I Tried the Morning Routines of Jennifer Aniston, Oprah & More Celebs. Here’s the One That Made Me Happiest
I’ve always been fascinated by morning routines, and read—and write—about them frequently. For all the research I’ve put in, you’d think I’d have my own down to a science. I’m fine with it, to an extent: I wake up around 8 a.m., alternately chug water and coffee while I make scrambled eggs or oatmeal, then get dressed and ready for work. Very basic. But in the interest of self-improvement (hey, new year, new me), I challenged myself to test out the routines of some celebs to see if I could add anything to my own morning to increase my productivity or overall well-being. Read on for my experience with each, including the harsh realization that I should probably be waking up about two hours earlier than I do now.
The Gist: Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter that while she doesn’t use an alarm to wake up, she normally rises between 6:02 (?) and 6:20 a.m., when her dogs want to go outside. After brushing her teeth and letting the dogs out, she makes either a chai or skim cappuccino, followed by a trip to her home gym. There, she’ll do 20 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill and sit-ups. Then, she meditates for ten to 20 minutes, depending on how much time she has. Breakfast is medium-boiled eggs with multigrain toast, eaten around 8:30 a.m. while she goes through her schedule for the day.
How It Went: Oprah is one of the wealthiest, most famous people on the planet. I was assuming, then, that her morning routine would be chock-full of unrealistic, unattainable habits that I could never recreate. I was wrong; this ended up being one of the most straightforward routines to copy. I did have to make a few slight tweaks: First, I have to use an alarm, lest I sleep the entire morning away (it's something I'd like to work on—maybe in 2020). I don't have dogs, so when I woke up I brushed my teeth and went straight to the cappuccino step, which, as a self-professed caffeine addict, was wonderful. Sadly I don't have a home gym either, so I went to my plebeian chain gym, where I did 50 minutes of cardio followed by some ab work. I'm not normally one to work out in the morning, but Oprah's routine was basic enough that it wasn't too big an adjustment. I've dabbled in meditation (like the waking up sans alarm thing, it's an ongoing project), so I was glad to be forced to do it. I was reminded that it really is a great way to start the day, it's just taking me a little while to commit to a daily practice. From there, breakfast was a total breeze, as I usually have some variation of eggs and toast every other day. Overall, I felt really great after mimicking Oprah's mornings. She squeezes a lot into a pretty small window, but it doesn’t feel stressful or rushed.
Best For: Pretty much anyone; Oprah’s routine is really well-rounded and actually pretty simple.
The Gist: After waking up at 6 a.m., the supermodel told Harper’s Bazaar that she spends some time cuddling with her dogs in bed. After doing a morning skin-care routine, she chugs a bottle of water and starts making coffee (which she says she’s useless without). “For breakfast, I'll have scrambled eggs on toast or yogurt with a handful of granola—preferably paleo—with some mixed berries, and maybe a breakfast muffin (also paleo) with a green juice,” she told the mag. Then, she goes back to bed with the dogs to scroll through emails and catch up on the news. Finally, before leaving the house for work or errands, Huntington-Whiteley spends ten minutes picking out an outfit, which she says is often jeans and a T-shirt with a blazer and booties.
How It Went: Apparently I'm too quick to jump to conclusions about people because, just like I did with Oprah, I assumed that a supermodel's morning routine would be all personal trainers and mushroom powder tonics and the like. My Rosie morning went great. Again, I don't have dogs, so no cuddle time for me (instead I just lounged in bed for a little and half-heartedly meditated—I told you I'm trying). The first-thing-in-the-morning coffee was a delight—again—as were the scrambled eggs and sourdough toast I whipped up while caffeinating. I can imagine these types of routines would require a little getting used to for people who don't eat breakfast, but since I'm used to building in a little time for eggs or oatmeal, it was no big deal for me. Post-breakfast, I was positively giddy to get back into bed for a Twitter and email scroll (it made the 6 a.m. wake-up time way more palatable). I’m assuming Huntington-Whiteley works out in the morning when she has to, but for the sake of this experiment (copying the routine she described to Bazaar), there was no morning sweat session, which, as a nighttime fitness enthusiast, I appreciated. This routine was closest to my own, so it ended up being my favorite. Post-experiment I'm even trying to wake up a little earlier so I can hop back in bed for a little while after breakfast.
Best For: Caffeine lovers. Of all the routines I tried, Huntington-Whiteley’s placed the most emphasis on a cup of coffee right away.
The Gist: The designer’s morning routine is—shall we say?—intense. First, she wakes up at 6 a.m. Before eating anything, she has two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Then, per Hello!, she makes a smoothie for herself and her four kids—chopped apple, kiwi, lemon, spinach, broccoli and chia seeds, blended in her NutriBullet. She also works out not once but twice. In an interview with The Times, Beckham revealed that she’ll first do an hour in the gym before breakfast with her kids. After taking them to school, “I'll then fit in another hour's workout before I go to the office. I'm very disciplined, I have to be. It's really the only time in the day I get to myself.” Uh, disciplined seems like an understatement, Posh.
How It Went: The list of things Victoria Beckham and I have in common is virtually nonexistent. Reading through her routine the first time, I was more than a little apprehensive. Maybe I'm just being dramatic, I thought. Maybe this will end up being my favorite one. Turns out I was not being dramatic, and VB's routine was my least favorite (no offense, still love her). First of all, drinking ACV is something I’ve tried to adopt as part of my morning—many times—to no avail. If you've never tried it, let me just say this: My immediate reaction is wanting to throw up, and my longer-term reaction is that it leaves me feeling nauseous for at least an hour. It's one wellness trend I've had to accept probably isn't going to happen for me. From there, I went to the gym for an hour. I'm not sure what exactly the first workout should consist of, so I just stuck to a pretty basic rowing machine-bodyweight circuit combination. I don't have a NutriBullet, so the morning smoothie had to be procured on my way home. It tasted...fine. If this was a step I was going to add to my own daily routine, I'd certainly invest in a NutriBullet—do you know how expensive a custom smoothie in Manhattan is? Spoiler alert: I don't have children, so the time Beckham spends dropping her brood off at school was, for me, time to aimlessly scroll through the internet before working out—again. Clearly I didn't plan my first workout well, because by the time I got home, I was totally pooped. Instead of hoofing it back to the gym, I took a 40-ish minute walk at a brisk pace and called it a day. Beckham might cringe at the low-intensity of my second fitness excursion of the day, but to that I say, working out once a day is absolutely good enough for me. Kudos to you if you can find joy in this routine, but for me, it was way too much. From the apple cider vinegar that left me gagging to the overkill two workouts, I like my mornings to be a little less extreme.
Best For: Super type-A overachievers who somehow have boundless energy.
The Gist: Aniston told Well & Good that when she’s working, she wakes up at 4:30 a.m., but when she’s not, she wakes up at 8 or 9 a.m. After drinking a cup of warm water with lemon, she washes her face, moisturizers and meditates for 20 minutes. Next, breakfast: “Usually I’ll have a shake, with some sort of pure protein, then bananas, blueberries, frozen cherries, stevia, a vegetable mix of dynamic greens that goes in there, maca powder and a little cacao,” she told the publication. Post-breakfast, it’s time for a workout—half an hour of spinning followed by 40 minutes of yoga with a trainer.
How It Went: In addition to cultivating a work-life balance that sustains me and learning how a 401(k) actually functions, aging like Jennifer Aniston is one of my life goals. When I set out to copy her morning routine, I decided to go the non-workday route. I'm not a professional actress-slash-SmartWater spokesperson, so I pretty much never have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. So I slept until 9 a.m. and woke up fully rested and ready to tackle the day...until I remembered the warm lemon water part. I know tons of people swear by it, but warm lemon water tastes to me like a tablespoon of lemonade poured into a liter of water and then left out in the summer sun for five hours. I'm just not a fan. It's way less offensive than apple cider vinegar, though, so I sipped it with only mild resentment. Then it was back to my room to meditate. As I mentioned in my Oprah morning, meditation is something I'm somewhat used to, so sitting in still silence for 20 minutes wasn't a big deal—it was actually really nice. (And another reminder that I really have to stick with it.) Next up, breakfast. I know what I said about smoothies, but this one was delicious. It was significantly more expensive than Victoria Beckham's smoothie (damn you, maca powder), but it was really tasty (thank you, frozen cherries and cacao). If I must work out in the morning, I do it before breakfast, so I felt a little bit queasy while spinning at a bike in my gym and going through a YouTube yoga video (it was a Tara Stiles sequence, for the record). Basically, Jennifer Aniston's morning routine taught me that I really can't work out on a full stomach, I really should eat more frozen cherries and I really need to stop putting off a daily meditation practice.
Best For: Night owls, who can still get a full eight hours even if bedtime doesn’t happen until 1 a.m.
The Gist: According to an interview with My Morning Routine, Huffington’s morning routine actually starts at night. Prior to falling asleep, Huffington removes all electronic devices from her room, takes a bath, drinks lavender or chamomile tea and reads (a book, not an e-reader). She typically sleeps for eight hours and doesn’t use an alarm. In the morning she meditates for 20 to 30 minutes before working out—when she’s home, 30 minutes on a stationary bike followed by five to ten minutes of yoga stretches. She’s not a breakfast person, but she does drink Bulletproof Coffee.
How It Went: Going into this, I didn't know all that much about Arianna Huffington, except that she started a really massive website and she's very fixated on sleep. So it wasn't shocking to learn that her nighttime and morning routines put a lot of emphasis on rest and relaxation. Starting the night before, I stowed my phone and computer in my bedside table drawer (after setting an alarm, you know I can't live without it). I hate baths, so I took a long, hot shower instead and it was just lovely. I then snuggled up in bed with a cup of chamomile tea and the book I was reading at the time (Sugar Run—it was great). It was a little more involved than my normal nighttime routine, but it was very zen nonetheless. The next morning, I meditated for 20 minutes (I've found that 20 is kind of my limit—I start to get antsy any longer than that). I made a cup of Bulletproof Coffee and headed to the gym to bike and do some stretches. I don't know if you've ever had Bulletproof Coffee, but it's...very weird. I know some people love it, but as someone who only drinks coffee black, it's way too heavy for my liking. Not eating breakfast was also a huge downside for me. I don't usually eat lunch, but without a morning meal, I was ravenous by 1 p.m. My takeaways from Huffington's routine are this: The nighttime portion was calming and inspired me to use my phone and computer way less pre-bed, but the morning—aside from the meditation—wasn't really for me.
Best For: Technology addicts, who can benefit from Huffington’s emphasis on unplugging and de-stressing.