My Morning Ritual
Nutritional advice can be overwhelming. With a ton of information flying at you from every direction, often contradictory, it’s no wonder it’s generally the last thing my clients really want to address. For that (and other) reasons, I prefer to find simple habits that are easy to implement, have huge value and impact, and overtime can build INTO a larger nutritional picture simply by crowding out the less savory options. Long-term success starts by changing small things first – baby steps. Let’s talk about one.
Here’s an easy ritual that packs a powerful nutritional punch, with many health benefits, which you can very quickly turn into a habit you love. Lemon juice, sea salt, and water. First thing in the morning – before you do or consume anything else.
Whether you consider yourself a morning person or not, we are typically in a state of high(er) self-control after we wake up and before we jump into the fray. This makes the morning a great time to bring some awareness (mindfulness) around our body, what it needs, and to start each day on the right path.
I have been following this simple protocol for years, and it’s become something I look forward to every morning.
Why Lemon Juice and Sea Salt?
Fresh Lemon (and lime) juice is a nutritional powerhouse. Containing more vitamin C than oranges, they also are high potassium and anti-oxidants, both of which are beneficial for overall health and combatting the stress of daily endeavors.
Additionally, lemon and lime juice acids are chemically similar to hydrochloric acid (HCl) which is the primary component of gastric (stomach) acid. This means they can aid digestion, and can even help the stomach produce more HCl. The benefit here is improved nutrient and vitamin absorption, as well as the destruction of food-borne pathogens.
Sea salt, specifically colorful salts like Pink Himalayan (my favorite), provide additional sodium and a dose of minerals that contribute to adrenal health, liver detoxification, hormonal balance, hydration, and more. They can also aid in the production of stomach acids in combination with the lemon/lime juice, further improving digestion, absorption, and protection.
Why First Thing?
Making this drink the first thing you do in the morning does a few things for us:
This is a simple one. Mix the juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon or lime with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of colorful sea salt in a full glass of ROOM TEMP. water. Drink and enjoy. Avoid cold water first thing in the morning as it can shock your system which restricts digestion.
I recommend starting with 1/2 lemon and 1/4 tsp. of sea salt until you get used to the taste. I find it really enjoyable, but your mileage may vary.
Add this simple ritual to your day for the next few months, and see how you feel! Does it help you kick-start your day? Do you enjoy or tolerate the drink or the process? Do you notice any changes in your energy levels throughout the day? I’d love to hear your experiences!
Coach Nick Kirkes
The Most Comfortable Performance Enhancer.
Do you ever receive a piece of advice that sticks with you for all time? Here’s one of mine: “Always invest in a great bed and a great pair of shoes because when you’re not in one, you’re in the other.” Too true. As a CrossFitter, you probably have the shoes covered; you rock the latest pair of Nanos, or you pause class to change into your lifters right before the WOD. But let’s talk about the other investment—your sleep.
Secondary only to nutrition, sleep is a performance enhancer that can bring big rewards.
In his article entitled “Sleeping for Performance,” Martin Rawls-Meehan states that “Exercise, nutrition and sleep make a virtuous circle comprising the three essential elements of fitness” http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_Sleep_RawlsMeehan2.pdf. Rawls-Meehan points to research evidence suggesting that subjects who sleep ten hours 1) have improvements in sleep, strength, agility, and reaction time and 2) retain muscle memory for movements at a higher rate. It benefits both brawn and brain.
Among performance benefits, why not also enjoy your bed longer? Heck, that’s enough to get me to improve my sleeping habits. So how do we achieve this? I’ll address this two ways: practice and products.
Let’s first look at practice. Practical advice about sleep comes in many forms. Recalling from both Rawls-Meehan’s article and personal experience, here are my top pieces of advice for improving your sleep practices:
Never discount what sleep does for your performance in the gym, at work, and at home. Nutrition helps you with energy production, but sleep regenerates the production cycle. If you’re looking for a good New Year’s Resolution or simply a better habit in life, consider what small changes you can make to impact 7-9 hours of your every day. Adding magnesium to your micronutrient supplements is a ten-second act that improves
your 7-9 hours of sleep; moving your phone charger across this room is temporary annoyance that yields successful sleeping and waking patterns. Follow the challenge to see how your sleep can affect your performance!
Challenge: For 21 days, record a scale of 1-10 about your energy level. 1 is “exhausted,” and ten is “energized.” Record this scale in your journal for three periods:
1) during your workout, 2) during your workday, and 3) during your time at home.
Days 1-7, don’t change anything about your current sleep patterns. Days 8-14, add a practice or products change above, but only one! Days 15-21, add a second practice or products change above. On day 22, do a final journal entry about what you observed from the challenge! Post your journal comments here for others to see.
“Sleeping for Performance.” Martin Rawls-Meehan. The CrossFit Journal. Link:
Coach Josh Womack