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The 4.10am Club // Your new favourite morning routine with Felicity Cohen


The 4.10am Club // Your new favourite morning routine with Felicity Cohen

Felicity Cohen  0:00  

Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my wellness warriors podcast. for over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping 1000s of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health related complications through surgical intervention, and holistic managed care. My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present and future, who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it. 


Today, I thought I’d do something a little bit different. I’d love to share with you a little bit about why it’s so important to have a really solid morning routine. And what’s important to me and how having a morning routine has really changed my life. One of the things that I think is so important about a morning routine is setting yourself up for success for the day. 

And how you actually approach what you do first thing in the morning really does dictate the rest of the day’s outcomes for you. 


So for me personally, one of the things that I noticed when I first started weight loss solutions in Australia and working in my business well over 21 years ago, is my first year in business, I felt like I just spent my life working and going home to two young children. So at that stage, my kids were really young. And I just felt all I was doing was sitting behind a desk and I just wasn’t getting enough movement in my life. And I didn’t feel good physically, I just wasn’t feeling great. And so at that point in my life, I decided to start working on doing some exercise. And I worked with a personal trainer. And I started to see the benefits of movement, of exercising and just setting myself up for the day. 


And then from that moment onwards, the changes that I saw in myself in terms of my own productivity, how I felt about myself, and so many things just began to change. For me, it’s really fascinating when you’re looking at morning routines and how to build that foundation of habit and what’s going to be right for you personally, what works for you, what works for your family, and what sets you up to be your best self. And there’s so many different things out there. And I became aware of the 5am Club. And that one is so interesting, because apparently it became quite controversial, for many different reasons. For some people, they felt quite isolated and out of touch or not able to actually identify or get engaged to that kind of whole concept. And they found it really foreign. And maybe even saw it as being a bit cult-like that people who got up at 5am, to go and exercise that they were something that was something maybe a bit wrong with them. And it’s really not like that at all. And I actually liked the concept of building a community around what that looks like. 


There’s a fantastic book that I’ve read a little bit of, and it’s all about “the morning miracle”. And I love the title. And there’s a whole community online as well that you can access just to talk about what that looks like and how people have changed their whole life scenario, literally from reading and one book. In “the morning miracle”, one of the things that people actually change about their lifestyle is setting an alarm an hour earlier in the morning, just so that they can completely change how they set themselves up for success for the day. And I’ve noted the morning miracle, that many people have used that book to look at healthy eating, exercising, changing their mental health, everything changes when you actually change that. 


When do I set my alarm? When do I get out of bed in the morning? And what am I going to do before I actually start my day – those things are life transforming. There are so many different aspects to my morning routine, but I’m really structured, I’m quite disciplined and focused on making sure that I do get the best out of every day. So a few times a week, I have my alarm set for 10 past four in the morning. And I know that sounds crazy. But without that my life just doesn’t function to the same capacity. And I don’t feel great. But I know even on those days when I don’t feel good. And I don’t want to get out of bed because it’s too cold. Or maybe there might be a little bit of rain outside who knows what’s going on out there. You can think of so many different excuses not to get out of bed in the morning. But what if you actually do what’s going to change? And how are you going to feel? 


So I get up at 10 past four in the morning on the days that I jog with a running club. And I drive to where we run from, and go for my run whatever is on the program, time for coffee time to get myself set up for the day. Some of the things that I really gained from being part of a running club. First of all the motivation that comes from being in a community and running with other people without others. I just don’t think I’d do it.


Felicity Cohen 5:00  

And what I get out of that is just it’s immeasurable. I’m outdoors. First of all, getting outside, I think is so important. And it doesn’t really matter whether you’re someone who likes to run, or walk, or jog or just be in nature. Getting outside, having fresh air is just such great medicine & therapy for the mind, for the heart for the soul, and it’s just of immense value. And it’s really changed my life. And I think just being part of that community as well, I love being part of a running club that has this great heart and soul. Everybody loves it, because they all love running. And that’s the common denominator doesn’t matter what you’re doing for the rest of the day, or where you’re going or where you’re heading off to, we all have different stories to share. And it’s a little bit like, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what we discussed when we’re on the running track, and we’re going for a jog, that’s just who we are, and what we what we share. 


And it might be stories about challenges at work, it could be stories about challenges at home with kids, doesn’t matter what it is. So it’s really cathartic as well. So I just think that has been so beneficial. And I really do love it. I also set myself goals for running. So when you’re part of a community running club, or you’re getting involved in something like that, you might want to set yourself a goal around maybe an event, you know, what am I going to start with, I could do a 5k Fun Run, for example, or maybe look at improving my time at a parkrun event, or whatever that looks like, you know, you don’t have to be a super runner and do a 10k, a half marathon or a full marathon to get the benefits. But just allowing yourself to experiencing that can be really life changing. So. So that’s what happens to me on the day that I get up on at 4.10am in the morning to go and be part of my Run Club. And I just would not change that for the world. I really love it. In fact, I really think about if I move somewhere else, how would I replace that because it really has been such a life changing experience for me. 


And then on the days that I’m not running, I do actually train in my own home gym. And so I’ve put a gym in my garage. And that’s probably one of my legacies to the beautiful pandemic that we’ve all lived in survived through. Gyms were shut down. So many people couldn’t go to a gym, well, what do you do? How do you exercise and still maintain your physical fitness and physical health and well being. And so what I did was, I bought a whole lot of secondhand equipment, and started to slowly set up a gym in my own garage. And I absolutely love that too. And I love it for so many different things. I love working on strength, and you know, flexibility and everything that’s involved in maintaining good physical health. But I’d also had a back injury that I’d had treated. And one of the reasons that doing weight training and strength work has become so important for me was just really maintaining good health overall, running without strength training can be quite detrimental, especially when you get to a certain age.


Felicity Cohen 8:08  

So really looking after my skeletal health, muscular, you know, your muscular fitness and everything that’s involved in your whole physical well being, it was really important for me to start doing strength training, just so I could actually have no pain. And so it really has changed my life. From that perspective, it wasn’t so much about being a gym junkie, or loving weight training, it was about so many other benefits. And you know, as you age, it’s so important to think about things like osteoporosis, all these other conditions that can become problematic if we’re not looking after our bone density. And that might be just walking, but we know that weight training and weight bearing type of exercise is so beneficial. So the benefits are untold. So apart from that when I’m in the gym, right now, I’m lucky enough to train with my son, who is 24 and my daughter’s fiance who’s close to 30. And that is time that I just absolutely would not replace for the world. And we work out with a personal trainer who is super strict on us. She’s absolutely fantastic. And we love her, “The Fit Ginger”, we can’t get enough of her. And so, you know, we work a lot on technique. And that’s so important to us as well. Really good solid technique, having fun in the gym, and feeling great to start the day. So, for me, the morning routine always starts with some kind of physical activity or movement.


Felicity Cohen 9:43  

Things that you can incorporate that if you’re not into the gym and you’re not into running, it can be as simple as going for a walk. And I love that concept also of forest bathing. What does forest bathing look like? Why is that something that we can actually go out and do and that might just be something like two


Felicity Cohen  10:00  

Walk ten minutes in nature, going for a walk, getting out seeing some leaves and trees and fresh air. That is also something that for just setting yourself up for the day can change your whole mental approach to your mental attitude, and your physical well being before you even start the day, clarity of mind, having that mental clarity, I think is so valuable. And knowing that you feel great. So it’s all about how you feel within yourself. It’s your self esteem. And then we get to productivity. And I know that on the days when I’m exercising, that my day is just going to cope, function flow, and just be better. And I’ll get more out of it. So for me as a CEO and business, I’m running multiple businesses, I’ve got a big team, and a business that’s ever changing, ever growing, and a culture and an environment and patient demands and needs that are always changing. So if I’m not at my physical peak, and I’m not looking after my physical, my mental health, then how do I actually manage to do my best in my job every day? And maybe those are questions that you can ask yourself as well. Think about what are the demands of your own personal schedule every day? And what are you trying to fit in? And how can you cope better with that. So reducing stress, clearly, anything that I do in terms of getting out there, and exercising is the best form of stress relief that I could possibly have. And so that’s all part of being set up for success for the day, coping better, and feeling good, it puts a smile on my face, you know, like that, to me, that is the critical thing. And having that really good outlook on that morning schedule or morning routine and how I set myself up for the day is completely life changing, personally in business, and in everything else that flows beyond that. So I’m such a believer in having a really strong foundation for a morning routine, and what evolves from that. 


And beyond exercising, and having a really good attitude towards managing your physical health and looking at the benefits from a mental health perspective as well. What about how you now nourish your body. So how you nourish your body is also super important to your health and well being and how you function every single day. First of all, drinking plenty of water while you’re exercising, and making sure that you’re stopping and having frequent just even mouthfuls of water, setting yourself up from that point of view and drinking a lot of fluids, it’s so valuable to how you function as well, but also how you nourish your body from the inside out. 


And I think when you are physically active, there’s something that just clicks that you actually want to eat better, and look after yourself and fuel your body. So learning that those two things go hand in hand. And I remember you know, there’s an old adage that, you know, abs are made in the kitchen. Well, that’s actually true. It doesn’t necessarily matter how much exercise you do, but what it is that you’re fueling your body with. And we’re all surrounded by so much information. We live in an age where information on everything is just so overwhelming. How do we sort through it and work out what’s going to work for us. And that goes for pretty much absolutely everything that we deal with in a day, right? So choosing good food to nourish yourself, that’s also going to be super, super important for getting out and having a great productive day. There are so many people who don’t even eat breakfast. It astounds me how many people don’t take time to look after themselves. Because of that concept of being I’m too busy. And I don’t think anyone should be too busy to look after themselves. Because if you don’t look after yourself, now, you’re going to find that time is going to fly so fast, you wake up one morning and just wonder what on earth has hit you.


Felicity Cohen  13:59  

So setting yourself up for success is planning to succeed. And when it comes to diet and nutrition and fueling your body that’s also super valuable and really important. If you can get your exercise done before work, because who knows what’s going to happen later on in the day, one of the children might get sick and you’ll get a phone call from the school or work might run late, you know, so you’re going to be working overtime and then oh my goodness, I’ve run out of time and I haven’t done any groceries and I’ve got to go and cook dinner for the family. So the days snowball and that’s why I think it’s so important to set that morning routine, set your alarm early and you will thank yourself for the rest of your life. So when it comes to good nutrition and diet and planning to make sure that you are getting really good value out of your nutrition, planning for success number one, shopping well, using time on the weekend to prepare in advance especially if you know the week ahead is going to be busy and you’re not going to have time to cook and to prepare and to plan and pack food.


Felicity Cohen  15:06  

And I’ve often been that person who’s looked at all these Instagramers and influencers who post their meal prep Sunday and thought, oh my god, I’m never going to be able to do that, that just looks like it’s so complicated. And it takes so much time, how on earth am I going to fit that into my life, it looks actually really boring. And I don’t want to do that.


Felicity Cohen  15:29  

But one of the things that’s so valuable about that is that, once it’s done, the rest of your week is going to flow so much better. And I love having a green smoothie in the morning, it’s one of my favourite things to have. And I’ve got a really great smoothie recipe that has lots of green veggies in it like spinach, or kale. And kale is a vegetable that I actually don’t enjoy eating. But I know it’s one of those things, it’s going to be really good for me if I throw it into a smoothie, and it might have half a banana or a cup of mango, I put can put some chia seeds in there, some hemp seeds for some, which is a low, you know, protein source and low in fat. I might also add some coconut water, all sorts of different things like that happy to share my smoothie recipe for those who want it.


Felicity Cohen  16:19  

That’s something that’s so easy to prepare and take on the go. And sometimes I might not even have breakfast until I get to work, but it’s packed and it’s ready, and it’s healthy. So those are some of the things that I put into my morning routine. And then you know, there’s all the other things that have to take place as well. So yeah, just fitting it all in. It’s so important. And I really encourage anyone listening to this, just try with maybe setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier, first, do that first, don’t look at this as something that oh my god, I’m never going to be able to change my life and fit all of that in, it just sounds impossible. Start with small steps. So if you can set your alarm 20 to 30 minutes earlier, get your exercise gear out the night before, that’s always a key thing for me, if I haven’t got my exercise clothes out the night before in advance, and have everything ready, then I’m actually not committed. So that’s really important. It tells me that I’ve already made that commitment, the clothes are out, I’m ready to go. And maybe start with just a 20 minute walk. One of the other things I also love about getting up and going for a walk, or taking that time in the morning is listening to a podcast, I actually found that when I started to do a little bit more exercise, and I was throwing in some more walks here and there, that listening to podcasts was also so therapeutic. It could have been something that I found relaxing or inspiring or even educational. So taking that timeout can have so many Multi Purpose benefits, you’re getting the movement, you’re getting the exercise, you feeling really good, you’re getting fresh air, but maybe combine that with listening to a podcast as well. So the benefits of a morning routine are so multifactorial, firstly, physical health and well being, you’re going to feel great, you’re going to feel more energized. And it’s interesting to note that exercise actually makes you feel like you have more energy, it doesn’t take it away from you. So most people think I don’t have the energy, how am I going to do that, it gives you more energy, allow yourself to feel what that’s like, set your alarm early. That is one thing that I would encourage everybody to do. Because it will be a total life changing moment for you that will transform your life.


Felicity Cohen 18:36  

spiritual and emotional health and well being that comes from getting up and taking that time out for yourself. And it might also be a little bit of me time. So if you’re in a relationship where you’ve got young children, you have a husband or a spouse or partner, maybe you could actually negotiate sharing that morning routine, rather than saying, Oh, I can’t do that, because my husband needs or my wife that or my partner this, find a common ground so that you can share that opportunity. So if you can’t do it every day, negotiate a solution where it works for both parties, and still manages time for small children beget children, whatever that looks like for you. But there’s always a way my absolute belief is that there is a way to make this happen for you. And anybody can do this. It’s just a matter of making that commitment to yourself.


Felicity Cohen 19:30  

So physical health, your mental health is going to be better. Everything flows from there, your productivity is going to be better no matter what profession you’re in, no matter what you do, you’re going to actually


Felicity Cohen  19:43  

just have a better day, more clarity of thought, less sick days probably and better outcomes in life in general. So that’s what a morning routine really gives you. It sets you up and it also does trigger that desire to eat healthier foods.


Felicity Cohen  20:00  


To end to make better choices for yourself. So if we can just break it down into a few things to give you a chance to make a start, if this is not your pattern of behavior, and you’ve never done it before, and the things that everybody else on the planet who sets their alarm at the 5am, or for 10am, or, you know, it’s part of that whole big morning miracle or 5am, club, club mentality, and you think I could never do that, I guarantee that you can. And I guarantee that you will feel great if you actually give yourself a chance. So step one, set your alarm, do that, first, make sure you’ve got good exercise gear, and make sure you get it out the night before. So we plan to succeed. That’s the key plan to succeed, set your alarm, get you close out, find something that you like to do, choose whatever you want to do, but just make that commitment to yourself. And then also meal prepping as well, I think is a really good thing to do. Shop in advance so that you’ve got the resources and the suppliers to provide for yourself a really healthy meal. And that, in turn, will have ongoing impact on all of those around you, whether it’s your family, your friends, your colleagues, they’ll all start to see what you’re doing. So it’s really interesting to see that this can actually snowball, and have multiple effects on others as well. So I really encourage all of you to get behind changing your morning routine if you don’t have one. And if you’ve got questions, I’m more than happy to answer anytime and I’d love to share my smoothie recipe as well.


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