Morning Experiments: Starting The Day With Sun, Sweat and Energy

The first time I got online and understood what the internet was capable of, I became completely fascinated and totally transfixed by it.

I have a pretty addictive personality and when I find something I like I go really deeply into it. When I saw how much the internet had to offer and the endless opportunities it offered to learn, build, design, connect and make money I was hooked.

Many years later I am still hooked. My natural instinct (driven by my insane curiosity about online marketing campaign performance) is to wake up and race to the computer right away to see what happened during the night. It’s the first thing I think about.

What’s working?
Did anything change?
Did anything break?

Because of this fixation I have spent the last several years worth of mornings rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and immediately staring at the computer screen.

Computers Take Energy

What I find is that this ritual of waking up and immediately staring at the computer screen drains my energy and puts me into a loop of screen obsession that I can’t break until it’s time to go to bed.

This obviously isn’t a very healthy way to spend my day so – as I’ve written about here before I’m trying to do different things for that first hour of the morning to see how it impacts the rest of the day.

So far the results are good and it seems that as long as I do anything other than work – I end up having a better day.

Sun and Sweat Give Energy

One of the things I’ve been doing to escape the computer screen in the mornings is taking my bike out for a morning ride around the streets of Hollywood.

There are many benefits to doing this:

  1. I’m out of the house, away from the screen
  2. I’m getting sun which naturally stops melatonin production and wakes me up
  3. I’m getting exercise
  4. I get to watch the city wake up and all the crazy stuff that happens in the mornings

Spending the first 30 minutes to an hour of my day outside, on the bike away from the computer puts me in a great zone for the rest of the day. I get a little sweat going, my blood starts pumping and my body feels totally alive and awake.

When I do finally sit down to do some work and check my campaigns I’m in a much better mindset to make good decisions. And by not getting sucked into the internet first thing in the morning I don’t get sucked into it for the rest of the day.

Documenting the Process

Last week I took my iPhone out and filmed my morning bike ride. I wanted to share what I was doing and have a little fun by showing you what my neighborhood looks like.

During the video several things happened:

  1. I almost crashed trying to film and ride at the same time
  2. I explain why I might be selling my car
  3. I witness a police + Marijuana smoker situation
  4. I go into a rant about why laws, money and the rest of our lives may not be real

[Watch the Video Below]


That’s what I’m doing now to start my day. If you happen to be in Hollywood, CA around six o’clock in the morning and see a guy with tattoos, filming himself while riding a bike – that’s going to be me, trying to kick things off right.


If you’re doing computer-based work it can be really tempting to stick your face in the computer screen immediately after waking up.

I have found that by going outside and getting some sun and exercise for the first 30 minutes to an hour can set you up for a more productive and fulfilling day.

You can go for a bike ride, a walk, or just sit outside on the porch and watch the clouds. Anything seems to work. It’s nice, it’s relaxing and may just help you have a better day.

Give it a shot and let me know how it feels.

  • Edgar Ochoa

    Nice! Streets of LA… Where you’ll get to experience “interesting” things…

    Anyways, thanks for this useful tip Malan. I known I’m guilty of this habit… Of waking up in the morning and jump straight into the phone or computer :/

    I have to work on this for sure.

    Also, I have been taking power naps later in the day… And man, these work! Much better than coffee for sure!

    Thanks again Malan!

    • Malan Darras

      i think most of do it (wake up and check things). I do it about 50% of the time and the other 50% i do other things. Sometimes because I really need to check something out – and other times because it just sucks me in.

      and yeah the naps are pretty spectacular. I’ve been doing a 20-30min nap at about 2pm for several months straight now – look forward to it after my first big two meals after fasting. works perfectly.

      *tip: try taking a shot or double shot of espresso before your 20 min nap. the caffeinie hits about the time you wake up and it’s a super-buzz.

      • Edgar Ochoa

        Oh, nice Malan… Shot of espresso just before your power nap..?? Never heard of this… Gotta try tho!!! Thanks man!

  • Dan Castro

    Great post Malan… Going to try the shot before nap thing and see how it works out.

    Cheers dude!

    • Malan Darras

      it works, be sure not to sleep longer than 15 minutes, 20 mins tops. set an alarm.

  • Andrea Costa

    who doesn’t want to check the campaigns after the night? lol too addicted, when i wake up is the first thing i do too.
    After i check it out, i feel kind of relieved that everything went as i thought.
    For sure not healthy, sun is good and you are definitely right malan

    • Malan Darras

      Andrea, yeah it’s fun 🙂 my thing is that if I sit down and check things out – – i can get stuck there for an hour or two. Trick for me is to peek in and make sure things are good, if they are – get out of the house.

  • Mareks

    Tried not to work, but instead mowed my grass in the morning. Interesting experience, thanks for giving me this idea.

    • Malan Darras

      hey Mareks – it’s amazing what you can get done when you’re not sitting there refreshing the stats all day 🙂

  • Ben O

    Great post Malan. Definitely found having a workout, going for a surf or a walk as a great way to start the day. Morning surf sessions are one of the best perks of living in hawaii.

    It’s easy to pull out phone/computer and check out stats but its not the path to increasing #’s. You have limited willpower/focus in the day. Why waste it on things that you have no control over or add zero value to your life?

    Starting the day out slower and being more deliberate I’ve found is the key to focusing on the processes that move the ball forward. i used to check stats/FB/[insertdigitaladdictionhere]. When you start the day out going on FB/Twitter/Stats etc you start the day out consuming when you really should be focused on how to get the most of out your day because that is what will take you closer to your goals.

    If you’re addicted to checking stats/FB, get over it. Get out of your comfort zone and see what you can accomplish with real focus. If you’re at scale, you should hire someone else to do that so you can focus on your unique ability, where you can add value to the chain.

    First things first.

    • Malan Darras

      thanks Ben. i’ve only been to Hawaii once, but loved it. the lifestyle seemed really laid back and easy going. very different from the hustle and bustle of LA

  • Remy

    Great post. I’ve also read about how the sun naturally wakes up your body so you can start your day and hopefully be tired when it’s time to go to bed at night. I like to open all the windows and let the sun in and then go outside and sit for a while and think.

    • Malan Darras

      yes, i think it’s Melatonin, a natural thing your body releases to help you sleep. When the sun hits your body, it stops making melatonin – when you put yourself in the dark it starts making melatonin again. that’s why they recommend not having iPads/computers in bed – sometimes the screen can confuse your body into thinking it’s getting sun – so it stops producing your natural sleep aid.

      • Remy

        Did not know about computer screens in bed. I am guilty of taking my iPad to bed and reading till all hours of the night about anything affiliate. But if I’m reading a book I’m out before I know it. Great info. Thanks.

  • Nikolai

    Great post! Might implement this, been thinking of getting that into my morning routine. Its super-important to do creative start in the morning, when head is fresh and mind is not framed by itself.. And ideas often come when you walk; But walking is kinda boring and definitely not as energizing as biking! Anyway – keep em up 🙂