The Morning Routines of Top Club Operators

morning routines

Running a business is hard — especially if you start each day off on the wrong foot. Here, we asked a number of top club operators to share their morning routines and how they set up each day for success.

David Mortensen, President and Co-Founder | Anytime Fitness

My routine varies a bit, based on the time of the year.  But I have always tried to stay balanced in four important ways: Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Each of these elements needs constant reminders and attention to bring me back on course. Life’s noises can quickly throw you off track and with 20-plus years of marriage, five kids (ages 10 to 21), global and domestic travel, 250-plus employees, 4000-plus franchises, a new book — Love Work — emails, texts, daily meetings and just regular tasks, an equilibrium shift can be constant.

Being involved the fitness industry, you would think a daily workout would help keep me in balance. But even my workouts can be sporadic from time to time. The one constant I do have is taking 30 to 60 minutes every morning enjoying nature at its best. This form of meditation comes with all four seasons and whatever storm may be brewing that day. I dress accordingly and my dog, Afton, and I head out for our daily hikes.

Appreciating all that God has given, and allowing this time to decompress the prior day’s events, is crucial. Some mornings are better than others, but each serves as my opportunity to fuel for the day ahead. I have tried other forms of meditation, which I recommend, but this is the one best suited for me and serves as good bonding time with Man’s best friend.

Joe Cirulli, Founder | Gainesville Health and Fitness Center

I wake up at 4:30 a.m. two mornings a week to lift, and three days at 5:30 a.m. to do cardio. My bed is made before I shave. I have two cups of coffee and I’m off. Workouts and breakfast in and off to work. I start Monday mornings at 8 a.m. with my leadership team and go until 10:30 a.m. We make sure we’re all focusing on our objectives and moving in the same direction. I review my schedule for the week before I get to the club. Once there I walk through the entire club and the day begins. I think having a morning routine is critical to an individual’s success. The routine is what gets a person out of bed to get the day moving. After a while you don’t even have to think about it — it just become the norm.

Kristen Green, Executive General Manager | AquaFit

My morning routine actually starts the night before my day. At the end of my work day, before I leave, my preparation for the following day includes writing a “to do” list of my top key priorities for the next day before I leave work. This way, I have a clear focus for the following day. I also look at what appointments, meetings and fixed commitments I have scheduled, and plan and prepare as much as possible. Getting enough sleep is critical for a great start to the following day, so during the week, I will make sure I’m asleep at a reasonable hour.

Of course every day is different, but three of my key habits to start the day would be to reflect, exercise and have a nutritious breakfast. I try to spend 10 minutes in quiet meditation and reflection before I leave home, to help quieten my mind, reflect and allow time to express gratitude. Starting my day with some form of exercise, either resistance training or light cardio helps energize me, followed by a nutritious breakfast to fuel me for the day.

When I arrive at work, my day simply couldn’t start without a coffee. Before I get to my desk and formally start the day, I will always take time to catch up with our reception team to check in on their morning, and make sure that I speak with as many of my team as possible to simply say “good morning” and let them know my plans for the day.

Bill McBride, President and CEO | Active Wellness

I’m more of a night owl than an early bird. And yes, I know about catching the worm and the benefits of early rising. My morning routine consists of waking up, getting a big cup of coffee, reviewing my critical items list from the day before, and handling the most critical time-sensitive items early in the day. I take and make my calls walking whenever possible. I tend to break my day into “chunks:” Morning set up/handling critical items; Connection/decision time mid/late day; Critical thinking, strategy, entrepreneur time and substantive project time in the mid and late evening when I have no or limited distractions.

I tend to do my workouts in the mid or late afternoons, counter intuitive to first thing in the morning. I have more energy after I have made sure the day is on track and I tend to gain energy later in the day based on how I have structured my schedule. I believe in occasional late afternoon naps to recharge. I eat a mid-late morning breakfast (preferably after exercising) and a late lunch with more of an evening light meal/snack.  

I’m not advocating that my routine is right for everyone or even optimal, but it works for me. The key is preparation the day before on what you want to accomplish the next day and being flexible to adjust in real time to make every day productive and not get trapped in the non-important/urgent quadrant. I try to get proper rest, nutrition, activity, and stay focused on my goals. I try not to let my day happen to me, but to make my day happen in a productive manner.

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