Meditating for 10 minutes is the most important part of Holly’s morning.
The first hour after you wake up can set the tone for the rest of the day. Little things like accidentally shattering your oatmeal bowl on the floor or stepping in your cat’s water dish with fresh socks can sour your morning and throw off your energy. But the opposite is also true: Building a positive, purposeful morning routine may help you thrive throughout the rest of your day.
Nike Master Trainer Holly Rilinger uses the morning to set the foundation for the rigorous workouts and training sessions packed into her day. “The way I wake up and the way I approach my day with my morning is going to dictate the kind of day I have,” says Rilinger.
Known for both intense yet motivational workouts, Rilinger is a seasoned veteran in the fitness world and a former professional basketball player. Her recently published book LIFTED focuses on strengthening the mind and spirit to enhance the gains you make in the gym.
Leading classes that inspires others to stick with it to the end takes effort: “I need to inspire myself first,” says Rilinger. “I need to get myself grounded and ready to go.”
Here are the critical elements of Rilinger’s morning routine for a successful, fulfilling day:
1. Meditate first thing
It’s easy to be intimidated by meditation and think of it as something you have to do barefoot on the floor for 45 minutes, but meditation can be as simple as setting aside five or 10 minutes. Find out how Rilinger squeezes meditation into her schedule here.
“[Meditating] creates space and a foundation of calmness that carries out through my whole day,” says Rilinger. But she’ll be the first to admit she’s not perfect: There are definitely days she slips up and falls prey to the lure of checking her Instagram. (Ahh, motivational wellness gurus: They’re just like us.)
Rilinger also prioritizes her sleep. “I’m a solid seven-to-eight-hours-a-night sleeper, and if I don’t get that much sleep, I’m not going to be ready for my day.” Getting enough sleep has benefits beyond improving your mood or energy levels. (Here’s how sleep affects your workouts, how sleep helps reduce stress, and how sleep aids in your body’s everyday functions. Oh, and here’s how much sleep experts recommend.)
2. Stay away from your phone
It’s tempting to check your notifications in the morning, but Rilinger wants to break that habit, which she says often “sets the tone for a hectic day.” Instead, she skips the social media and heads to her coffee machine.
3. Dress the part
A key part of Rilinger’s morning: selecting out her workout swag for the day from a closet that would make any gym-goer drool with envy. (Think rows and rows of leggings, tanks, and shoes in bold and flashy colors.)
4. Split breakfast into two meals
Rilinger doesn’t like to lead her group fitness classes on a full stomach, so she typically eats a light breakfast before her workouts, like coconut yogurt with berries and granola. (Here are more tips from Rilinger for the best pre- and post-workout snacks.) Then, after one or two high-intensity classes, a bigger breakfast is in order. “My go-to meal right after I work out is a smoothie, and I typically use some sort of green—a lot of times kale—ice, almond milk, some type of protein powder [like collagen], and then I usually add one fruit, like a banana or strawberries,” says Rilinger.
5. Pick the perfect music
During her first mini breakfast, Rilinger uses that nosh time to tweak her playlists for her day’s workout sessions. “Playlisting,” as she calls it, is such an important thing for any group fitness instructor. “Music to me drives a good class,” says Rilinger. “Music to me drives a good life.” (No wonder her NYC-based classes are so highly coveted.) Not in NYC? You can work out with Rilinger at home. Here are four moves for stronger arms and a six-minute abs workout.
“As an athlete, my rituals got me ready to play my game,” says Rilinger. “And now as a trainer, my ritual grounds me and gets me ready for my day.”
Coach, trainer, and 10-year veteran of the fitness world, Holly Rilinger is known as one of the most inspiring motivational trainers in the game.
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My morning is everything because it sets
the standard for the rest of my day.
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So the way I wake up and
the way I approach
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my day with my morning is going to
dictate the kind of day I have.
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I live in New York City.
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I walk out that door and I'm set into my
day to inspire people, to motivate people,
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to sweat with people.
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So I need to inspire myself first and
get myself grounded and ready to go.
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So my intention is to meditate
every single morning.
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Or there days when I head out the door and
I didn't get it done and
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I got stuck in my Instagram, yes.
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But in a perfect world,
I wake everyday and
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I meditate ten minutes
before I head out the door.
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It creates space and a foundation of
calmness that carries out through my whole
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I'm not talking 30 minutes of meditation.
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I sit down ten minutes every morning and
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First of all, it's really important for
me to get enough sleep.
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I'm a solid seven to eight
hours a night sleeper.
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And if I don't get that much sleep
I'm not gonna be ready for my day.
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So I make sure that I get that
seven to eight hours, the sleeping.
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And I'm trying to kind of break
the habit of reaching for my phone.
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It's a tough one but I feel like if
I open my eyes and I jump right into
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Instagram and my emails it just sets
the tone for like a hectic day.
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So I have gotten to where I try to
put the phone away, I get up and
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I head to my coffee machine and
I get my coffee started.
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My next thing is picking out my outfit for
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I really believe that if you look good,
you're going to feel good and
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if you feel good,
you're going to perform well.
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And so I take a lot of care
in picking out my outfits.
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I'm not somebody that likes to workout
with a lot of food in my stomach so
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I'll do something like berries
I like coconut yogurt and
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some grain free granola and
that's really about it.
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Playlisting is like a second job and
you ask any group fitness instructor and
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they're gonna tell you the same thing.
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I mean music to mean drives a good class.
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Music to me drives a good life.
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So my bigger meal is Is going
to be after I work out.
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That's when I'm starving.
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I've usually had at least one class and
perhaps two classes under my belt and
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my go to meal right after
I work out is a smoothie.
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And I typically use some sort of green.
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A lot of greens.
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Kale, ice, almond milk,
some type of protein powder.
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Right now I'm really big
into collegian protein.
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And then I usually add one fruit.
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Like a banana or a strawberry,
something like that.
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And that's that nourishing meal
that I get right after my workouts.
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My morning ritual is
really important to me.
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As an athlete, my rituals got me ready
to play my game and now as a trainer,
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my ritual grounds me and
gets me ready for my day.
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