My Morning Routine: Workout and Guitar Practice

By Jason Stallworth

April 25, 2017

Do you have a strict morning routine that sets a positive ‘tone’ for your day? If not, would you like to start one?

In this post, I’m going to give you my personal morning routine.

In fact, you’re also going to get my full morning workout routine, and tips on how to fit in a little time pursuing your passion! 

Here’s what you’ll get (and I’ll update this post if things change)…

  • Why I wake up so early (and how you can too!)
  • The first thing I do upon waking
  • My full workout routine (I’ll also give you a resource if you’re a beginner)
  • How you can ‘Learn and Burn’ at the same time
  • How to make time for your passion in the morning (if you’re a guitarist, you’ll appreciate the practice routine I’m giving you!)

What Time Should You Wake Up?

04:00 AM I know, that just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Actually, my alarm goes off at 04:05 (I recently bumped it up from 04:30). 

My primary reason for waking up so early is because that’s my workout time. There are a few reasons for this…

  • It’s an awesome way to start your day! 
  • The gym is less crowded in the early mornings; no fighting for equipment
  • Early morning workouts really set the tone for your day

Another thing is your mind is fresh in the morning! On your drive to the gym, you’ll get all kinds of thoughts and ideas! It’s just a cool time, and personally my favorite part of the day (except for eating…I really like to eat!).

Tip: How You Can Wake Up Early and Kill the Day

  • Do about 20 minutes of Yoga within a couple of hours before bedtime (seriously, I do this every night and it helps in multiple ways!) 
  • No screens an hour before bed!!!
  • Reading something light or entertaining before bed can help
  • I take a ZMA supplement (zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6) 30 minutes before bed. Both men and women can take this. It’s basically a natural formula and will put you into that deep REM sleep you need – you’ll also have some weird, far-out dreams! 

Now, if you have a late-night gig or job, or if you’re just a night owl (whooo, whooo…thought it’d be cute to throw that in!), then you can adjust your wake up time accordingly. 

The key is to get moving upon waking. So your ‘early morning’ may be 09:00 instead of 04:00. Just push to get 6-7 hours of quality sleep. I personally perform well with a little over 6 – my faint attempt to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Do This As Soon As You Wake Up

Here’s what I do as soon as I wake up. This will help you get moving quickly. You don’t want to give yourself time to think about hitting the snooze for another 10 minutes…

  • Put on gym clothes right away – I set mine out by the bed the night before
  • Drink a full glass of water
  • Do a minute or 2 of deep breathing exercises – One simple method is to take 6 seconds to breathe in, hold for 6 seconds and 6 seconds to breathe out. Several successful people and entrepreneurs swear by this, so I figured ‘what the heck?’ But seriously…it works and there are many benefits to this practice, releasing toxins being one!
  • Do a few minutes of dynamic stretching – Just pick a couple of simple stretches and keep your body moving throughout each stretch. 

Since I workout in the mornings, I also drink an energy drink or pre-workout mix, and I sip this on the way to the gym while listening to a Podcast (something educational or positive). 

…and of course, I’ll often blast some metal on the way to the gym! But I usually save that for during my workout. 

To recap – get out of bed quickly, hydrate, release toxins, get moving and prime your mind! 

Early Morning Workout Routine

deadlifts early morning workout routine

You’re practically going to get an entire workout program below. I’m going to share what I normally do in the gym, and this is a 5-day a week routine. 

I do change my workouts from time to time. Sometimes I’ll focus more on strength gains; however, much of the time I’m focused on bodybuilding style workouts. But the fundamentals (like squats, deadlifts, rows, bench press, etc.) always remain in my program. 

I’ll give you the entire workout by day, but here’s a quick glimpse…

  • Monday: Back and a little quads
  • Tuesday: Chest and a little arms
  • Wednesday: Leg Day!! …a brutal day, I might add!
  • Thursday: Shoulders and a little back
  • Friday: Deadlifts, arms, and a little legs

You’ll see that each workout has a primary focus. But I also throw in other muscle groups as this allows me to train certain muscles a second time. In fact, I do something for legs 3x a week (this is an area many, especially guys, neglect! – Do you even train legs, bro?). 

Alright, let’s get to the workouts…

IMPORTANT: This is one of my personal routines and is meant for someone who is an intermediate to advanced weightlifter.

If you’re new to the gym and interested in starting a workout routine, read my post (this will open a new browser so you don’t lose this page): Bodybuilding for Beginners: Complete Workout and Guide

Monday: Back and a little Quads

ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell Rows6 x 4-8
Dumbbell Rows4 x 6-8
T-bar rows4 x 8
Seated Rows (sometimes I’ll use the Hammer Strength Row and do unilaterally)4 x 10 drop set on final
Lat Pulldowns4 x 12 drop set on final
Leg Extensions superset with Calve Raises5 x 12-15 each

Tuesday: Chest and a little Arms

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bench Press6 x 4-8
Incline Bench Press4 x 6-8
Dumbbell Flyes4 x 10
Hammer Strength Press (unilateral)3 x 8
Cable Flyes (cross overs)3 x 12 drop set on final
Rope Pressdowns3-4 x 8-10 drop set on final
Dumbbell Curls4-5 x 12 drop set on final

Wednesday: Legs

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats   (I usually warm up with 2-3 sets of leg extensions first) 6-7 x 3-8
Leg Press5 x 20
Stiff-leg Deadlifts4 x 8
Leg Extensions4 x 12-15 drop set on final
Leg Curls4 x 12 drop set on final
Calve Raises7 x 15 drop set on final

Thursday: Shoulders and a little Back

ExerciseSets x Reps
Overhead Barbell Press   (will switch back and forth each week between seated and standing) 4-5 x 8
Seated Dumbbell Press   (will do either Arnold press or unilateral) 4 x 8
Lateral Raises3 x 10 drop set on final
Bent-Over Raises or Dumbbell Shrugs3 x 12 drop set on final
Reverse Grip Rows5 x 8
Lat Pulldowns4 x 10 drop set on final

Fridays: Deadlifts, Arms, and a little legs

ExerciseSets x Reps
Deadlifts5 x 2-5
Leg Extensions5 x 20 drop set on final
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extensions5 x 12-15
Barbell Curls4 x 8
Single Cable Pressdowns4 x 12 drop set on final
Dumbbell Hammer Curls4 x 8 drop set on final
Calve Raises7 x 12-15 drop set on final

Learn and Burn Time

After weight training, which is about an hour or so, I do a little cardio. I call this my ‘Learn and Burn’ time, and I’ll tell you why below.

Now, if you don’t have time for a full workout in the morning, I would suggest that you at least do some type of cardiovascular exercise in the morning. If you’ve read this far, you’re now officially part of this ‘gets you moving in the morning’ movement! 

When I’m walking on the treadmill or riding the stationary bike, I’m usually gaining knowledge by listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube video.

I’m an intermediate Thai speaker, so much of this time is dedicated to expanding my vocabulary in Thai. If it’s not that, it’s something driven towards my music business. 

I encourage you to spend this time learning something new as well. Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? Or do you want to learn how to start or expand your own business?

Find some Podcasts or videos ahead of time and plug those in during your cardio sessions! Learn…and burn!

10-Minute Early Morning Guitar Practice

Metal Guitar Player Jason Stallworth

*You can apply what I’m about to show you to anything!

I’ve found that going through a structured practice session is much easier in the early mornings than at any other time of the day. And guess what? I only spend about 10 minutes practicing each morning on guitar. 

Why? Because Bruce Lee said so…

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

– Bruce Lee

I would much rather see you practice every day for 10 minutes than to practice several hours for one day only not to touch your craft for a week. There’s a cumulative effect that comes with daily consistency. Make sense? 

Now, this isn’t the only time I practice. I often have another practice session later that day. However, my morning schedule is strict because I know there’s a 99% chance of that happening first-thing in the morning. If you wait until later, there are too many other things that can come up and you can get distracted. 

So, once I get home from the gym, I drink a protein shake, shower, and then it’s time for some early morning guitar practice. There are two types of guitar practice schedules I recommend following. 

Practice Multiple Techniques – Daily Schedule

Here’s where you would list a series of techniques you want to get better at and go through 2-3 rounds of each pattern of each technique every day. Below is an example of a daily routine that covers multiple techniques…

  • Hammer-ons and pull-offs – 2 minutes
  • Finger tapping – 2 minutes
  • Power chord changes with riffs – 2 minutes
  • Sweep arpeggios – 2 minutes
  • Speed picking/alternate picking – 2 minutes

Focused-Technique Practice Schedule

This next schedule is great if you have just a few techniques that you want to focus on to bring up. In my case, I’m strong at speed picking but want to bring up my sweep picking skills. 

Because of this, I’m practicing sweep arpeggios every single day. And on the weekends I’ll throw in other techniques to practice so that I don’t get rusty on those. 

10 minutes each session…

  • Monday: Basic sweep arpeggios
  • Tuesday: Sweep arpeggios with tapping
  • Wednesday: Advanced sweep arpeggios 
  • Thursday: Sweep arpeggios and string skipping
  • Friday: Sweep arpeggios with tapping
  • Weekends: Sweep arpeggios, tapping, speed picking, rhythms/riffs

You can use either schedule and just plugin the guitar techniques you want to practice. I do recommend knowing this in advance so that your practices are effective and you’re not just jamming on your guitar! 

Also, this can apply to anything that you want to develop more! Let’s say you’re into martial arts. Set aside some morning time for that (or maybe replace that with cardio or lifting weights).

Or what if you’re writing a book? Set aside some early morning time to write; you may find your brain and creative juices are flowing much better in the early mornings!

What’s Your Early Morning Routine?

Do you have an early morning routine that you follow? If so, tell me by commenting below! I’d love to hear about it!

If you don’t have a set morning routine I encourage you to start one. It can mean the difference between being successful and fulfilled versus living a chaotic life.

Seriously, the only kind of chaos I want is listening to the Megadeth song ‘Addicted to Chaos’ – yes, I had to throw in a metal pun!

I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope that you find it helpful!

Keep it Metal,


Jason Stallworth

About the author

Jason is a melodic metal solo artist, songwriter, acoustic performer, and co-founder of Metal Mastermind.

Related Posts

Jason Stallworth Newsletter

- Get exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes content

- Motivation and encouragement

- Oh, and I'll send you a free song from my latest album!