What type of breakfast do you like?
Are you the one-bowl-of-oatmeal type? The high-fat-butter-in-my-coffee type? Or do you skip breakfast altogether?
Breakfast is important, but End of Three Fitness is not the type of fitness website that is going to make you feel guilty for not eating breakfast, give you “10 reasons not to skip breakfast”, or to tell you to keep on fasting. No, that’s your call, but…
I will give you a breakfast, or rather, morning routine that will chemically alter your brain into having a kick-ass morning EVERYDAY! And I am not talking about paleo margaritas here.
I don’t know about you, but how the morning goes can pretty much set the tone for the entire day. If I wake up late and I’m rushed and I stub my toe on my bed post [insert any other unpleasant morning experience or first world problem here] when I get out of bed…it’s already a bad start. Form there, if I start to tell myself…“YEP! This is going to be a bad day!”…it will be. It’s all about how you perceive and handle the day. If I start my day off the right way…It’s going to be a GOOD day. For me, that means I have plenty of time to get ready in the morning, I probably got a good workout in, and I had a healthy and filling breakfast.
But how can we take that perception a little bit further? Are there ways to actually trick your mind and body into having a GREAT day? Are there way to perceive and chemically induce a good day?
It’s pretty simple, it will take 30 minutes, or less, and we will:
- Step 1: Release Endorphins
- Step 2: Overwhelm the Brain with Electrical Impulses
- Step 3: Infuse the body with Serotonin
- Step 4: Add a Dash of Dopamine
- Step 5: Inhibit Adenosine Compounds
Sounds crazy, right? It sounds crazy, but it’s not! It is super quick and easy.
I don’t consider myself a biohacker, because I feel that too many biohackers are non-athletes looking to take the easy, while very interesting/entertaining, route. The only biohack I really care about is the Barbell Biohack (read here).
So back to having the best morning of your life. I will go over each step, but know that step 1 and step 2 are optional, as the breakfast is only steps 3, 4 and 5.
Step 1 (optional): Burpees
Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by certain stimuli, more specifically; STRESS, FEAR or PAIN. I could argue that for most the burpee will induce all three stimuli of STRESS, FEAR AND PAIN.
Endorphins interact mainly with receptors in cells found in regions of the brain responsible for blocking pain and controlling emotion, which is a good way to start your day. In fact, some endorphins are stronger than morphine…Say what!?
BOTTOM LINE: Endorphins make you feel great!
Not too long ago, there was a lot of debate about exercise and endorphins, but new imaging methods allow researchers to study the ebb and flow of endorphins as they interact with human brain cells, verifying their role in the rush that exercise.
HOWEVER, each person reacts differently to exercise and endorphins. Some can have a flood in a few minutes and some it will take 30 minutes to get the desired effect. But what we do know is intensity of the workout is a factor.
So, about that burpee workout…
Complete as many burpees as humanly possible in 5 minutes [BURPEE VIDEO].
Why the burpee?
- It’s a full body movement
- It’s functional
- It can be done anywhere (NO EXCUSES)
- Burpees can make for a very intense workout in a very short amount of time.
Alright you got your endorphins!
Now, let’s overwhelm the brain.
Step 2 (optional): Cold Shower
Now, five minutes of an intense burpee session is enough to leave you on your back and nearing a natural high, but we are going to push your brain and body a little more.
Right after you finish your burpees crank the cold water and hop in the shower. I am not going to go over ALL of the details of cold showers or contrast showers, because I just wrote an entire post on that not too long ago…
A cold shower alone has a ton of power, but by specifically sending an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, you will get quite the pick-me up.
You’re feeling great by this point, but why stop here?
Time for serotonin.
Step 3: Cashews
Cashews are one powerful nut. In fact, consuming 2-3 handfuls of cashews will provide 1,000-2,000 mg of tryptophan, which is in turn made into serotonin – a very important neurotransmitter. Serotonin gives you the feeling of well-being and allows you to mellow out, or not sweat the small stuff.
Cashews, or serotonin, works so well, that is why Prozac, Paxil, and similar antidepressants artificially keep the body’s own serotonin levels high.
Of course, you will need carbohydrates to in order for these chemicals to cross the blood-brain barrier, so that is the next step…
Step 4: Bananas
Bananas serve two purposes; the first is to supply the body with easy-to-use carbohydrates to get the tryptophan and serotonin to the brain and the second is to give you a good source of dopamine.
Bananas boost serotonin and dopamine levels and the banana actually produces dopamine quinine, which is a form of dopamine that occurs naturally in the environment.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays an important role in motivation and effort, as well as movement, memory, pleasurable reward, behavior, cognition, attention, inhibition of prolactin production, sleep, mood and learning.
Dopamine does A LOT and plays an important role in almost every function of your daily life. Getting extra dopamine, in the natural sense, will play an important role in you dominating your day!
Step 5: Coffee
How? Just drink a cup of coffee, which I am sure many of you already do. While it is true that excessive amounts of caffeine can be bad, there are plenty of evidence-based reasons why coffee is actually good for you.
Aside form the antioxidants and essential nutrients in coffee, the main thing we are looking for is that wonderful stimulant…CAFFEINE.
We aren’t trying to overdo it here, just around 100mg of caffeine (typical cup of black coffee) can have some pretty profound effects on your brain. Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine’s primary mechanism in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called Adenosine. When you inhibit adenosine, you get increased activity of dopamine, glutamate and norepinephrine which are alertness-increasing brain-stimulating compounds.
Can you say awesome?
Not only will you have an improved mood but you can expect improved reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function.
So it’s that easy! Try it! 5 minutes of burpees, a quick cold shower, then enjoy a couple of handfuls of cashews with a banana and a cup of coffee. Try all that and it will be pretty tough to have a bad day.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments!
Here’s to your awesome day!