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Seven Secrets For Early Morning Workouts

I’ve been there before. Work is insane and you’re schedule is spiraling out of control. No longer is your 6 p.m. workout feasible, there’s too much too going on. Heck, even when you leave for the gym your phone rings.

And rings. And rings.

You grab your bag, slide your shoes on, and head back for another meeting and another “emergency” that’s taking precedent over your health and wellness.

There’s no choice—you need to train in the morning.

Training before sunrise is never ideal. You’re tired, stiff, and trying to comprehend the hieroglyphic numbers on your digital clock.


early morning
Rise and Grind!

But we don’t live in a perfect world—if you don’t train first thing in the morning you’ll never get it done. As an early riser these seven tips have helped me make the transition to morning workouts.

1.)  Get Up ASAP

If you hit snooze you’re as good as done. Get up and get on your feet immediately. The longer you delay getting up the more difficult the workout will be.

Bonus: If you get up before you alarm and it’s within 30 minutes suck it up and get going. You’ll be drowsy if you wait.

2.)  Warm Water+ Black Coffee

One the fastest ways to wake up your body is hydration.The other? Caffeine!

Sleep leaves us six to eight hours without water consumption, putting the body into a mild state of dehydration. Dehydration is detrimental to training with high quality workouts, so it’s it’s imperative to rehydrate rapidly. I opt for warm water because it’s easier to drink and will boosts your internal temperature. After 20-40 ounces of water it’s time to ramp things up with coffee– hold the creamer. You’ll never need  to drop $40 on a fancy pre-workout drink, coffee is the go-to.


Coffee is key for early morning workouts
Coffee: The only pre-workout you need

3.)  Stand-Up

Getting up and moving is vital to working out in the A.M.  During sleep the spine decompresses, allowing the intervertebral disks to collect water, increasing stiffness in the spine.

And it’s not a good thing.

Standing up and moving will disperse the over-hydration and stiffness of the spine, allowing the spine to move more effectively and safely during training. Be up for an hour before spinal loading and warm-up thoroughly.

Bonus: If you’re workout includes squats and/or deadlifts consider performing a few exercises before at low intensity. Stability ball hamstring curls are a good option.

4.) Wear Layers

Maybe it’s the result of  living in Wisconsin and Colorado for last 20 years, but wearing layers ais essential to your warm-up.  After sleeping you’re muscles and joints are stiff and tight—not ideal for a workout. Added layers before your workout will increase core and ligament temperature to speed up your warm-up and improve workout quality.

Bonus: If you’re driving to the gym crank on the heat. I do this all times of the year for early morning workouts.

5.) Feast at night

If you’re able to feast at 4am more power to you, but most don’t do well with a full-belly during an intense workout. Instead, eat a big meal at night. Your carbohydrate stores won’t disappear while you sleep, they’ll be waiting for you in the morning.

A morning shake is doable for most, but keep it light.

Here’s my latest Creation:

6.) Go to Sleep Earlier

No brainer—right?

If you’re getting up an hour or two early you need to adjust your sleep patterns. You might get away with less than six hours/night for a few days, but doing so consistently will yield bad training sessions and poor recovery. Get at least six hours and adjust your schedule as needed.

Bonus: Struggling with sleep? Hack your Sleep here.

7.) Extended Warm-Up

Later in the day I dedicate 10-12 minutes to a solid dynamic warm-up, but morning requires a bit more time. Opt for 12-15 minutes of dynamic drills and movement prep early in the day. An extra 2-5 minutes isn’t much too ask for and it’s better than six weeks of bird-dogs, manual therapy, and a rickety low-back.

Wrap Up

Pre-dawn workouts are tough, but implementing these tips will get you training consistently regardless of your schedule. Get up early and take control by “doing you” first; you’ll set positive tone and seize the day.

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7 Tips to Get Un-sick

Cough, Cough. Cough, Cough. Sniffle, Sniffle.

You glance around to find the source of the wretched sound: There sits the red-nosed snot goblin –20 feet away, blasting away on curls between sets of sneezes.

A snot-filled secretion spray projects through the air, splattering the dumbbells for the sixth time; you suddenly become aware of the season: Flu Season.


You’re thinking, “there goes the rest of my workout, I don’t want what that guy has.” The gym already holds tons of bacteria from all everyone leaving their stank everywhere– how can you stay healthy?

Workout quality, sleep, and nutrition all suffer when you’re in the grips of a cold; therefore, it’s best to avoid getting sick in the first place.

Proper nutrition, hydration, and basic hygiene are simple, but neglected behaviors that have a huge impact on your health and workouts.

Get (UN-Sick)

That first throat tickle or sniffle doesn’t have to be a sentence to cough syrup and Kleenex. Here’s a few cold-killers to keep you healthy.

1.) Wash your poop-laced Hands

According to this study at Michigan State, only 5% of people properly wash their hands in public restrooms. That means as many as 95% of people are walking around with some grimy, fecal discharge on their hands.  Great.

Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds and hit your fingernails, between fingers, wrists, and   the forearms thoroughly.

Want to Simplify your Fitness and start making progress today? Click Here.

2.) Hold Your Breath

When someone coughs or sneezes hold your breath immediately. This can keep most of the airborne particles from the being inspired, decreasing your chances of getting sick.

3.) Drink More Water

Proper hydration is vital for optimal cell function. When fighting an illness your body temperature is elevated, increasing the need for fluids. The more water you pump into your body the faster your immune system will fight invaders.

4.) Avoid Booze

As tempting as “Hot Toddy’s may be they will keep you sick. Alcohol will dehydrate you, ruin  sleep quality, and depress your immune system. Sound like a recipe to stay sick? It is! Stick with water or green tea.

5.) Drink Green Tea

Green Tea is an antioxidant powerhouse. Studies show that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a  compound in green tea increases antibodies in the blood  to stop the replication of cold and flu viruses. If you’re getting sick drink pick up some high-quality green tea and drink up.

Want to Simplify your Fitness and start making progress today? Click Here.

6.) Take Vitamin D

 Notice how rarely you get sick in the summer and warm times of the year?

Cold and flu season takes place in winter; non-coincidently, most people become deficient of Vitamin D due to seasonal weather changes. Vitamin D supplementation provides a huge boost to the immune system. It’s hard to get too much vitamin D, as we consume copious amounts from the sun in warm months.

During cold and flu season supplement 2000-5000 IU’s of Vitamin D. Toxic levels have been reported at 60,000 IU’s per day for months on end, so don’t worry about getting too much.

7.) Exercise

Exercise is great for looking good naked, but it will also improve your immune function.

Hit the weights 3-4x per week plus a few days of high-intensity cardio, walk your dog, play a sport, or go do some yard work. Just go do something.

Already sick? You can still exercise, just lower the intensity and keep your germs to yourself.

8.) Sleep More

My Pooch Rocky Balboa
My Pooch Rocky Balboa


According to Michael Irwin, M.D., sleep researcher at UCLA , if your sleep decreases by greater than forty percent the effectiveness of your immune system declines by fifty percent. Aim for 8 quality hours of sleep per night.

It sucks to wake up with a congestion headache or itchy throat. These health and nutrition practices will keep you healthy and your workouts on track this season… while preventing the transfer of fecal bacteria—which is always a good thing.
Ready to get back in the gym? I‘ll answer all your questions!

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Chant, Ian. “Study Finds Only 5% of People Wash Their Hands Properly in Public Restrooms.” GeekoSystem. N.p., 11 6 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.geekosystem.com/hand-washing-study/>.


Immunity Granted.” Men’s Health. Rodale Inc., 11 11 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. .

Hack Your Sleep


If your sleep quality sucks so will your workouts. And your recovery. And your sex life. And your dietary decisions. And your mood. Yea, sleep  is pretty damn important.

Let me tell you a story.

My last two years of college I lived with 6 other guys. It was a blast; however, sleep quality was piss-poor. Specifically, I remember a heat wave during my last year of college. It was July with temperatures 95-105 for about a week straight, with heat indexes hanging out around 110.  Working two jobs, one which was outside all day, and then coming home to “chill” with 6+ dudes was brutal. We didn’t have air conditioning and it stayed about 90 degrees and humid inside all night long, it was as much fun as licking the inside of a toilet bowl. Never, ever have I appreciated the benefits of quality sleep.

Sleep is essential to many of the fundamental attributes for physical health, mental performance, and overall health. Aim to get at least 6 hours, as growth hormone and testosterone peak during sleep.

Plain and Simple, you need at least 6 hours of quality sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with:

  • increased body fat

  • higher stress levels

  • increased hunger

  • smaller muscles

  • less sex and sexual dysfunction

  • irritable behavior

  • earlier death

None of this sounds good to me, so getting high quality sleep is a huge priority. Is it really necessary to check your emails again?

No, F^*% that.

I’d rather have my muscle, intelligence, sanity, abs, and life.

As many as 30% of adults sleep less than six hours per night, the minimum you should try to get per night. Any less than six hours of sleep per night and your testosterone begins to plummet, growth hormone output decreases, and cortisol spikes. Sold on sleep?

Here are 7 Tips to Maximize Your Sleep

1. Turn your room into a cave

In order to fall asleep the body produces melatonin, a hormone that aids the body in relaxing enough to sleep. However, many of todays technologies such as cell phones, alarm clocks, tablets, and emit blue light that disrupts natural circadian rhythms.

For those who aren’t familiar, the circadian rhythm refers to our internal, 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes. To optimize melatonin production avoid screens 1-2 hours before bed and instead, opt for a book or other relaxing activity and cover all sources of light in your room.

2. Avoid Caffeine

Coffee and caffeinated drinks are great. I drink them when I need an extra boost for workouts or increased alertness early in the morning. When used correctly, caffeine can yield very productive days. Issue is, caffeine has a 6 hour half-life.

Unfortunately, this means that cup of Joe you slurp down at 10am still has caffeine flowing through your body when you’re prepping for sleep and trying to wind down in the evening. You probably don’t even feel the affects causes issues because caffeine disrupts sleep quality through decreased REM sleep, the deep sleep that your body utilizes to recuperate physically and emotionally.

3. Turn down the thermostat

This one takes me back to college. We had a brutal heat wave in Wisconsin (yes this happens), it was 95-105 for about a week straight with a heat index 110+. This would be bearable, but I happened to live in a stuffy house without A/C filled with 6 other guys. In other words, it sucked and I woke up every morning drenched in sweat and dehydrated.

Although sleeping temperature is highly variable from person to person, most scientists agree that slightly cooler temperatures than normal promote deeper sleep patterns.

4.Protein Before Bed

“What happened to eat after 8 gain weight?”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is a fallacy. When looking to build an awesome body it’s important to emphasize protein. My favorite before bed is cottage cheese, as the slow digesting casein proteins will provide amino acids to the muscles for hours to come. In addition,
Tryptophan, the amino acid popularized by post-Thanksgiving naps facilitates serotonin production. Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter that assists in sleep regulation.

5. Crush Carbs At Night

First protein at night, now carbs? Eric are you crazy?

Calm down junior, there is nothing wrong with carbs at night.

In fact, placing a bigger emphasis on carbohydrates at night will greatly benefit you sleep quality. Similar to tryptophan, carbohydrates facilitate seratonin production, aiding in improved sleep quality.

6. Have a Cheat Day

Cheat days during a diet are not only beneifical for your sanity but also for hormones such as leptin to keep results coming and sleep quality on par. Keeping consistent leptin levels is paramount  because leptin sends a message to stop eating when your body has fueled up enough. When at a caloric or sleep deficit, leptin decreases, making it more likely to overeat.
In short, this sucks.

When leptin decreases so does your rate of fat loss, which is why your diet may stall. By using a cheat day you can increase your leptin to spark fat burning. In conjunction with this increase in leptin levels the increased calories in your body will increase serotonin production, aiding in sleep quality similar to a huge holiday meal.

7. Set an evening routine

Our bodies like consistency due the consistency of ciradian rhythms. Try unwinding, avoiding P.M. stimulants, stimulating lights from electronics, and practice relaxation techniques such as stretching and meditation. In essence, instead of checking email and watching Mean Girls opt for a book and a comfy chair in a quiet area.

Your body will increase melatonin and serotonin production for higher quality, more restful sleep.

Quality sleep is the most overlooked and neglected factor when it comes to health, body composition improvement, and athletic development. Sleep is your time to improve and reap the benefits of your hard work in the kitchen and gym, maximize sleep to maximize your gains.

How can you improve your sleep? Do you have any tips or tricks?

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