The patterns you have right now—what you eat, how much downtime you take, how much alcohol you drink—might be serving you well. They also might be leaving you tired, hungry, overweight, and frustrated. How do you know? Live the experiment. After much trial and error, I figured out the right morning routine to get the body I want, the energy I need, and the clarity and focus I depend on to be a good doctor, wife, mother, CEO, and friend.
This isn’t the perfect way to start your day, but it is the perfect way for me to start mine. The exciting thing about crafting your own morning routine is learning what works best for you.
Here’s what my typical weekday morning looks like now.
Wake up. Put on yoga gear or my favorite sweatpants. Walk our dogs Wallis and Marley down the street and pick up a double shot of organic espresso on the way. Sometimes with oat milk, sometimes black. Take a moment without my phone to meditate while the dogs play in the dog park and I look out at the water from Brooklyn at the Statue of Liberty.
In large quantities, coffee can be bad—it’s a stimulant, spikes cortisol , and can mess with blood sugar. It also tends to be a dirty crop if not bought organic and fair trade. But part of my heart lives in Rome, so sorry, not sorry.
I opt for espresso over drip coffee because it has less caffeine and a smoother buzz. The antioxidants and a small amount of caffeine have been shown to have some limited positive impact on brain health, so I don’t beat myself up about this indulgence.
Back home, where my son is usually just waking up. Time to get him dressed, make him breakfast (he starts with a banana and works his way up to eggs or gluten -free avocado toast) and play time. He loves books so we usually do a lot of reading and cooking at the same time.
If I have time before morning meetings and my husband can take over with our son for a bit, I head to a 1 hour yoga class at Kula Yoga (where Parsley members get discounted classes!) or Sky Ting Yoga. I’m finding lately that if I don’t get my yoga or workout done in the morning it’s harder and harder to fit it in.
Sweating first thing makes me feel happy, alive, and accomplished even though my old habit was to work out in the evening. I had to adapt and I did.
On mornings when I’m not working out I’m heading straight into meetings, or diving into writing—my brain is on fire in the mornings and it’s when I’m most productive.
In this case I’ll stretch, practice handstands, or do a short weight training session in the evening to wake up my body. If I’m short on time I’ll hula hoop for 5 minutes—not kidding.
Blend a smoothie made with Parsley Health Rebuild Protein . With 26 grams of vegan protein optimized with branch-chain aminos to match the protein power of lean beef, and a complete multivitamin built in, my shake keeps me full and focused until lunch. Our formula has also been boosted with antioxidants and omega 3s, and it’s now sugar-free. I add ¼ cup of frozen organic blueberries, unsweetened coconut milk, and a dash of cinnamon in the winter. I’m addicted to my morning smoothie and when I travel I start missing it after a few days.
Shower, get ready, and head to the office. Lately I’m listening to podcasts while I grab the subway into the city. My favorites are How I Built This, Tim Ferris, Luke Storey’s the LifeStylist, and my friend Dave Gandelman’s podcast called Energy Matters about how we can energetically shift our patterns and perspective. I’m usually getting ahead of my emails while I listen—probably my greatest strength and greatest weakness is my profound ability to multitask.
Arrive at work feeling energized, calm and ready to take on my day of patients, meetings, interviews, and emails.
Want to revamp your morning routine? Start with one small change and see how it impacts your day in a big way.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.