5:30am: Good morning to Katy Bowman, as this is time check started her day. Good morning to my 86-year-old mom (who’s already been up for a while). And good morning to my wife, who can run fine on minimal sleep, lots of sleep, segmented sleep, or anything in between. Brad on the other hand is still way asleep…please check back later.
6:30 am: Still asleep, please check back later….
7:00 am: Still asleep. I have required tons of sleep, more than my peers, dating back to high school, college, and obviously during my career as a pro triathlete. Part of my bombing out of college cross-country and track teams was my pure inability to exist in the late hours of the dorms and then be up running at 8am. I competed on the professional triathlon circuit for nine years (’86-’94) and was literally asleep for half of my career: 10 hours every night and a two-hour nap most days. In the off-season, I was so fried from my heavy race schedule (15-20 events/year) and transcontinental jet travel that I would sleep from 10 pm to 10 am for a couple of months before regulating. Today I realize that I need 8.5 hours minimum and over 9 hours if it’s on the heels of a challenging training day. This is usually from 10:30 pm-7:30 am.
Deep down, I know sleep is important and I’m pleased to be able to optimize, but I sometimes feel insecure about my penchant. “Am I just being a wuss? Still stuck in my previous pattern as a pro athlete? How can my wife have so much more energy than me? Should I man up like Jocko, take some 4:30am wristwatch snapshots for Instagram, and slam a good workout before the sun rises?” Sorry, I can’t answer right now, I’m still asleep.
7:30 am: Average wake-up time. Within a few minutes, I’m standing in front of my Mito Red Light panel for a three-minute session exposing my eyeballs, and other important balls, to red and near-infrared light. The research is incredibly strong that red light therapy boosts mitochondrial function, which is especially beneficial to eyesight and testosterone production. One thing I notice is that if I’m a little groggy (often the case, even after banking nine hours of sleep – wtf!), I feel instantly energized in the first minute of red light exposure. I don’t stare directly but my eyes are open and rolling in direction at about a 6″ distance. (Note: manufacturers always recommend using eye protection. I operate on the principle of never straining the eyes with light, and keep my eyes open accordingly.)
Immediately after my quick red light stint, I go outside and hit the deck to commence my morning exercise routine. I’ve done this daily for six years running. It started very modestly with 12 minutes of leg mobility drills, and now my template takes 40 minutes and features some pretty challenging exercises–but not that challenging for me, since I do the sequence every day!
After the morning routine, I often transition immediately into a formal workout (sprint or high jump session at track), endurance bike ride, CAROL sprint stationary bike workout, or strength training session at home or the gym. My athletic training is almost always first thing in the morning only. Learn more about my comprehensive online course, Developing the ultimate morning exercise routine.
8:10 am—10:00 am: Exercise time ends, either earlier (morning routine only) or later (morning routine + elaborate workout). After exercise, I’ll prepare a huge bowl of fresh fruit and a huge B.rad Whey Protein Superfuel smoothie with creatine, MOFO, and other Ancestral Supplements capsules.
10:00 am: Start office work—a podcast interview or recording, or computer work. My goal is to commence an “Hour of Power” modeled after my Hour of Power morning exercise, but I often succumb to email and online errands/housekeeping instead.
10:00 am—2:00 pm: Usually at home working unless I have appointments. I take frequent breaks for 5-20 minutes for a quick visit to Plunge tub or my Almost Heaven barrel sauna, or to prepare a lunch featuring eggs and/or steak or ground beef.
2:00 pm: Typical nap time. I nap 5-6 days a week and it’s almost always between 20-30 minutes. Often my need to nap is extreme, especially after a hard morning workout. This makes me wonder if I have an energy regulation problem, or am coming down with a pandemic illness. However, when I wake up I feel incredibly refreshed. Sometimes I think it’s morning. I almost always actually fall asleep during these naps. Setting the raindrops App on my iPhone is a reliable trigger.
A lot of people say they can’t nap, and I think it’s a learned skill. Just get into a dark, quiet area and lay quietly—it’s a great break from the frenzy of the day. With warm sunny weather, I’ll sleep in the sun with my face in the shade. In the wintertime, I’ll sleep in my pitch-dark recording studio.
3:00-6:00 pm: Usually more work, or something taking me outside the house such as social occasions or errands.
6:00 pm: Typical dinner time. I enjoy dining out at specialized restaurants such as street taco vendors or Japanese happy hour, but I’m becoming more fond of my home cooking and less enthused about dining out. One, I’m noticing how loud, hectic, and disruptive restaurant dining is. It’s hard to have an intimate conversation with the racket and the constant server interactions. I sound old and cranky I know, and perhaps experiencing some hearing loss where background noise causes trouble.
Two, I’m becoming more offended by the reality that virtually all restaurants use refined industrial seed oils to prepare their foods. I’m not sure what it will take or when it will change….Meanwhile, I’m also noticing that I’m enjoying a streamlined diet of stuff I really love and with minimal variety. Butcher Box supplies most of my meat, and I also enjoy lots of pastured eggs, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes (especially the purple inside & out Japanese variety), and extremely high-quality sourdough and other fresh baked bread, which I pan fry with lots of butter to enjoy my ribeye or ground beef with.
7:00 pm: Hopefully a walk in the neighborhood or a quick Speedgolf outing before dark. After my 15-year-old dog Lucy Stu passed in 2022, I notice we’re not as consistent with an evening walk. When an animal is counting on you, it transcends the fickle forces of motivation and willpower. A wintertime evening jacuzzi session is also a reliable way to unwind from my minimally stressful day.
8:00 pm: I wish I could say I always knock off work at 6 pm, but often I have lengthy interruptions to my day during traditional work hours, so I often will squeeze in more work time. Not really happy to report this here. I long for the days when there was more work-life separation. Twenty years ago, I remember biking home from my office—always to beat darkness–to spend the evening with my young children. Office desktop computer was my sole connection to the Internet, so everything waited till the next day–remember those days?!
9:00 pm: Streaming entertainment? I am all or nothing here. I think most stuff is crap and am especially annoyed by salacious, low-brow, high-shock value programming, which I believe can be actually harmful to mental health. As a writer, I can’t stand to watch a show with shitty writing. It drives me crazy. I watched a movie recently (“People We Hate At A Wedding”) and some of the lines were so lame I was compelled to email the screenwriter with specific and thoughtful critical feedback. “The joke about eating Doritos was not appropriate, and interrupted the flow of an important scene; that character was uninventive, sensationalized, and further marginalizes an already marginalized group…” It was not taken in good spirit, as the reply was, “Leave me alone, you creep.”
That said, if I discover something I enjoy, I will binge like a champ! Except for when the clock strikes 10 pm, I completely fade. Mia Moore, who is often getting a second wind at 10 pm, makes fun of me about this—my brain goes blank and I’m headed to bed, even if it’s a great show. “Save it for tomorrow,” I slur upon my exit.
10:30 pm: It’s almost always lights out by this time. I would love to say that I read leisurely in bed, and I have a nice stack of books next to my bed for this purpose, but I’m almost always too tired and I don’t even try. I go down for the count, and don’t rise until 7:30 am the following morning.
Here is some of my favorite recent programming if you’re interested:
Track&Field programming on YouTube (or occasionally on TV).
Jury Duty series on Amazon Prime Freebee. One of the greatest TV programs ever made. Fake documentary about serving on Jury Duty where everyone is an actor, except for one guy named Ronald. In the manner of The Truman Show movie with Jim Carey.
The Eric Andre Show—some of the most ridiculous, crazy, zany stuff I have ever seen on television. Not for everyone, for very few really
Bad Trip (a hilarious movie with Eric Andre and Tiffany Haddish).
Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David one of the best TV characters of all time, JB Smoove as Leon one of the best of all time.
The Office (only with my daughter—she’s the biggest fan of the show).
Full Swing—a reality show about pro golfers on Netflix.
Everest Beyond The Limit—see my podcast episode about this series.
I’ll also tune into the occasional movie sometimes—I do love the movie theater experience as you get the non-distracted experience. But with films, I have a time limit: you’ve got 20 minutes to regale me, or I bail.