Jun. 16. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Hey guys! It’s been over a year and a half (!!) since I’ve shared my morning routine on the blog and I was surprised how many of you really enjoyed it. I still get emails about it! That tells me one thing, you like some guidance and appreciate a template to “build your own”! Just like seasons of life change, seasons and the weather change, too, so I like to adjust my morning routine for the time of the year. I shared my first morning routine post in January, which is an incredibly busy time in my business, coaching many new clients, and getting a kick start for the new year. My mornings started very early and I made sure to get in my self-care to keep my stamina up for a busy season.

Besides taking yoga teacher training this summer (!), I have more space to chill, do admin things in the business, and reorganize for the next busy season, fall. So I’ve updated my mornings to reflect that and maybe it’ll help you guys keep some routine when you’re feeling the slowness summer brings. Plus the hot sun and heat can take a toll on your body so I’ve added in a few steps to combat the effects of the heat and sun. Keep reading for the updated routine and how you can modify your own routine for what your body needs during the time of year!


+ 6:00 am: wake up only looking at my phone to turn off my alarm and putting it away. I still say an intention or mantra for the day to stay centered and grounded. My favorites as of late are “I am whole”. I also like to take the time to run through several things I’m grateful for before writing in my Five Minute Journal – I LOVE this thing and have all my clients do it.

 6:15 am

Drink a liter of room temperature water with lemon while heating up water for a Matcha Tea Latte or Coffee Elevated (depending on the day ahead). I always start the day with a liter of water, and yes, while it seems like a lot, think about how your body hasn’t had any hydration for the 8 or so hours you’ve been sleeping! It’s especially important to stay hydrated in the summer since it’s much warmer and you’re most likely sweating more than usual. After filling up on water, I’ll have a pre-workout green smoothie, green juice, or piece of fruit before hitting the gym. I like to keep it super simple since I personally like a lighter stomach when working out.

+ Intermission: things like using the bathroom (if you need help with digestion let’s chat 1-1), snuggling with my love, walking to the gym, taking Luna out to go potty and walk, etc. 

7:00 am

Move that bod time! Along with my routine, my workouts vary from season to season, and then I also switch them up on a weekly basis to make sure I’m muscle building (adding in hypertrophy exercises) followed by body weight and plyometrics (adding in higher cardio fat burning exercises). Again, I know my body and this is how I’ve designed my workouts to be, but everyone is so different. Depending on my workout or what my morning schedule looks like with work, I’ll happily walk Luna around the neighborhood for a good 45 minutes to an hour. I’ve also been rotating boxing and Barre3 workouts to get in cardio and muscle building. It really depends on the day, but I always try to get at least some form of movement going in the morning.

8:30-9:00 am

Back home, if I have time I’ll hop in my infrared sauna for about 20 minutes (which is a total game changer). Before the infrared days I would sit in the sauna at the gym after my workout and get in my sweat sesh then. Just be mindful during the hotter summer months that you aren’t getting too hot. If you ever start to feel woozy or unwell, then you’re too hot! Start using a sauna in small periods of time like 10 minutes, then work your way up from there. I still practice contrast showering aka showering with alternating hot and cold water. It’s not as bad as it sounds, especially in the summer when things are warmer and I’ve just been sweating like crazy in the sauna. Towards the end of my shower, I do about 20 seconds hot, 10 seconds cold and back again for several rounds, the last round is a cold round and then I hop out. More info: contrast showering not only wakes up your nervous system but is also a form of cold thermogenesis which does far more than burn fat. It also dilates your blood vessels allowing a greater flow of oxygen to your cells, activites BAT (brown adipose tissue – the kind of fat that actually burns white fat), increases cell longevity, betters your immune system, and just wakes you up on a mental/spiritual level! Start small with just 10 seconds of cold water at the very end of your shower and then hop out. Letting your body naturally come back up to normal temperature also allows it to adapt and work a little harder to get back to basal. Obviously I get not everyone has access to a sauna and that’s totally fine, but the name of the game is to just sweat it out at some point in your day.

9:00-9:15 am

Meditation time! Still my favorite time of the day. I light a candle to burn sage and wood incense then start reading. Some days I’m fine without reading and I just want to hop right into meditate on intentions and let it flow. Some days I’ll just spend time reading out of one of my favorite books, including The Power of Now, Awakening the Buddha Within, 10% Happier, Big Magic, Rising Strong, 40 Rules of Love, etc. (Check out my AMAZING instagram post where the NS community shared their favorite books, it’s such a great reference for mindful-centered books.) Again, I realize not everyone has the freedom of setting their own schedule and practice a long morning routine, but the goal with meditation is to just do it, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. (I’ll be writing a blog post soon on meditation 101, what I’ve learned, how I set up my space, etc.)


Breakfast time! Depending on my workout intensity and goals that season, I’ll mix things up. Usually in the summer I’ll do something cold like Overnight Oats, fruit with a Mood Boosting Cocoa Smoothie, or a smoothie bowl like the Banana Blast Smoothie Bowl. Depending on the time of year and my needs, I’ll follow breakfast with probiotics and supplements to make sure I’m getting everything I need. I swim a lot year round but especially in the summer so I literally take all precautions I can to keep my hair really strong against the chlorine since it’s so long! If you remember me chatting about Beauty Foods 101, I shared I’ve been trying the New Chapter’s Perfect Hair, Skin & Nails supplement (which you can grab here). It’s made with Astaxanthin from organic algae that is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, maintain a youthful appearance, and improve skin elasticity (1, 2).* They also feature superfood botanical blends including organic probiotic-fermented herbs such as Aloe, Maca and Chamomile blended for stress, energy & digestive support* (1), which as you know are key areas that can affect skin health. Also, I shared my summer hair care routine as well and I definitely do all of those things to help it topically from too much heat, damage from chlorine in the pool, etc., which has been really helpful.

9:30-10ish am

Start work feeling refreshed, focused, and energized to power through straight until lunch with a couple breaks to grab tea or a quick walk. Throughout my work day I try to be as mindful as possible of my breath and always having a mind-body connection which takes a lot of practice. I have a hunch this is a lifelong practice, and I’m okay with that. I really enjoy using the Productivity Planner which basically is a to-do list journal. I use both digital AND written to-do lists to help me stay organized throughout the day. This journal, in particular, has you set up tasks and complete them in 25-minute increments which is really nice. I’ll keep breathing and really set a good pace knowing each 25 minutes I’ll take a 2-minute break to stand up, shake it out, or switch tasks. I’ll be sharing more mindful meditations you can do during your work day as I’m learning so many during yoga teacher training!

I take the morning routine very seriously. Partially because I’ve done it for almost 10 years in some fashion, but also because it keeps me grounded, focused, and super productive. There’s nothing worse than waking up and constantly feeling like you’re trying to “catch up” for the entire day – remember to give yourself some space where you can!

I realize not everyone has the flexibility to set their own schedule and you may have a commute, kids, early shifts, night shifts, etc. The goal with a morning routine is to give yourself space to start your day refreshed, centered, and nourished. Your morning routine may be just 30 minutes and include eating a healthy breakfast followed by a quick walk and 5-minute meditation. I hope that my routine can be a formula for you to follow to set yourself up for a balanced day. Your morning should include the things that make you feel awake and inspired. Think about how you can fit them into your morning. Can you wake up a little earlier? Can you meal prep your breakfast so that you save time in the morning? Do you need something like a sunrise alarm clock that helps you get up naturally? Make your morning routine work for YOU and the season of your life!

What about you?

So what does your morning routine look like? I’d love to know, especially if you have a different set up than me (kids, commute, etc.). Share yours in the comments and let’s get the convo going!

xx McKel


  1. Yamashita, Eiji. The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing Astaxanthin on Skin Conditions. Life Science Division, 930-0397 (2006).
  2. Phetcharat et. al. The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity. Clinical Interventions in Aging. (2015).

This post is sponsored by the New Chapter team; all opinions remain my own and sponsored posts help to support Nutrition Stripped! Always chat with your physician when/if adding supplements to your routine.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. ** Certified Organic by International Certification Services, Inc., Medina, ND, USA