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How the First Hour of the Day Can Transform Your Life

Success Habits for the First Hour of the Day

Ok, this post is a little bit different take on the “Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break” series, but this topic is super important.

What you do in that first hour upon waking will set the tone for the rest of the day.

Most of us wake up, snooze, wake up, snooze, finally get up, shower, coffee, off to work, meanwhile wondering exactly how you got to work because you can’t quite remember your drive in. Right?

That, my friends, is exactly what they mean by “life on autopilot.”

But you don’t actually want to live on autopilot, do you? You want to live with purpose!

What you could do instead is be more intentional about that first hour of your day to really transform then way you enter life day-by-day, over the course of a lifetime.

You can change your entire mood, your vibe, your drive, everything, if you do it correctly.

I did my first Facebook Livestream on this subject. Have a listen:



Success habits for the first hour of the day:

Light therapy or sun: I am drawn to the sun. I think we are wired to be drawn to light. There’s got to be a reason why light and mood are so interconnected. In the winter, I do at least 10 minutes of light therapy or sit in a sunny window to stay ahead of my anxiety and depression.

Daily devotions: God comes first, always. Instead of trying to fit God into my busy schedule, I need to build my schedule around God first. So, I try to make sure I get my nose in His Book every day with guidance from a daily devotion reading.

Workout: I work out 6 days a week religiously: 3 days of cardio, 3 days of strength training. Fridays are usually barre and Saturdays are a long run. Working out immediately in the morning wakes you up, pumps you full of endorphins, and makes you feel ready to take on the day. Working out improves everything about life.

Journaling: my “adult” type journaling consists of asking myself questions about what I need to work on, focusing on my goals, and really stretching myself. The repetitive nature of doing this every day is important so that goals don’t just get ignored like when they’re written on a note posted to my computer.

Water: We all wake up dehydrated, so getting water into your system first thing gets the motors all greased up and running.

Apple cider vinegar shots: I use Tone It Up’s Bombshell Spell from their nutrition plan. I’ve seen so much research about apple cider vinegar. And for some reason, even though acv is harsh, the way they make the spell is addicting.

Self Development: filling your mind with thoughts of potential and empowerment will make you a better person. This was a habit I picked up from my network marketing days. One of the three essential habits was personal development and I really felt like it was powerful. If you can make yourself just a tad bit better every day (read The Compound Effect), you will be amazed how far you can go after a year, or even a few months.


***Another thing I didn’t mention on the video is music. I have several playlists on Spotify that are meant to lift my spirits. They’re all songs that personally make me feel inspired and uplifted. My favorite thing to do right now is to listen to “Rebel Beat” by the Goo Goo Dolls while I journal. That song is like my theme song right now. I also like to listen to upbeat music while I’m working out. It changes everything! The difference between a silent workout and a music-ified one is drastic!


Most of these morning habits can be done simultaneously. For example, I’m usually listening to music and drinking water while I workout. Then, I use my light box while I’m getting ready or doing my devotions. Journaling takes about 10 minutes, while I’m listening to Rebel Beat. And then self development is typically ingrained in every part of my day. When I have my ear buds in at work, I’m typically listening to some type of personal development content.

If you layer your day this way, and remain intentional about what you’re doing with your body, what you’re feeding your mind, what you’re surrounding yourself with, how you’re feeling, you can see how this would elevate just about everything, right?

And I know when I’m starting to feel crummy about something, all I need to do is turn to this list to refocus and elevate my mood again.

Once all these things are out of the way in the morning, the feeling is euphoric! These habits put everything into perspective and give me a compass for the rest of my day that leads straight toward fulfillment.

Add value to your life by being intentional with the first hour of the day.


Let’s hear it…

Do you have specific morning habits that you do to start your day?

Does this inspire you to try being more intentional about your mornings?

Free New Year’s Health and Fitness Program

Workout Program for New Year

Pin me, Tweet me, Share me!


Hey #Flashers,

I’m in charge of putting together a wellness program for my corporate job for the month of January. Since I’ll already have all the materials put together, I thought I’d invite you to join too!

It’s called Full Force because we’ll be going into the new year with full force toward our overall wellness goals.

This plan will cover fitness, nutrition and mental health.

What you’ll get:

  • A training plan
  • Printable trackers
  • Meal planning ideas
  • Daily tips emails

The entire program is based around using what’s already available to you. It will help immensely if you own a smartphone and a Fitbit, but they’re not completely necessary.


Let me know in the comments if you would like to join, and I will hook you up! No strings attached.

You want in?

Weekly Workout Rundown

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  • 40 min AM hill interval run, 3 miles
  • 20 min Beach Yoga
  • 25 min PM run, 2.3 miles
  • 40 min AM interval run, 3.25 miles
  • 20 min circuit training at lunch (my workout)
  • 30 min walk at lunch with mom, 2 miles
  • 45 min AM run, 3.6 miles
  • 20 min circuit training at lunch (my workout)
  • 62 min run, 5 miles
  • 45 min family kayaking trip
This was the last week of the Tone It Up Bikini Series. I finally made my #100bySummer miles on Sunday. And as much as I hate for all the excitement to end, I’m excited to change and charge up my routine this week a bit, perhaps trying out a new challenge. Any 30-day challenge suggestions would be well-received, friends.
I’ve said it before, but kayaking is one of my favorite active things in the world to do. Not only is it active, but it’s so rejuvenating and rewarding. In our kayaks, we can get down little shallow channels that other boats can’t get down. Which means: 0% boat traffic and 100% natural surroundings. I’m so glad I let Hubster talk me into buying kayaks when we were first married. After kayaking, we hit the beach for a little while where it looked like the whole hot city was hanging out.
Overall, we had fun this weekend. I finally got me a new laptop, made Creamsicles with Peanut, prepped food for the week (menu to come) and gathered some supplies from the hardware store for some more fitness-related DIYs. You’ll have to stay tuned for those! They’ve been cooking in my mind for awhile now, but I finally scoped out and purchased the supplies, working out some of the details by bouncing ideas off Hubster. Let the creativity begin!
What did you do this weekend?

Tone It Up Bikini Series Printable: Motivational Quotes

I was a busy little bee again and whipped up this Tone It Up document with Post-it sized quotes. Cut them out and tape them to your bathroom mirror, fridge, dashboard, computer, or treadmill. The second page contains two inspirational Bible passages for all my Jesus-loving #TIUsisters out there.

A few of the quotes are from Karena and Katrina themselves, like the leading life with your heart quote. They often talk about posture and leading life with your heart has to do with standing tall and literally leading with your heart out and shoulders back. Let this note be your visual reminder to stand up tall.

A few of them motivational quotes would be great to post directly on your workout station. Use them as mantras to get you through tough workouts or reminders about why you’re working so hard. Check out a great post about effective mantras here.

Download your free copy here

Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for more printables–I’ll see what else I can whip up!


20 Tips to Help You Start Working Out in the Morning

I think the time of day you work out is irrelevant, as long as you are actually performing at your fullest capacity. This, for you, could be before work, at lunch, in the evenings, or broken up throughout the day. The most vital part is that you find what works best for you so that you can stick with it.

However, there are some undeniable benefits to working out in the morning:

  1. The evening is all yours and your family’s–no running off to the gym at the expense of family time.
  2. Working out before breakfast could increase your fat burn by up to 20%, without causing more hunger later in the day.
  3. Your workout is done before the distractions and stresses of the day could potentially keep you from your workout.
  4. It wakes you up better than coffee and the effects last much longer.
  5. You’re better equipped to run morning 5ks if you train in the mornings. Studies such as this and this suggest that you can train your body to be at peak performance at the time of day of your specified activity.


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Now, it may be super hard to get your butt out of your nice warm bed at 5:30 in the morning. I hear ya.
I have a really tough time with this myself, especially in the winter when cold air freezes me in my tracks and my eyeballs and body beg for “just another half hour!” Plus, it’s dark out, so your circadian rhythm fights back against your best efforts. However, since the beginning of this year, I was able to successfully transition my workout schedule with some creative tweaks.

How to Start Working out in the Morning:

1. Begin on Vacation: I had quite a few days off in a row this past Christmas break. So, I decided to start working out in the mid-mornings. Then, once I went back to work, it was much easier to transition into early-morning workouts. I wasn’t about to mess up all the progress I had made during those two weeks.

2. Prepare Ahead of Time: The night before your workout, set out your workout clothes, prepare your morning breakfast (at least set out the ingredients), unfurl your exercise mat, and decide which workout you’re going to do. You’ll have everything in place to just roll out of bed and begin, barring all excuses. You also won’t feel so scrambled in the morning rush when you have made all your preparations beforehand.

3. Write it in the Calendar: To help you decide what workout you’re going to do, it is helpful to sketch out a plan in your calendar. The calendar helps hold you accountable to your goals and breaks them down into manageable steps. Plus, it just feels great to mark x’s through all your completed sessions. Here are a few fun write-in calendar printables I found by way of Pinterest: monthly workout calendar, two-week calendar, designer calendar.

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4. Build in Rest Days: Either designate a few days during the week that will always be rest days or give yourself one or two freebies during the week to use as you wish. I always rest on Thursdays and Sundays. This gives me something to look forward to (sleeping in!) and offers a little leeway so I don’t over-train. If I need to move around rest days, it’s simple to do. Building in rest days just makes the whole routine feel more sustainable.

5. Create Plan B: Think about all the things that could happen that could make you miss out on a workout: your alarm doesn’t go off, your body feels too weak to get up, you find cat puke that needs to be cleaned ASAP, etc. Decide right away what Plan B will be, such as working out later in the day, giving yourself the day off, or doing a shorter but more intense HIIT workout when you’re running short on time. Being prepared for obstacles is more than half the battle to overcoming them.

6. Go to Bed Earlier: Start easy, going to bed maybe 5 minutes earlier each night. Then, build up to about a half hour. At the half hour point, you have quite a good base for an effective workout session. Start there and increase as you progress. As an alternative, if your workplace allows, go into work a little later.

7. Commit to just 15 minutes, for just one week: It seems a whole lot less scary to get up just a little earlier for one week than to commit to 45 minutes, 5 days per week for the rest of your life. See how that works? You can practically trick yourself into getting into the habit with this simple tip. Get up just 15 minutes early for a week and do the best workout that you can. You might just find yourself going a little longer, if your schedule is a little more flexible. You may even break up your workout routine into 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after work until you’re ready to completely transition to morning workouts. It’s helpful to just start somewhere and build up from there.

8. Make a Date: If you have friends who work out in the morning, offer to join them or join the morning session of your favorite exercise class. You’ll be less apt to miss a session when your friends are expecting you or you’ve already paid for the class.

9. Nix Travel Time: You don’t need the gym. Say what? Yes, you can do so many killer workouts at home, so it’s unacceptable to use the “I don’t have a gym membership” excuse. Workout DVDs, fitness magazine printables, Youtube, Hulu and so many other resources are available to you on your own turf. Maybe you even have a pup that could use a good leg stretch in the morning. Besides, working out at home cuts out time lost on travel to the gym–another common excuse.

10. Set a Motivating Alarm: Would you like to wake up to your favorite music or a bright light? How about waking up to your trainer telling you to get your workout in? You can always check your app store for a motivational alarm clock. For example, the TIU app comes with a playful alarm clock where you hear Karena and Katrina rooting or pushing for you in the morning. If you don’t have a smartphone, put motivational post-its on your alarm clock with reasons why you need to get up and work out or reminders of events that you need to tone up for.

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11. Practice Tunnel Vision: clear your mind and just do it. Get dressed, brush your teeth and get to working out. You really have to tone up your tunnel vision muscles. Ignore the laundry. Ignore the dishes. Ignore the project you left out on the table. The more you are able to hone this skill, the better.

12. Attach Activity to Something Fun: Catch up on all your favorite TV recordings from the night before (that you missed by going to bed so early, ha!). Get your news fix or indulge in guilty pleasure magazines. Treat yourself to a good tea after you’re done working out. When you attach working out to something pleasurable, it will become that much easier and enticing.

13. Reward System: Set up a reward chart to show what you’ll get yourself after a week, month, quarter, etc of successfully working out in the mornings. Make the rewards simple–they need not be extravagant or costly. You can do something as simple as use that special body wash you were saving in the shower after each morning workout. Or buy a new flavor of tea for #12 above.

14: Warm up: As soon as you’re warm, your workout will not feel so hellish. Winter is especially brutal. I like to bring our small space heater into the bathroom to get me warmed up while I’m changing. The hardest part about morning winter workouts is the cold. The bed has a much stronger draw than the treadmill. So, beat the cold at its own game. Find ways to get your body warm, and don’t give up on your idea of working out in the morning until after you’re warmed up.

15. Watch infomercials or music videos: I sometimes find that watching P90X infomercials or music videos in the mornings pumps me up. The infomercials are great motivation to push it hard and the pop music pumps me up. It really depends on your mood and personal preferences. I just know that both of these have gotten me through tough workouts when I needed them to.

16. Employ cheerleaders: Recruit Twitter friends, follow your favorite fitness role models, or post Instagram images from your morning route. Cyber motivation is powerful and proven. My feed is filled with ladies (#TIUsisters) doing their “Booty Calls,” a term coined by Tone It Up. Announce your goals on social media. Follow those other crazy morning runners. The more “likes,” “favorites,” and “retweets” you get, the more fire you’ll have under your feet. Once you feel like you’re part of that team of morning workout-ers, your motivation will swell. 

17. Build in Snooze Time: pad in one or two “snooze” presses if you must. I have a hard time getting up after the first alarm too. If you know this about yourself, pad in a bit of snooze time. Just not more than one or two or you’ll be losing out on valuable REM sleep.

18. Start Writing/Noticing Changes: Recording inches or lbs lost, energy gained, changes in confidence levels, etc provides instant gratification for what you’re working so hard for. Maybe you’ve begun to revel in the early morning sunrise or how your belt just went up a notch. Whatever beauty you’re gleaning from your morning workout, write it down. Take note of how your body feels after an AM sweatfest and makes you feel better throughout the day. This will perpetuate the habit and be a catalyst for future workouts, perhaps one day making you feel as though you never want to go back.

19. Practice: Do one week of morning workouts here and there just to see what they’re like. Committing to the first week is always the hardest part, especially when compared to thinking about doing it for a lifetime. Try a few mornings or one week per month. You’ll start to get the hang of it with a few trial runs. When it doesn’t seem so daunting anymore, you might just make the switch with ease.

20. Drink Some Coffee: Not only will it help wake you up, but it might also help you perform better during your workout. I linked to just one compilation of studies, but if you Google “coffee and exercise,” you’ll find a myriad of proof that this works. If you struggle with the waking up part of morning workouts, this is your magic wand.

So, there you have it: 20 tried and true ways to make the transition to morning workouts a bit easier. Try out a handful of them and eventually you’ll make a smooth transition. Follow me on Twitter (@BounSee_Jess) to see what I’m getting done in the morning, before the rest of the world wakes up, and to get a dose of extra morning motivation.

Any other tips from all you morning mavens out there?

FREE Measurements Printable for Tone It Up Bikini Series

Hey there TIU sisters,

I quick whipped up this printable on my lunch break for the Tone It Up bikini series. It has 8 weeks of measurements for your chest, arms, hips, waist, and thighs to track your progress. Of course, it was designed in TIU style and colors. I might come back with more free printables for the series. You’ll have to keep checking back:)

Get your free body measurement printable here.

Did you sign up for the series yet?

Summer Fun at the County Fair

County Fair Rides, Ferris Wheel

Two weekends ago, we bought tickets for the local county fair.

We didn’t realize we’d be riding 90% of the rides with a 4-year-old. But oh, how fun that was!

His favorite ride? The Starship 3000 (aka the Gravitron). You know the one, where the little spaceship-like thing spins really fast and you’re pinned against the wall. This just cracks me up.

He seemed way too small to be riding those fast-whipping rides, but he loooooved them. And because we could all go together, Hubster and I loved it too! We’ll be back next year.

County Fair Rides, Kayne's fave ride, Gravitron (Starship)
County Fair Rides
All the pretty lights
County Fair Rides, Fun House
Fun House

County Fair Rides, Swings
County Fair FFA, Petting huge-eared bunny
He loved the FFA stables, especially huge-eared bunnies.

Geocaching Adventure

I’ve always thought that geocaching sounded like a fantastic grown-up version of a treasure hunt. Turns out, it SO is!

A seasoned geocaching friend of mine offered to take Peanut and I out for a geocaching adventure at a local park. We followed her GPS device to a nearby baseball diamond. We may have looked like gawking fans to the outfielders that eyed us with curiosity, but we didn’t care. Nevertheless, we found the cache, magnetized in a crook below one of the towering stadium lights. Yes!

After signing the log and exchanging “treasures” (a fun coin for a pink bead, ha!), we headed to the next spot. The GPS showed a small thicket of trees along the bike path. We searched and searched and climbed and combed, but couldn’t find it. Alas, it was still fun to climb through the trees and stumble upon a small surprise:

Boys will be boys

duck eggs
We wondered why one lone duck stayed so close to us while we were rummaging around. We didn’t notice this perfect camouflaged nest until we were about to leave. Breathtaking!
I love how geocaching exposes you to little nooks that you might not otherwise explore. It’s a purposeful way to be outside, to go on a family outing. It’s active. It’s great for Peanuts and adults alike. There is such a sense of anticipation for what you’ll find and where you’ll find it. There’s this secret little society that is covertly planting and discovering buried treasures all around the world. It’s exciting!

Now, you’ll be wondering what little trinkets might be hidden all around your city. I know I do!

**Note: you don’t necessarily have to own a GPS device to go geocaching in certain areas. Just go to geocaching.com and use their Google Earth mapping system to pinpoint cache locations. I don’t own a GPS, and I’ve found caches that way!

The Importance of Fitness for Health and Recovery

Today, I proudly present a post from guest blogger David Haas, who has been studying and writing about the positive effects of an active lifestyle on cancer patients. David is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Take it away David…


When you are dealing with cancer or any other traumatic life occurrence, it might surprise you how much good exercise can do for you. Many people, when they are faced with challenges, want to hide and become very sedentary, but the truth is that in many cases, it is far better for you to stay active. Caring for Cancer states that fitness should be one of your highest priorities if you have cancer, so see what your options might be.

Get Some Advice

If you want to get fit while recovering from cancer, or if you find that fitness for mesothelioma treatment is one of your big goals, you should not start with no information. This is especially true if you are someone who is starting to exercise from a dead stop! If you are invested in making sure that you can start off with a fitness regimen that suits you, consult with your doctor and then see about working with a personal trainer. There are many people out there who find that having someone to guide them through the process helps them stay on top of things.

Right Time, Right Place

If you want to exercise, you need to make it part of your routine, and you will discover that in many cases, you need a special time and place for your exertions. Think about how you feel about working a gym into your routine. For example, are you someone who loves going to a class, or do you just want to head to the weight room to pump some iron? On the other hand, you might be someone who is devoted to simply working out on your own. Learning this about yourself can help you figure out what exercise regimen is right for you.

Get a Workout Buddy

Even if you are dealing with the easy tiring that comes with cancer treatment, you will find that in many cases, the thing that you have to beat is lethargy. Consider how you can make sure that you get off the couch and off to the gym or even out for a walk. Talk to a friend and ask them to keep you motivated. Whether you run on the treadmills side by side or you simply get each other to the gym before going off in your own directions, you will discover that this is something that can get you very motivated. Just be ready to return the favor if your workout buddy is having a rough day.

Have Fun!

If your primary memories of working out and getting fit all have to do with trauma and drama suffered in high school gym class, it can be tough to find the motivation to get fit. The truth is that now you are doing it because you want to do it. No one is forcing you, and there is no reason that exercise can’t be fun. Whether you are interested in a martial art or in rock climbing, you can now tailor your experience to be what you want it to be!

For example, how do you feel about performance? If you love the idea of getting up in front of others, why not consider a dance studio? On the other hand, if you are invested in making sure that you can take care of yourself, why not enroll in a martial art dedicated to self-defense?

Take a moment to consider where you want your health to be when it comes to general fitness and exercise. Find a program that works for you and then stick with it. No matter what your goals are, fitness is important.