Review and Update: Upgrading My AM Routine

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to clean up my act. After I finished my tri season, I got pretty lax about my schedule, what I was putting in my body, and even what I was putting on my body. Luckily, around the same time I committed to my 21 Day Challenge (update below), Influenster sent me some Origins GinZing products to try!

While I received these products complimentary, opinions are my own.

I’ve always been a fan of Origins skincare. They don’t test on animals and their products don’t have any of the “yucky stuff.” They make a charcoal mask that I swear by, so I was excited to try out some of their other products.

The scrub has this delicious scent that’s great in the morning; however, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday use. I found it to be pretty exfoliating, so I’d recommend using it once a week. (For example after a sweaty run on Monday morning to start the work week refreshed.) The moisturizer is light but hydrating. I tried to use it during the day, but because it doesn’t have SPF, I layered it with sunscreen. I’m a minimalist in the morning, so that didn’t really work for me, but I love it as a nighttime moisturizer.

My favorite product of the three is definitely the eye cream. Maybe I’m just late to the party (I hadn’t previously used eye cream), but this stuff is magic! It’s like concealer that makes your under eyes look healthier instead of hiding those bags. I particularly loved using it post swim. (I mean goggle eyes are a great look for work and everything, but…) The GinZing line gets a thumbs up from me. Get yours at Sephora!

Now, on to the 21 Day Challenge!

First: I did it! I committed to getting up every morning and working out for 21 days straight, and I’m still doing it 21+ days later. Healthy habit achieved!

Second: What did I learn?

Morning workouts are good for my brain.
As it turns out, I have more energy and mental clarity when I exercise in the morning. It could very well be because I’m now going to bed earlier and getting up at the same time every weekday (and within reason on the weekends), but it’s a noticeable difference. I am able to stay focused and resist procrastination in a way I haven’t experienced since graduate school! More than that, when I get home from work – a time when I used to be exhausted from the day – I’ve got more energy to do fun things like experiment in the kitchen or plan my upcoming vacation.

Morning workouts make me more responsible – in the best way.
I have a fairly robust social life. I’m not the life of the party, but I have lots of wonderful friends and I enjoy spending time with them. I was a little bit concerned that by limiting my nights out during the week and leaving on the early side on the weekends (so that I’d be chipper for a morning workout the next day) that I’d be labeled a real party pooper. As it turns out, I am old and everyone pretty much wants to go home on the early side anyway. No one begrudges a 30 something a good night’s sleep. In addition, the one night that I did go hog wild (Happy Birthday Mom!), felt extra special because it wasn’t a regular thing.

Hobbits know what’s up.
Oh man y’all: second breakfast is the KEY. I am someone who is ALWAYS hungry, so introducing an additional breakfast into my extended morning felt like a revelation. When I was waking up at 7:30am, speeding through my morning to get to work on time and eating a sad, single breakfast at 9am, I was STARVING by 11am. Since 11am feels too early to eat lunch, I had gotten in the habit of suffering through until after noon. (Suddenly that mid-morning lack of focus seems to have an obvious culprit.) In any case, when I started the challenge, I also introduced a second breakfast into my life. I eat my first breakfast 30-60 mins after my workout (nuts and berries, avocado toast, english muffin with PB&J); and then I eat a second breakfast around 10:30-11am (typically greek yogurt with granola and honey – I’m a creature of habit). I guess you could reasonably eat two breakfasts if you don’t workout in the morning, but this is how I came to second breakfast, so I’m associating forevermore.

Morning workouts aren’t everything.
This is my experience. My body is different from yours. My schedule is different from yours. My life is different from yours. I have absolutely enjoyed adding a morning workout to my schedule, and will be keeping it around. It’s not for everyone, and frankly, it’s not for every workout. For example, my morning workouts (especially on weekdays) are mostly good for base building and steady state cardio. I am useless at speedwork, hill work, intervals, strength training, weight lifting and HIIT workouts in the morning. Some people can get up and slay at Barry’s Bootcamp at 6:30am. That ain’t me. As a triathlete, I need to incorporate all kinds of workouts into my training, so I will continue to do higher intensity and higher strength workouts in the evenings.  Morning workouts have taken on an almost meditative quality for me; giving me time by myself to swim, run, walk or stretch and prepare for the day ahead. They’re not going to turn me into America’s Next Ninja Warrior, but I do think they make me a healthier, happier person.

Finally, I learned that Instagram stories are a BLAST. I may keep checking in with everyone every morning for fun! Post in the comments if I should be following you on the ‘gram, or if you’ve got some healthy-habit-forming tips to share.

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I’m Aubrie – nonprofit professional / triathlete / adventurer / blogger / currently on a frugal design journey as a new homeowner. Irreverent with good intentions.

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