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Kirsty Barker – My Morning Routine

Kirsty Barker – My Morning Routine

Kirsty Barker is an Exeter based Landscape Architect.  She also happens to be part of a three woman team in training for the biggest challenge of their lives later this year; a 3000 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean!  It’s a 90 day challenge that would bring the strongest of us to our knees! We caught up with Kirsty earlier this month to find out how she gets her day in gear….

How does your morning get going?

Before I begin, I should probably mention that I am rowing the Atlantic next December, so now as well as working 9-5 as a public realm designer I have to train… a lot! So, you guessed it, my morning gets going with…training (and coffee)!

How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I quickly realised this autumn that if I didn’t start getting in gear earlier in the mornings, I would never fit in training, work, family, and Atlantic admin, whilst also having some semblance of a social life! So early morning exercise it is! 8 weeks in and counting…

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

It’s gotten earlier and so longer. My commute though has also gotten much, much shorter so that’s a plus.  I now live in viewing distance of the office, but it’s on the quay so I’m ok with that.

What time do you go to sleep?

I used to be awful at going to bed early. Treat yourself to a couple of half 5 starts though and you’ll quickly learn that trying to get to bed at 10 is a must!

Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

I wish! I was speaking to a friend about this and they fill the kettle up, put their breakfast bowls out and put out their clothes – none of these things have EVER occurred to me. Maybe this will make me change my ways?

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Have to! Although now that I’m getting up earlier my body has a habit of waking up 5 mins before the alarm. So annoying!

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

Before I work-out I normally have a snack like a banana or something light. Then afterwards it’s a big bowl of porridge and honey; perfect for the chilly mornings.  

Do you have a morning workout routine?

Sure do. Unfortunately rowing the Atlantic doesn’t come easy…. guess it wouldn’t be worth it if it did! Monday to Thursday I’ll go over to the gym and either do a long session on the rowing machine, or some low intensity, high rep weights.  I give myself Friday morning off and train in the evening instead; I am human after all!

Do you have a morning meditation routine?

I really wish I did! The row will be 90% mental, so this is definitely something I need to practise over the next year. My brain has a habit of always being in standby mode rather than off!

Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

I don’t have work emails on my phone. I’d like to say this is due to me having a clear work/ life balance, but really it’s because I haven’t worked out how to connect them – maybe this is a good thing!

Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

Spotify is a must! Love listening to music in the mornings when I’m getting ready. Unfortunately my playlists often consist of early 00’s cheese or perhaps even worse, 80’s ballads. I save the on-trend playlists for when others are around of course.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Unfortunately it’s my alarm, so I get caught out by the notification dots early on!

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Breakfast. Food is always a main task.  Now I think of it I also have a habit of cleaning just before I leave. I think I just like coming back from work and not having any chores.

What and when is your first drink in the morning?

Aside from water at the gym, coffee is a must!  I always make a big pot when I get into work; I wouldn’t say it’s an addiction, just perhaps a relationship I can’t give up.

Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

Have to change it up. At the weekends I take things a bit slower; meet up with friends, do a park-run and have breakfast on the quay.  Training comes after, so I just need to make sure I’m not too full of hollandaise.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

I’m awful with motivating myself when away. My excuse is that you can’t pack a rowing machine in hand luggage!

What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

If I’m not able to train in the morning, I end up putting it off, and off, and off.  Maybe I’ll do it at lunchtime…nope.  Maybe straight after work…damn I sat down.  Oh it’s 7 o’clock…great now you won’t finish until 9! So yes, morning training is a must!


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