My Morning Routine For Success: A CEO and Mom’s 5-Step Plan for a Purposeful Day

Steaming hot coffee being poured into a white coffee cup sitting on a tray.

Before I started Physique 57, I didn’t give much thought to creating a morning routine for success. My days on Wall Street started something like this: wake up, press the snooze button, roll out of bed, and then spend way too much time primping and preening. Finally, I’d go about the morning prioritizing whatever I deemed easiest to do. I’d ease into the day.

Looking back, I can’t believe how little effort I gave to self-care before I ran off to give the universe my very best. Once I launched Physique 57, I needed to develop into a fitness industry leader, sharpen my mind, kick productivity into high gear, and return home with full-blown energy to shower my three children with motherly love. Needless to say, I had to rethink my time allocation. I quickly realized that the solitude and quick pace of my mornings were the most critical part of the day for me to master. Now I cherish every minute of my morning routine.

By morning routine, I mean how I program the hours between 6 am and 10 am. When I follow this schedule, I can guarantee a day filled with high performance, motivation, accomplishments, meaning, and calm. Here are my current morning self-care tips for optimizing success:

Wake Up At The Same Time Every Weekday

Commit to a set waking time, no matter what. I’ve studied morning routines for years. Articles from the medical community and successful executives give the same advice: wake up at the same time every day. So, I keep the weekday alarm set to 6:00 am. And forget the snooze button. Research shows that hitting the snooze button will leave you feeling drowsy for the rest of the day.

Enjoy Some Quiet Time & Create A Plan

Before the children bring beautiful chaos to my morning, I sit at my kitchen counter and review the following plan for the day.

  1. Establish three goals, which I schedule in my Outlook calendar.
  2. Choose one precious gift in my life that I’m grateful for (also in my Outlook calendar).
  3. Review my schedule and get psyched for what’s to come.

I study all of my upcoming meetings and calls to determine my desired outcomes — intellectual, mental, and emotional. I know that I’m more likely to accomplish a goal when I have a game plan.

Learn Something New Every Day

I find that learning something new from a motivational speaker or podcast gets my brain in rapid motion before I even walk out the door. While I get myself ready in the morning, I listen to about 15 minutes of podcasts that range from funny, educational, or inspirational. A mix of the NYT Daily, Problem Solvers, Conan O’Brien, and Tony Robbins gets me jazzed for the day. I continue to listen while commuting to our headquarters if technology permits.

Make Sure To Eat A Healthy Breakfast

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Each morning I have two protein-packed hard boiled eggs, fruit, and green tea. I usually prepare my meals the night before since I don’t have much time to pick up food after school drop-offs or during the day. Also, note: research says that, after you wake up, it’s best to wait an hour before drinking caffeine. This gives your hormones a chance to balance before the caffeine hits your bloodstream.

Do The Hardest, Most Important Stuff First

Once at the office, the morning is the best time to bang out my important tasks, even the most difficult to tackle. Years ago I read that Mark Twain famously said to ‘eat a frog’ in the morning, meaning that once the frog eating is behind you, the rest of the day is remarkably easier. Daniel Pink expresses a similar sentiment in his bestselling book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

I’ve been following this morning routine for success for years and it never fails me. You may be surprised that I didn’t include exercise, especially since I own and operate a fitness business! Rather than do a pre-work workout, I take a Physique 57 class midday or in the early evening in order to clear my mind and get a jolt of energy. If you love your morning workout, just fit that into the steps outlined above.

Give these tips a try and let me know if you see a shift in your productivity and mindset. I may have a different routine years from now, but for now, this morning routine for boosting success has me raring to go, day in and day out.

The Best Thinking Happens at the Barre

Close-up of an outstretched hand holding a lightbulb in front of a pinkish, orange sunset.

There is a reason that the barre craze is still growing hotter. More and more women are learning just how effective repetitive movements can be in toning our physiques. But the benefits go far beyond our seats. Have you ever had a creative breakthrough during or immediately following a workout? There is scientific research that explains how barre classes create the perfect neurological cocktail for innovative thinking.

Habit Your Way

Master dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp is a legendarily prolific artist, having choreographed over 160 works. Tharp attributes this success to her own morning routine. She starts her days at 5:30 am with workout clothes and a cab to the gym where she completes a session of stretches and weight training.

In her book, The Creative Habit, Tharp explains that “A lot of habitually creative people have preparation rituals linked to the setting in which they choose to start their creative day.”

“It’s vital to establish some rituals—automatic but decisive patterns of behavior—at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, … Thinking of it as a ritual has a transforming effect on the activity.”

So as it turns out, your leggings, healthy breakfast and marches in place at Physique are all essential mindful habits. Simply placing yourself in a consistent environment is the best way to charge up both your body and mind for the entire day.

That’s Dope!

It’s proven that we get our best ideas when a large amount of dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine release it triggered by activities like exercising and listening to music. Those Beyoncé songs are there for more than just getting you through your plank segments.

Can You Repeat That?

The steady, repetitive movements of barre classes actually trigger something called Default Mode Network (DMN). DMN is what happens when your brain goes into mental autopilot; this frees room for your subconscious to wander and creative thoughts to flourish.

“For me, inspiration is just one of the perks of Physique!” gushes Catherine Canino, the Creative Director and founder of Catherine Canino Jewelry. Canino has been a devoted Physiquer ever since the studio first opened its doors twelve years ago. “Often, when I’m in class and I get that endorphin rush going, I will work out a technical problem that I’d been struggling with earlier in the day,” she says. “Sometimes, I’ll even be so inspired that I will rush out of class to draw a design for an earring on one of the notepads at the front desk.”

How To Maximize Creativity

Be Present

Alicia Weihl, a dancer and choreographer who has been a Physique instructor for over ten years, challenges those in her class to focus. “Leave your to-do list at the door and restart your day. This might be the only hour you’ll give yourself all day. You will get the most of your hour both mentally and physically when you aren’t being pulled in different directions.”

Write It Down

Brilliance is fleeting. Studies show that writing our ideas down gives us a memory boost. So before catching up on the texts you missed during class, make sure to jot down your thoughts. The Notes App is your friend. Use it!

Circuit Braining

Change up your workout! Exploring different classes and trying new barre instructors is a great way to keep a daily habit feeling fresh. Stepping out of your comfort zone also helps to challenge your mind and body in new ways. We recommend our new Dance Cardio workout class. It’s the perfect way to learn some new moves while breaking a sweat.

Patience Is Key

Over-exertion can cause mental delay. So if you haven’t had any groundbreaking breakthroughs or you forgot your locker combination after an intense SBT, there’s no need to panic. The muse will follow!

Alicia is proud that her classes are consistently populated with creative types of all kinds. She’s not only referring to visual artists, writers and fashion designers but doctors, lawyers and business executives as well. “What’s awesome is such diverse backgrounds converging, uniting, focusing, and working hard in one space.”

Learning to maximize creativity is essential to everyone. Whether you are an artist, mother, student or entrepreneur, thinking outside of the box will help you be your very best. Isn’t that what drew us to the barre in the first place?  So next time you’re in a creative rut, step out of your own head and into the barre studio or your at-home workout space, the benefits are endless.

Join us at the barre in our NYC studio or from anywhere On Demand for these amazing mind-body benefits!

How Many Calories Do I Burn During Barre Class?

Closeup of a black smart watch on someone's arm displaying fitness stats.

How many calories do I burn during barre class? That’s a question we hear a lot. We all know calorie-burning is integral to staying fit, and our classes certainly pack a punch in that department. The long and short of it:  there’s not just one component that determines how many calories you burn, and besides, that’s not the most important factor.

First, we tasked both a regular Physique 57 client and instructor with tracking their calorie output during Signature and S.B.T. (Sweat Burn Tone) classes. In Signature, the client burned about 350. During S.B.T. (our go-go-go class with more cardio), the client burned almost 500 calories.

For more insight, we called up Dr. Sari Eitches, an internist at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica. (A former yoga and spin instructor, she’s especially adept at addressing fitness concerns.) She name-checks a mix of variables we can and can’t control—a cocktail of things like genetics, weight, diet, body composition, sleep, stress and even what you ate for breakfast—as impacting our caloric expenditure. So what workouts are best for revving up your caloric expenditure?

How Many Calories Does Barre Burn?

“A resistance workout (such as free weights or a barre class) may burn only 300 calories in the hour, but it can also cause a spike in a person’s metabolic rate for the rest of the day,” she says. “You will continue to burn more calories even as you rest and recover; that’s part of the shaky muscle feeling that comes after a resistance workout,” she adds. (We know that feeling well.)

The type of workout and duration certainly affect the amount of calories burned, but that’s beside the point. “The quality of food and the quality of exercise are more important than the number of calories,” Dr. Eitches says. To maximize your 57 minutes, we recommend staying true to the correct forms and take the challenges! Push yourself; that’s where you see (and feel) the physical and mental pay-off. That’s more important than any number.

And we have to agree with Dr. Eitches’s final words of wisdom: “Every workout is a success, but especially if it is enjoyable, because that will help ensure it becomes a habit. The health benefits of exercise are most pronounced when working out is a part of one’s daily routine.”

Looking to make Physique 57 a habit? Find an on-demand workout class—do it wherever, whenever – and tuck, curl, and stretch in the comfort of your own home.