the door, or from the fruit bowl in the gym.
Jay Brown: Head of Trainer Development and Talent Acquisitions at KOBOX
Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images
What time do you wake up? I’m out of the house at 5:00am, so am up by 4.40am and straight in the shower! The first class I instruct at KOBOX Boxing Club starts at 6.15am. Punctuality is key, as I’m motivating people’s day with a POW!
What do you listen to? As soon as my bum hits the car seat, LBC is on. I have to catch up with the world’s affairs and find out if there’s any traffic problems. Then, to get myself in the mood for delivering the KOBOX ‘Fightclub meets Nightclub’ experience, I’ll listen to a live set from some of my friends: either Dj Hotsteppa, the Circle Syndicate or Continental GT. Pumping House and Garage turned up very loud! And if it’s sunny, the roof will be down, too.
Do you do a workout? In the mornings, I’m delivering my trademark ‘Beastmode With Jay’ boxing and conditioning workout at KOBOX, so my personal workout comes much later in the afternoon/evening. I’ve always trained late, and it’s not unusual for me to workout at 1-3:00am in the morning!
What do you have for breakfast? If I get a moment from all the racing about in between classes, breakfast consists of porridge with a banana and a scoop of NUA Vanilla Protein Powder all mixed together. The perfect Macro balance! I pick NUA protein above others, because it has Nothing Unnecessary Added: just like it says on the tin.
Jack Montoya: Personal Trainer at Rumble Gym
What time do you wake up? I wake up between 4.30 and 6.30am, depending on my work schedule.
What do you listen to? If I feel inspired for some extra motivation, and to give further purpose to my day, I listen to Motiversity; or several other YouTube and Spotify speeches I have saved.
Do you do a workout? About three or four times per week, I’ll go for a short 3-5k run in the morning, and follow through with animal flow mobility and strengthening.
What do you have for breakfast? My typical breakfast will include about six eggs, with sautéed spinach and tomatoes — and, depending on the day, I’ll add a cream cheese bagel. On other days, when I feel I need a bit extra, I’ll have a second breakfast of porridge with bananas or berries, a handful of nuts, chia and acai.
Daniel Badu: Personal Trainer at Mindset
What time do you wake up? I’ve always been an early riser! So I’m usually up between 4-4:30am.
What do you listen to? This varies from time to time. I either listen to a podcast (The Mindset Mentor) which gets me fired up for my day, or I read a book to get the mind engaged!
Do you do a workout? I don’t usually work out in the morning; I prefer to train later in the day, as I’m usually busy with clients most mornings. I focus more on getting my step count up in the morning!
What do you have for breakfast? Breakfast varies. I usually don’t like eating breakfast but when I do, I like to keep things quick and simple. If I’m on the go, I usually have a shake packed with protein and oats, or I whip up a bowl of Greek yogurt and granola.
Ben Parsons: Trainer at Sweat IT
What time do you wake up? Usually around 6:00am every weekday; weekends are a little more relaxed.
What do you listen to? My morning routine is pretty short, so nothing when I immediately get up and get ready; but as soon as I’m out on my bike, it’s a podcast every time.
Do you do a workout? I typically teach or have clients every morning; but straight after that, I’ll head straight to the gym or jump in a Sweat IT class. Their challenge Guts & Glory classes are my go to, as they’re brutal and always push you beyond your boundaries.
What do you have for breakfast? I’ve had the same breakfast for the last five years or so. Four eggs with cheese and a green tea as soon as I wake up. Then a vat of overnight protein oats (my special recipe) about an hour later, and a large black coffee. All made the night before! Breakfast of champions.
Luke Bradshaw: Head Trainer of Body Weight Strength at BLOK
What time do you wake up? It varies between 6:00-8:00am. It depends on the time of my first class, and whether one of my favourite yoga teachers at BLOK is teaching beforehand. I also try to factor in when I got to bed the night before, and don’t necessarily force myself up early just to feel healthy. Sleep — and the quality of it — is really important.
What do you listen to? I often listen to podcasts in the morning. I have a few firm favourites: either ‘On Being’ with Krista Tippett or Sam Harris’ ‘Making Sense’.
Do you do a workout? Not always; if I do, though, it’s either Calisthenics or a Dynamic Vinyasa yoga practice. These are the mainstays of how I exercise anyway, so the time of the day doesn’t make too much difference to me — but if it’s early, I take extra care to warm up. And of course I brush the cobwebs off with my cycle to class.
What do you have for breakfast? Usually a Huel shake and a wholemeal bagel with marmite. I love it. The more time I have, the more elaborate the bagel toppings get. My favourite is smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and homemade guacamole with tomatoes, spring onion and avocado.
Dan Peterson: Coach at Fitness First
What time do you wake up? I usually wake up around 5-5.30am on weekdays; I like to enjoy a little lie-in on the weekends and not get out of bed before at least 6:00am. I’m a bit of an early bird — always have been!
What do you listen to? I’ll mostly listen to a podcast that relates to self-improvement, with leading sports people and entrepreneurs; but if I have a particularly busy day, I’d probably listen to anything with a heavy guitar bass to get myself motivated.
Do you do a workout? I mostly train in the afternoon, as I work in the mornings. I like to do time efficient workouts that target the whole body to improve strength and general fitness. I also do Fitness First’s TraX classes two or three times a week. It’s the latest addition to the Fitness First menu: a high intensity, low impact workout. Brilliant for anyone who’s ready to get their fitness up — can’t recommend enough.
What do you have for breakfast? I usually have overnight oats with whey protein, a mixture of dried fruits, chia seeds; and any other wholefoods, like peanut butter! I like to eat food that’s high in protein to help maintain muscle mass. It’s also a clean meal, which helps me to perform at my best and doesn’t make me feel sluggish when I’m constantly moving around.
Seeking more fitness advice? Well, these 8 expert exercises will give you beach-ready abs…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.
Gentlemen's Journal is happy to partner with The Prince’s Trust RISE campaign, which is working to create a network of young adults aged between 21-45, who are passionate about social mobility. You can become a Prince’s Trust Riser by donating just £20 per month to the scheme.