Food & Fitness

Poll: What does your morning routine look like?

Day Two of the 200 Reps Challenge

I don’t know about all of you, but that first day of 200 reps was definitely challenging. I like it!

My friend Alana says that whenever she really hates an exercise, she knows that that’s the one she should be doing, because it likely means that her muscles are weaker in that part of her body. Because of this, I think it’s best that we do two of my least favourite exercises today: front raises and jumping lunges. Fun stuff!

20 Front Raises (targets the shoulders, particularly the front deltoids)

20 Jumping Lunges (targets the front and the back of the thighs, glutes, and calves)

Repeat this set ten times over the course of the day to complete 200 front raises and 200 jumping lunges!

For the Front Raises:

1. Stand with feet hip width apart, shoulders back, arms at sides, abdominals tucked in. Hold two dumbbells in your hands (I use 8 lbs weights; use what feels comfortable for you).

2. Bend your knees and elbows very slightly. Raise your arms slowly until the dumbbells reach the level of your shoulders or a little bit higher. Slowly return your arms to the starting point. This is one rep.

TIP: Try starting off with a heavier weight for the dumbbells. You can always pause and exchange the weights for something slightly lighter if you find that it’s putting too much strain on your form. I like starting off with doing a few reps with 10 lbs weights, and then moving down to 8 lbs, or even the little 3 lbs (if we’re doing 200 reps here, 10 lbs and even 8 lbs can be a lot). Using different weights also keeps the muscles guessing.

For the Jumping Lunges:

1. Stand tall with abdominals tucked in and shoulders back. Take a giant step forward with your right foot and bend so that your right knee is directly over your right ankle (not over the toes). Your left leg should be stretched back in a long line from your body. Keep your arms bent as though you were running.

2. Spring up and off of the floor, switching legs mid-jump so that you land with your left leg bent in front and your right leg stretched out behind. Centre yourself so that you are steady on your feet. Spring from your feet again and switch so that you are back to the position of right knee bent over right ankle and left leg stretched out behind. This is one rep.

TIP: Make sure to steady yourself between each jump. Otherwise you will fall over. Take my word for it.

Last Month’s Poll

Last month our question was Which inner voice carries the most weight when you’re deciding what to eat? The results are in! Out of a total of 43 voters, 19% most often eat because of emotions, 37% usually listen to what their mind tells them is the logical thing to do, 23% listen to their taste buds, and 21% listen to the inner wisdom of their body to determine their best course of action. It’s interesting how scattered the demographic is. I think that this demonstrates how out of touch we are, in general, with our bodies. And that brings us to…

This Month’s Poll

As I mentioned last month, my nutritionist and I have come to the conclusion that I need to be more in-tune with my body. That’s why I’m trying to listen to that “inner wisdom”, rather than eat because my emotions are clouding my judgment, or because the clock on the wall says it’s time to eat, or because my taste buds want a cookie really badly.

I am a list-maker and a planner at heart. I love sorting out schedules and organizing tasks. So when we agreed that I need to focus on the inner wisdom of my body, I began recording all of my eats in a journal once again. But in the past few days I’ve started doing something else, as well: recording when I do deep breathing and stretching in the morning and evening.

My nutritionist was shocked when I admitted that I didn’t do deep breathing or yoga or a variation of those things every day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them- I do. And it’s not that I don’t have time for them- it’s easy to schedule in just a couple minutes every day for something so little. No, the main reasons why I don’t do that sort of thing is because I a) forget, and b) I grow impatient because even though I know it does my body good, I can’t feel the burn that you get from lifting weights or going for a run.

But, as I said, I have now started to deep breath and stretch every day. In fact, I have a sticky note attached to my mirror, right where my face would be reflecting in it, telling me to do deep breathing and to stretch. So I’ve started doing it.

What fascinates me about this routine, which only takes me a couple minutes to complete, is that if I do it after I’ve had breakfast, I don’t feel the need to go back to the kitchen for more nibblies. On mornings when I don’t work and don’t have classes, I find myself gravitating towards the kitchen for a taste of this and a taste of that. When I do the deep breathing and stretching after breakfast, it’s like a little reminder that I really don’t need any more, and I’m just being greedy. Deep breathing and stretching seems to make it easier to listen to the inner wisdom of my body.

Answer the poll below and elaborate in the comments section! Do you have a routine like this? Do you do deep breathing or stretching? Have you found that it brings you more in touch with your body?

[polldaddy poll=2325719]


  1. Monica

    We must be kindred spirits – I know what you mean about feeling “the burn”. I think that’s why I’m so lazy when it comes to stretching. But now that I’ve been “prescribed” stretching by a physiotherapist, I’m doing it more as an assignment than a nice way to unwind. You make me realize that I could really use an attitude adjustment! Because you’re right – stretching and breathing are NICE relaxing ways to spend time.

  2. liz wx

    Nice one Sagan! I’ve voted for the gym first thing because what I really love is getting up insanely early and going for a run before work. I have to admit it’s even more appealing in the summer. but even in the winter it gets the day off to a cracking start, and I love the peace and clarity of the early morning. But it’s also great appreciating the lie-in on the mornings I don’t do it!

  3. Sagan Morrow

    Monica- It definitely makes a huge difference if you think of it as an “assignment” like that! After all, I likely wouldn’t be doing it either if my nutritionist hadn’t urged me to do so.

    Liz- It’s been way too long since I got up early and did a hardcore workout- but I used to love doing that (early gym classes or early early boot camp). There’s something so appealing about starting off the day with that sort of thing.

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  6. JavaChick

    My first instinct was to answer ‘Roll out of bed. Grab coffee. Rush out door.’ I am not a morning person at all, so I don’t tend to get up and do yoga or deliberately meditate. But when I thought about it I realized that what I like to do is take some time to sit with my coffee – so I suppose I do coffee meditation. Can we make that an option? 🙂

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