Over the past 30 years, Tony Robbins has become the world’s most successful life coach.
He’s personally coached everyone from former President Bill Clinton to tennis icon Serena Williams to revered hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. He’s sold millions of books, videos, audio recordings, and tickets to his seminars.
Robbins is 55 years old now, but he still maintains a packed schedule of events and is more frenetic than ever on stage, regularly jumping with and running through crowds that often number 5,000-10,000 people. The days can last 12-14 hours, and in his most intense seminars, he’s putting in as many steps as he would in a marathon, he said.
We recently spoke to him after he toured six countries in 12 days, and he told us that a major element of his sustained energy and focus comes from his intense and highly unusual morning routine. It’s evolved over the years, but here’s its current incarnation.
Wake up. Do a cold plunge.
Due to his frequent travel, Robbins doesn't go for a specific wake-up time, but ensures that he gives himself at the very least around 13 minutes for his routine regardless of how much sleep he got.
Robbins has previously said that he would jump into a Jacuzzi after waking up before taking a dip in one of his cold plunge pools, personalised pools maintained at a temperature of a brisk 57 degrees Fahrenheit, but now he goes straight for the cold. He keeps himself submerged for a full minute.
'I don't do it cuz I'm a masochist, I do it because there is nothing that can change everything in your system like a radical change in temperature,' he said.
When he's in his home in the resort city of Sun Valley, Idaho, he instead goes for an adjacent river, even when it's snowing. 'So that's pretty crazy,' he said. 'Every organ, every nerve in your body is on fire.'
Or, if available, get in a cryotherapy tank.
Robbins quit his painful ice bath habit when he discovered whole body cryotherapy a few years ago after several people, including NBA icon Kobe Bryant, told him about it.
According to Cryohealth, whole body cryotherapy was first developed in Japan in 1978 for arthritis sufferers and uses liquid nitrogen to drop the user's skin temperature by 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit over two to three minutes.
The sharp drop in temperature reduces inflammation and triggers a rush of endorphins. It can cause a tingling sensation but is painless.
Robbins bought a unit for his mother-in-law with arthritis and after she fell in love with it, he got one for himself. He said that when he first tried it, 'it was like, 'Oh, my God. This is incredible.'' He said it's especially helpful the mornings after a 12-14-hour seminar session.
He's got a unit that goes up to his neck right now, but said he's looking into getting a unit in which he can immerse his entire body.
Prime for the day.
'I made a deal with myself: If you don't have 10 minutes for yourself, you don't have a life,' Robbins said. 'There's no excuse. So I have 10 minutes and I do this little ritual.' He calls this ritual 'priming,' and it's broken into three parts. He'll usually play some form of instrumental meditative music throughout.
Part one: Breathing exercise.
Robbins does three sets of 30 Kapalabhati Pranayama breaths. In this ancient yoga exercise, one sits straight and takes a deep inhale before exhaling forcefully by constricting one's abdomen. The inhalations in between are slight, and the full breaths are done in quick succession. They're concluded with a deep inhale followed by a deep exhale.
Yoga site Yoga Outlet warns that the technique is for advanced yoga practitioners and may be dangerous for novices.
Robbins says he does it because it changes the way he breathes and moves.
Part two: Expressing gratitude.
He then takes a few minutes to think of three things he's grateful for, with one of them being something small, which can be something like 'the wind on my face or the smile of my son.'
'The reason I picked gratitude is because when you're grateful you can't be angry,' he said. 'And when you're grateful you can't be fearful.'
Part three: Pray.
Robbins then spends the next three minutes seeking strength and wishing good things on his family, friends, and clients. He considers it a spiritual exercise, but it doesn't need to be tied to religion.
Once he's done with his rituals, he'll typically go for an unexciting but nutritious breakfast, usually fish and salad. He keeps it boring, he told writer and podcaster Tim Ferriss in an interview last year, 'because I just know it's fuel.'
Then it's off to go motivate some people.
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