“Night Mike always has well-intentioned plans for Morning Mike to tackle. Morning Mike thinks Night Mike is an overzealous ass hole. And when it comes time to actually carry out these plans, Morning Mike is in charge, and Morning Mike is much more interested in sleeping than engaging in a physically or mentally stimulating activity.”
This is how a friend of mine (his name is Hank) described the on-going battle between his end-of-day self and start-of-day self. I can empathize with Hank. In my experience, one’s end-of-day self is drawn to planning a productive day for his start-of-day self to embark upon the following morning. But one’s start-of-day self is really fucking comfortable in bed and is drawn to delaying the aforementioned plans. So what is one to do? Who’s right – Morning Mike or Night Mike? On one hand, having a peaceful morning in which one can take as much time as one pleases carries value (the magnitude of which depends on who you ask), on the other hand, getting one’s lazy ass out of bed and going to the gym also carries value. For Lifestyle Design Experiment #5, Mark’s going to give the later a go!
My plan is to immediately start my day with extended physical activity. By immediately, I mean it comes before everything other than brushing my teeth (yes, it even trumps getting dressed) and extended physical activity includes weight lifting, running, and yoga. I’m going to do this five days a week for a month.
- Higher intensity training*
Because weight lifting, running, and yoga are part of my current routine, I’m not changing the type of training I’m doing. I am, however, hoping that doing these first thing in the morning enhances the physical affects the exercises have on me (read: I hope I get yoked out of my skull). There is research that suggests exercise intensity increases the closer to waking the exercise is performed.
2. No excuse for missing a session
A subtle benefit to training right after waking is that nothing can pop up and become a conflict. Mind you, I’ve got some friends that are filthy scumbags, but even they won’t pressure me into meeting them at a bar or crack-house at six in the morning. So if Morning Mark simply can avoid being a coward, these sessions are guaranteed to happen.
3. Boosts energy and creative process
Physical activity gives me an energy boost that caffeine can only dream of. There is research that supports this, but even if their wasn’t, I know this to be a fact for my body and my mind. In my current state, I’m typically training at six or seven in the evening, and while I still appreciate the associated energy boost, it isn’t as useful at 8PM as it will be at 8AM. Along with that energy boost, physical activity allows for more improved mental focus and creative thinking in ensuing activities.
4. Looking-glass self
The looking-glass self is a concept in psychology that some nerd came up with that states humans act in a manner that they think others expect them to act. That is, we see ourselves through the eyes of other people. So I’m thinking, only dudes who are ripped out of their minds train at the crack of dawn. If I start training at the crack of dawn, meat-heads will mistake me as one of their own, human psychology kicks in, I consider myself one of them, and just like that, my muscles get big and greasy and the sleeves fall off of my shirts. What can I say? It’s science.
5. More hours to be productive
By training in the morning, I’m setting up my evenings to be WIDE OPEN. I’m not currently using the time in the morning to do anything other than capture another few minutes of shitty sleep – I’m one of those lunatics who sets an alarm for an hour before I actually get up, and snooze it twelve times. So I’m essentially replacing something non-value added (shitty-ass sleep) with an open evening in which the possibilities of where I can spend my time are endless:
- Cook better dinners
- Do more reading and writing
- Start a business
- Make new friends
- Reconnect with current friends
- Try new bars or restaurants
- Plant a garden
- Do more physical activity?!
Getting to it
I conveniently picked a warm weather month to do this experiment. I’m sure as hell not going to be waking up an hour early in January.
Well, I’m sufficiently excited to get this thing kicked off! I’ll let you guys known how I feel about it in a month or so. Oh, and if you have any suggestions for a future experiment you’d like me to take a whack at, I’d love to hear it!
*Fitness Czar Pavel Tsatsouline does not like the term “workout” – he prefers to use “training” in its place. Pavel is the ultimate badass so I have chosen to adopt his nomenclature in this article and maybe even my life.