A FITNESS ICON’S MORNING ROUTINE AND HOW TO ESTABLISH YOUR OWN
Lately, my morning routine is that I have no routine. Running Siren Snacks and growing the brand means we're constantly traveling and on the road, which makes estalishing routines feel impossible at times.
I’ve devoured countless articles about the importance of routines and why they’re many successful people’s key to...well, success. I’m thrilled their lemon water and meditation is working for them, but how does a routine newbie even begin? Should you wait to open your inbox until you’re vertical and caffeinated? (Probably.) And what do famous CEOs and influencers do when late nights or hangovers throw their routine off course?
In an effort to upgrade our own routines, we sat down with Tosca Reno, a founder, fitness model, New York Times bestselling author, and nutrition guru (now you know why we described her as an “icon”), to learn more about routines. She’s clearly doing something right.
Siren Snacks: I’m so curious to learn more about your morning routine. Can you describe it?
Tosca Reno: I work out six days a week and love to do it early in the morning. It gets me revved up for the day. I do cardio, TRX, Pilates, and weight lifting and usually work out on an empty stomach. Plenty of water and branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) fuel me through it. Afterwards, I have my breakfast at 8:30am, which is usually a hot cup of coffee, greens, and some form of protein and healthy fat—eggs or hemp and avocado. Then, on to work which includes an array of activities from photo shoots, appearances, interviews, writing, coaching, and more! I always have a mid-morning snack of an apple with raw nut butter at about 10:30am.
My nighttime routine is important, too. I start winding down my day by doing a meditation. I love Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “I AM THAT” meditation. I do some gratitude journaling before bed as well.
SS: That gives me something to aspire to, for sure. Why do you think morning and nighttime routines are important?
TR: I need my routines because I cherish the ritual of them. They keep me grounded and thankful. They remind me to be grateful for the new day and what is possible. Really, they help me revel in small treasures like being able to lift a heavy weight, enjoying a cool sip of water, savoring the nutty taste of an avocado, watching the sun rise, or recalling a sweet moment with one of my daughters at the end of the day through journaling, that I didn’t notice in the moment.
These are lessons I have learned after enduring several years of loss. My husband and son passed away, I was forced to bankrupt my late husband’s business, nearly lost my own business as a result, and so much more. I have learned that the small moments in life, which can often be noticed or reflected upon at the beginning and end of the day, are gold.
SS: Speaking of adding small moments to routines, what advice do you have for establishing a morning or nighttime routine?
TR: When trying to establish anything new, it’s most important to start by finding the one thing—just one thing—you can commit to each morning or night. Choose an activity or behavior that works for you, in your lifestyle, at this moment. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Make a hot tea. Eat breakfast. Meditate. Plan some clean meals for the day. Journal. Whatever it is, it must suit you and your life.
SS: That’s great. I tend to experiment with five or six things at once that are unrealistic for me, like 6:00am yoga classes. Just not going to happen! What tips do you have for sticking with this behavior?
TR: All habits are hard to learn initially. But it’s not the habit itself, but rather changing the wiring in your brain. It takes a few tries to get into the flow. Getting into the flow means feeling it, seeing it, tasting it, and knowing it in your cells. It means having a darn good reason for doing what you are doing, otherwise there’s no commitment. There must be passion in place first.
SS: It sounds like there’s also prioritization involved. Sometimes I immediately dive into Instagram before I've left my bed, which isn’t a priority. What are your thoughts on this?
TR: Falling down the rabbit hole of social media is a thing. It happens. That’s why I keep my phone out of my sight and far enough away that I have to inconveniently get out of bed to reach it. I have the things I need to perform my rituals close at hand—my journal, a pen, a spiritual book, a water bottle filled with water, or my meditation CD. Whatever you need to make your ritual real, have it there on your nightstand. Put whatever isn’t a part of your routine or that isn’t serving you farther away.
SS: Do you have any strategies for staying flexible when "life" interrupts a morning routine? How do you stay on track or get back on track?
TR: There needs to be an “allowing” state of mind in these situations. My entire life is hectic. I can be on a plane to Costa Rica to host a retreat on Sunday, fly home five days to catch a train to Montreal to appear at an event, and then come home to catch another plane to Vancouver for a speaking engagement. And this is my life. This is all happening next week!
I go with the flow and let the events happen. But I manage to the best of my ability to maintain some normalcy and routine. For example, on the plane to Costa Rica I’ll put on my headphones and meditate. I’ll pack my journal and book so I can maintain these aspects of my routine.
SS: Your life is so full! How did you get to this point in your career?
TR: As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” I was 39 at the time and weighed 204 pounds at my heaviest. As fate would have it, I met Robert Kennedy, publisher of the health and bodybuilding magazines like Oxygen, Clean Eating, and MuscleMag. He challenged me to compete in a bodybuilding contest. “In order to accomplish that,” he told me, “You must follow my rules, train as I tell you to, and eat clean.” I went for it and stood on stage at the age of 42, in my first ever bodybuilding contest!
Through the process of preparing, I learned how to shape a body and heal myself. I had been borderline type 2 diabetic and was suffering with heart issues. My father had died from a heart attack at 64. I also had three young daughters. The startling realization that I could heal myself through what I ate was a game changer for me.
SS: What an inspiring story. Tell me more about what you’re doing now.
TR: I created and now run the Eat Clean Diet program, which includes nutrition and fitness coaching, special events, and content like videos, books, and recipes. Eating Clean means eating whole, nutrient-dense, well-sourced, and well-prepared foods. It’s a lifestyle of eating to rebuild wellness and manage weight. No gimmicks! Dr. Oz named it “The Eat Clean Revolution.” It has been roaring for nearly 20 years.
When followers learn to Eat Clean, they learn to nourish themselves through nutrition, not trends or fads. Followers will feel well again as sleep, digestion, mood, and energy levels improve. Skin clears up, headaches and pain disappear, and age sheds from your body. It’s a spectacular way to heal oneself.
Though my morning routine won’t include training for a bodybuilding competition anytime soon, I am taking Tosca’s advice to find one thing I can commit to each morning. Since 6:00am yoga classes aren’t realistic for me, I’m aiming for the 7:00am class followed by a hearty breakfast and homemade chai latte. It feels manageable and most importantly, I look forward to it each morning and feel better afterwards. As Tosca would say, I’m feeling it, seeing it, and knowing it in my cells.
Next step: Keeping phone in the living room instead of by my bed. One thing at a time, right?