The Ultimate Morning Routine

We get an endorphin rush when we see someone presenting us the new patented approach to life-hacking our way to success. It’s just like fad diets. Ever-changing, being reinvented and resold under a new marketing scheme. I respect and believe that we should endeavor to try new techniques and tactics to approach life with. These can be tools for our tool box, and a more successful person than us may have found an easier way to make themselves more effective. What we must refrain from is the constant hopping around and dependence on others telling us what we are doing is correct.

I say this to remind you that what I may point out in this post is good for me. It helps me to get the day going and to be more effective. I have tested it out and determined that this is the method that is best for me. For many of us that is not necessarily the case. I have tried out the recommended morning routines of guys like Tim Ferris and Aubrey Marcus. While I take some things from them, I don’t take everything from them. I would recommend signing up for Tim’s email list on his website to get his morning routine guide (free of charge). Additionally, you can pick up Aubrey Marcus’s book to see his methods, potions and concoctions that can increase your output throughout the day.

John’s Morning Routine


  I try to start each day with a little bit of fitness. Be it a full on crossfit class, a quick run, or just some burpees, I like to do something that will get my heart-rate going and set me up for an early endorphin rush. We choose the attitude we have about our day in the first moments of being awake. I like my first moments to be centered on fitness. I must admit that as of late with a newborn in the home, this isn’t as frequent as it once was, but I am getting back to it. Regardless I am one of those people who can roll out of bed and be working out moments later. It must be a habit I developed in the Marine Corps. Otherwise the rest of my morning routine follows my morning worship in the house of pain, and what follows is the same regardless of whether I went to the gym or not.

Aubrey Marcus’s Hydration Shake

Aubrey Marcus released a book that included this shake in it and it is one of the most awesome things I have ever added to my day. You take the following ingredients, mix them up, and chug it down first thing in the morning. Marcus recommends prepping them into a paste the night before in your shaker bottle.  This way you can just add 12 Oz of water to it right when you wake up. The formula is super simple, but I have noticed a genuine difference in my day after starting it with this.


  • 2 Tsp of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (for me it’s 12 grinds of the salt mill)
  • Juice squeezed from ½ a lemon.
  • 12 Oz water


Add to your favorite shaker bottle and stir or shake (up to you James Bond) until your salt is dissolved. Then you can chug that sucker down and feel the difference. (If you have hypertension or any other disorders, I recommend consulting with a Doctor before adding any salt to your diet)

Caffeine is a must or Is It?

I don’t know if caffeine is a must. I know some people are coffee drinkers and others are teetoalers. My time in Europe made me really enjoy the act of stopping at a café for a quick espresso in the morning.  I don’t think the actual drink you consume in the morning is most important, but I do think the act of having a routine to stimulate the brain and that you can rely upon for structure is.

For me the French-Press with this coffee has always been my favorite morning routine. When I was an infantry officer, myself and a lot of the other officers used to get together with our jet-boils and French-press attachments in the morning to drink our coffee before daytime operations would begin. It was a great way to have a moment of peace before the madness began. When I returned home, I instituted that same routine into my life in the civilian world. I am not saying you need to French press your coffee to enjoy it properly. For me going through the motions of grinding the beans, boiling the water, letting the beans soak, and finally pressing it all down before consuming my first cup is a part of the mentality of starting my day off with a deliberate focus. I think the different smells of the evolution of the coffee from bean, to grind, to drink all really excites me and gets my senses going as well.

The other thing I love about the French press it the view of the pot on my counter. I enjoy knowing that if a friend or loved one comes by I can immediately share a glass with them and brew up more later. If not I can save some for myself for when the morning doldrums set in.


A lot of people are preaching about the benefits meditation these days. I used to think this was the dumbest thing in the world. When I was in the Marine Corps I frequently got up and walked around in nature a whole hell of a lot. So I didn’t understand why people needed a deliberate reset for their day. I was just being absent-minded and thought everyone else was being an idiot. After transitioning out of uniform, I immediately understood why it was good to have 10-15 minutes 1-2 times a day to turn the brain off and reset.

I do meditate now, and I find it to be one of the best things I can do for myself now a days. As a matter of fact I’m hitting a 15 minute session right after I finish writing this post. If I can recommend the Oak Rise App, it is what has made this act so easy for me. If you are one of those people who legitimately cannot meditate that is ok. I recommend testing out some methods for walking meditations. Those are generally best for those people with the most over active minds.

Email, Calendar, Bullshit.

I always check email, my calendar, and bullshit immediately after getting into work. Everything doesn’t always get an immediate response, but everything is reviewed and assessed for emergencies. The calendar review is just prep me for what may lie ahead. I am strongly against being a fire killer. I spent plenty of my life in a reactive environment. If I work for a person or organization who approaches everything as though the sky is falling, I am the first to turn a blind eye to their self-inflicted chaos. Every once in a great while something happens that actually is a fire. At which point I do sound the Alarm and I am at least ready to spend the entire day shifting things around to deal with it.

Now the bullshit. I purposely spend the last 20 minutes of my personal time before my day’s first meeting with the team, bullshitting with one my best friends. The same guy who was the muse for last week’s post. Sometimes he is too busy and other times I get side tracked. For me, it’s somewhat cathartic to take a moment every day to shoot the breeze, and talk about absurd things going on in the world. I also choose to speak with him every day because he gets me pretty hyped and I like the way he approaches the world. It’s a nice daily stimulator for my mind.

You make the call

I think ultimately you need to do what is best for you and assess the impact it has on your day. That doesn’t mean refrain from pushing past comfort zones. If anything pushing the edge on comfort is one of the best possible things you can do for yourself. I just don’t want people to think they need to follow one routine or another to know they are doing things right. If anything, you may need to change your routine frequently. What works at one time may not work at another. Comment or email us at to let us know what routine works best for you.

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About the Author

John McCarthy is a Father, Son, Husband and former Marine Infantry Officer. He serves his local community and just wants to push people to be better humans. Check out the Tough Talk Podcast and other writings on this website to learn more.

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