The 23 Minute Post-Run Routine that Builds Strength, Recovery, and Mental Toughness

Stretching after workout.

To run — as defined by our friends at Google — is to, “move at a speed faster than a walk.”

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if training was that simple?

The thing is, no matter if you’re training for a 5K or 50K ultramarathon, successful runners do a lot more than just run … something I haven’t always been willing to accept.

I’m the kind of guy that loves to run — weekend-long trial runs are a highlight each week, and daily runs fill me with energy and excitement. But as I progressed in distance and worked towards goals, it became clear I’d need to do more than just move at a speed faster than a walk to be successful.

If I could take care of my mind, legs, and nutrition, I’d speed recovery, and stay focused and injury-free.

The only problem? Nothing got me as excited as the act of running.

So I had to make a shift that would change everything. That shift?

To consider each run not as just the time on the road or trail, but the entire workout experience.

And it’s that viewpoint — which I share with you below — that helps me finish 100-mile ultramarathons and helps my coaching clients meet their goals.

Why Runs Don’t Stop When Your Watch Does

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How Not to Be the Punchline of the Vegan-at-a-Dinner-Party Joke (Rewind)

Leadership. Male Professor Shouting Though Megaphone Against Cha

We’ve all been there …

“Welcome to the BBQ, enjoy your carrots!” 

That moment at a restaurant, party, or dinner when all of a sudden people realize you’re vegan or vegetarian, and don’t know how to react. Before you can even say a word, someone gets defensive or pokes fun of your diet.

So what do you do? Usually, we react in one of two ways. Either:

  1. You use it as an opportunity to make a point, defend your diet choice, and maybe even convince a few people, or
  2. You brush it off and keep the mood light, in an attempt to make veganism appear as normal as possible.

I’m not saying either of these better than the other; I respect both choices. But I know the one that I choose, almost every single time.

In today’s episode, Matt and I bring back one of our most popular episodes ever, were we discuss those two approaches to handling uncomfortable situations at parties, with family, and while out to dinner. And we also discuss how sometimes it’s the simplest approach that has the biggest impact.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why your diet makes others uncomfortable
  • Matching a joke with a joke to defuse an uncomfortable situation
  • Is eating cheese worse than wasting cheese?
  • Why Doug ate a non-vegan dish at a family breakfast … and why he thinks this was the right choice

Click the button below to listen now:

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7 Foods Worth Eating Every Single Day (and How to Make Sure You Actually Do It)

I know, nobody needs another “25 Can’t-Miss Superfoods” slideshow that makes you click “Next” 24 times.

Because as far as actually helping us to eat better, lists like these are pretty worthless.

The problem? None of them helps you to eat these foods habitually. We see the list, we make a mental note to eat more X, Y, and Z, and then we forget we ever read it as soon as someone sends us a cat video.

With that in mind, I present my version of the ubiquitous list — with a twist.

Although the foods here are the ones I actually do try to eat every single day, more importantly, I explain how I make sure to eat each one. And by making these foods a regular part of certain daily meals — salad, smoothie, etc. — you can make it an automatic habit that each and every day, the diet you eat is built around not just a random assortment of whole, plant-based foods, but the healthiest ones you can possibly eat.

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Rethinking Morning Routines

Notebook on wooden table

There’s no shortage of morning routine advice on the internet … including an older episode of No Meat Athlete Radio.

It typically goes something like this:

Do what I do and you’ll be more productive, creative, and cool.

But that’s not how self improvement works. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to habits, nor is there one for what to do when you get your butt out of bed in the morning.

Today Matt and I share our new take on the morning routine, and the habits and structures we think work (and why other approaches might not).

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Doug calls you out
  • Does other morning routine advice get it wrong?
  • Why the simplest habits are often the hardest to keep
  • How we structure our mornings
  • A morning routine formula

Click the button below to listen now:

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Make Time for Yourself (And Make Yourself Happy)

Game of chess

Matt is a wanna-be chess nerd.

That’s right, when Matt isn’t working on No Meat Athlete, hanging with his family, cooking, or going to the gym, he’s geeking out on chess.com tutorials.

And that’s probably exactly what he should be doing.

It’s easy to get so caught up in work, family, and other obligations that you never make time for yourself, and when you don’t make time to do things that bring you joy, it’s hard to bring joy into the other things you do.

In today’s episode, Matt and I discuss the importance of hobbies, what makes for a good hobby, and why we think they’re so important.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • The most important habit
  • What makes for a good hobby?
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Why coffee kept Matt from meditating
  • The deal with disc golf

Click the button below to listen now:

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Our 12 Favorite Quick and Simple Plant-Based Meals

hot mexican burritoFor a long time, I thought eating healthy meant following strict, labor intensive recipes. Maybe because while growing up, quick meals were processed, oily, and generally included at least one box.

But over the years — as I started cooking plant-based food on my own — simple, fast, healthy meals became a weekday staple in my diet.

I now only use cookbooks when I have the extra time to cook something special, and I find that the best meals often feature only a few ingredients and take just 20 minutes to prepare.

Matt, with two kids and a busy schedule, has a similar story.

In today’s episode, we share our go-to quick and easy plant-based meals. The meals that we rely on week after week.

And the best part? Most of them are completely adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Plant-based pizza as a health food
  • Why we flock towards southwestern flavors
  • The humble potato
  • Can a salad be your dinner?

Click the button below to listen now:

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How to Use the First 20 Minutes of Your Morning to Transform Your Day

Cup

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

You may have heard people share their morning rituals. Hal Elrod has his well-known Miracle Morning, for example, and just about every productivity podcast guest has their own (I’m looking at you, Tim Ferriss).

The idea is to repeat a set of habits each morning that boost you into an ideal mental and emotional state. Many top performers use a morning routine to ensure they can perform at their peak productivity day in and day out.

I too have found a morning routine to be essential, but my reasoning is a bit different. Rather than focusing on productivity, I center my routine around happiness, energy, and joy.

My goal is to celebrate each and every day and show up as my best self.

The result often leads to productivity, but it’s about much more than that. Just as we shower and brush our teeth, a morning ritual is a kind of mental and emotional hygiene that can move us into a state of positivity and gratitude.

It’s helped me to be happier, laugh more, worry less, take myself less seriously, and keep perspective on what is truly important in life.

And do you know how long my morning routine takes?

Just 20 minutes. Yours could be even shorter.

How a Morning Routine Helped Me Find a Balance Between Healthy and Easy

Chances are you’ve faced this dubious question: Is the stress of being healthy actually worth it?

Experts tell us to hit the gym, pause for a mindfulness practice, cook meals, and say no to constant temptation, and all of a sudden our desire to look and feel our best results in a laundry list of chores.

It can feel like we put in so much effort and yet are always falling short — we could always run a little bit further, eat a little bit better, or meditate a little bit more. Not to mention that one vice or habit that we can’t seem to kick (mine has been soy lattes for months now).

I’ve certainly had moments in my journey where the self-imposed pressure created so much stress that I ended up doing more harm than good. But over the years, I’ve begun to dance with life and strike the right balance between being healthy and living well.

Because if what you’re doing makes you miserable, that’s not healthy. The end goal is a vibrant, abundant, balanced life rich in health, happiness, energy, connection, laughter, and joy.

I get there through the practice of a morning ritual, which has shifted my perspective and helped me stay connected to the bigger picture.

The 4 Essential Elements of A Life-Changing Morning Routine

A morning ritual is highly personal, and it may take some time for you to develop the routine that’s right for you. After years of trial and error, I recommend the four elements below, as I’ve found them to be the most effective in creating a marked improvement in well-being.

It’s super important to me that my routine is fun, and so I allow it be fluid and change things up when it starts to feel dull.

Here’s my current ritual, which you might use as a starting point to adapt as you see fit:

1) Meditation (10 minutes)

As I’ve written before, meditation is the single most transformative practice — it can improve immune function and memory, increase focus, and even physically change the structure of the brain — that I’ve ever adopted. I start every day with meditation, and my morning routine includes a minimum of 10 minutes.

Many people struggle getting started with meditation. If this is you, start with just three minutes per day or use the Headspace meditation app for an accessible approach that will guide you through a session.

2) Fun Yoga (5 minutes)

I follow meditation with a five-minute boost of fun yoga. I put on some music that I can’t help but dance to, and do a strange combo of yoga and dancing around for five minutes. Yes, it’s extremely nerdy, and yes, it’s incredibly effective.

Don’t underestimate the power of your favorite song to put you in a great mood. This combined with a short burst of morning exercise and movement gets the endorphins flowing and is guaranteed to make you feel great.

3) Gratitude (3 minutes)

Gratitude is going mainstream and just like meditation, it has a rapidly growing body of research supporting the efficacy of the practice. Here’s an overview of recent research from the Harvard Mental Health Letter. I follow the meditation and yoga with a couple minutes of giving thanks for the many blessings that daily life presents.

Some people keep a gratitude journal, or simply take a few minutes each day to write down three or four things they’re grateful for that day. It’s a fantastic way to keep track of the good things in your life.

And while it may sound and feel hokey at first, it’s so worth it.

4) Affirmation (2 minutes)

The final element of my routine is an affirmation. I came up with and wrote down a statement about how life is a short, precious, and fleeting affair, and that all experiences are beautiful and precious opportunities to grow. This statement resonates with me; certainly the one that lights you up will be different.

I read it in the morning as a close to my ritual. I’ve found that it helps me worry less about the challenges of work and life, and helps me to appreciate the small beautiful moments in life, like the changing color of the leaves that mark the seasons or the wonderful texture of an avocado.

But affirmations don’t have to be something you’ve written yourself. Find a simple, positive, confidence boosting statement that resonates with you, and repeat it each morning.

Start Now: Create Your Morning Routine

When establishing a morning routine, the first thing to consider is how well it fits into your life. Don’t let your morning routine balloon into a two-hour epoch that you never end up starting because it’s so immense.

Keep it simple, and take the small steps approach.

Add in just one element of your routine this week, and once that becomes a habit, add in a new element the following week.

Not sure where to start? You could use my routine as a guide, or you could choose something that sounds the most interesting or fun. Maybe that’s:

As with all healthy habits, the most important (and often most difficult) part is to simply begin. To help you get started, I created a free PDF that will you walk you through the steps of creating your morning routine in just a couple minutes.

And finally, don’t wait. Do this right now so you can bring more balance and happiness into your life.

Pick a day to start your morning routine, and put it on your calendar.

Because who knows, that date could be the start of something worth waking up early for.

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Tony Robbins, Human Needs, and Reshaping the Way You Think

This party's on fire

When I hear the name Tony Robbins, I think of a giant dude, dancing crowds, and walking on coals. And I think of Matt, who for as long as I can remember, has been singing his praises.

After all, it was a Tony Robbins event that inspired Matt to go vegetarian and start this blog (which has gone on to became his business).

But even after reading the posts and hearing the stories, I’m still not convinced Tony does anything more than put on a show. In today’s episode, just a few weeks after Matt and his wife Erin returned from a 6-day Tony Robbins experience, we hash that out.

Can a Tony Robbins event help you become your best self, or is it nothing more than an expensive pump-up session?

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why walking on coals is a big deal
  • Matt made his wife cry, sorry Erin
  • The six human needs
  • Opening yourself up to change
  • Can Tony Robbins really change your life?

Click the button below to listen now:

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