Why Reading About the Morning Routines of Famous People Is Unhealthy

It's time to stop marveling at these fishy itineraries

Why Reading About the Morning Routines of Famous People Is Unhealthy

An article by Marina Koren in The Atlantic recently reconsidered the merit of morning routine round-ups. You know, when media sites have overachievers in various industries explain their “better” wake-up rituals. You’ve definitely read one before, perhaps even on InsideHook. In them, designers, chefs, athletes and other fabulous people detail waking up before dawn to run six miles, make a banana-turmeric smoothie, take an extensive ice bath and solve The New York Times crossword puzzle.

Or, something of that ilk. It’s long been customary to marvel at these itineraries; after all, if tennis, weight lifting and kite surfing each morning brought Richard Branson this far, surely we should all be cramming in as much exercise as possible for work. However, Koren makes the rare, important point that comparing our mornings to the wildly successful is a waste of time, and ultimately unhealthy.

Let’s stay with Branson for a moment. When he started his first couple of successful businesses (a magazine called Student, in 1966, then Virgin Records in the early 1970s), Branson wasn’t playing tennis every single morning. He was hustling to nab an interview with Mick Jagger, or busy signing the Sex Pistols. The freedom to live a ridiculous, sport-filled morning is the byproduct of decades of ridiculous success. Comparing your morning — a half-dozen snoozes, Frosted Flakes, dropping the kids off for school — to that of a billionaire is just going to make you feel bad about yourself.

Of course, these profiles don’t always just focus on billionaires; The New York Times publishes “Sunday Routine,” which delves into the end-of-week mornings (and afternoons) of just about any mildly interesting person in the city. But these profiles are suspicious, too. A recent recounting of an up-and-coming comedian’s Sunday had her biking from Fort Green to the West Village, which is an absolute hike. Does she do that every Sunday? Maybe! It doesn’t necessarily matter. That’s how the routine is presented, and readers are left wondering why they haven’t been taking advantage of their Sundays in the same manner.

Our take: look for “stealable” items when you come across one of these profiles. If you see something that piques your interest, try it out next Tuesday morning. But don’t do so at the cost of a good night’s sleep. Recovery and restoration is more important in the long-run than feeling like you measure up to the (claimed) traditions of people you’ve never met.

Oh, and whatever you do … never attempt Mark Wahlberg’s morning routine. In all likelihood, it’s completely real, and would explain quite a bit.

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