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This Navy SEAL Says: Wake Up Earlier

Willink in his interview with Business Insider.

The early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink is featured in a viral video by Business Insider on why he continues to wake up at 4:30 AM every single day, even after his service.

“Why would you not wake up at 4:30?” Willink deadpanned.

There’s lots of veterans like Willink who carry habits from the military into their civilian lives, such as strict morning and workout routines. There’s also lots who don’t, and enjoy the luxury of being able to hit that snooze button. For Willink, it’s very simple.

“You just get a jump on the day,” he said. “No one else is awake yet, so that gives me the opportunity to do things that I need to get done. The big one in that category is working out.”

Tip: Work out before Work!

Studies show that people who exercise first thing in the morning have more energy throughout the day, and get longer, more restful sleep at night. Boosting your metabolism at an earlier time sets you up for a productive day where you’ve already accomplished your fitness goals and don’t have to worry about it (or put it off until it just doesn’t happen). It is proven to enhance both your physical and mental performance, and develop a healthy, stable routine.  

“Workouts don’t have to take a long time,” Willink added.

A popular method of exercise among athletes is called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is a cardiovascular exercise where you alternate between intense periods of exercise and less intense recovery periods. For example, you might sprint the hardest you can for a minute, and then rest for 45 seconds, before sprinting again. Even if you only do this for 10 minutes, you’ve set yourself up for success later on.

It can be tough to stir up the motivation for sprints before work, so choose an exercise you enjoy. If you don’t mind sit-ups, make a goal to do them every morning. If you think jogging or walking is peaceful, get outside for half an hour.

Consistency is Key

“Wake up at the same time every day.”

“It doesn’t have to be 4:30; it could be 6:30, it could be 7. But find out a time, pick it, set it, stick to it, and maintain that schedule,” Willink stated. “I recommend it’s earlier. I recommend that you go to bed earlier. Most of the time at night, you’re not working on anything super productive.”

People who rise well before they have to start their day tend to have more active hours throughout it. It’s easy to get into a pattern of jumping out of bed 15 minutes before you leave, and then using coffee as compensation for your poor schedule. Before you know it you’re already climbing back under the covers. Even just the feeling of a longer day can help stimulate activity.

Figure out how many productive hours are in your average day. Do you come home from work, only to watch TV or use your phone until you need to sleep?

You might want to try separating electronics from your night routine. The blue light emitted from your phone screen inhibits your brain’s production of melatonin, the sleep chemical. Whiling away your time on your phone is an easier habit to break than you think. Charge your phone in another room, or even just across the room (no excuse for not getting up!)

“If you want more freedom in your life, you have to have more discipline,” Willink advised.

Okay… so maybe you won’t get up at 4:30 AM. The important thing is realizing how many hours of sleep your body needs to function right, and then doing your best to stick by it. Which isn’t always perfect.

To watch Jocko Willink’s interview with Business Insider, visit:

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