Tony Robbins starts every morning with an 'adrenal support cocktail,' a 'priming' meditation exercise, and a workout involving a 'torture machine'
Tony Robbins sticks to a morning routine designed to boost his energy and productivity levels for the day. It includes a nutritional supplement, meditation, workout, and sauna-to-cold-plunge combo. The entire routine can be done in under 30 minutes — but it’s intense. Tony Robbins, the world’s most famous life and business coach, is 57 years old and busier than ever.
He travels the world for about 60 events (which can last an hour or several days) each year, goes on media tours for his latest projects, monitors the 33 companies he’s invested in and directly runs 12 of them, consults businesses and professional sports teams, and works with a small list of personal clients like the billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones.
Robbins is a naturally energetic guy, but he’s no longer 25; to maintain the energy and productivity levels his schedule demands, he’s developed a morning routine that packs a lot into a half hour.
We recently traveled to Robbins’ Fiji resort Namale, where he was hosting the winners of Shopify’s Build a Bigger Business competition for entrepreneurs, and had him take us through it.
His diet is tailored to maximize energy efficiency. Around four years ago, Robbins hired Billy Beck III as his full-time personal trainer. Beck has had clients like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, NFL and NHL players, boxers, and UFC fighters. He’s tailored nutritional and exercise programs for Robbins the same way he would for his athletes, customizing both for Robbins’ metabolism and the physical demands of his seminars and lifestyle where time zones are rarely constant.
Robbins wakes up between 7:00 and 9:00, after just three to five hours of sleep.
After getting out of bed, he’ll take a Beck-concocted “adrenal support cocktail” composed of a shake made of greens powder, vitamin C, and antioxidants along with capsules of methylated B vitamins mixed with additional nutrients.
When he’s done with his workout, he’ll have a breakfast of free range eggs and organic coconut bread. Robbins is far from a foodie, and tends to stick with the same daily meals.
He spends 10 minutes meditating. Robbins created a 10-minute daily exercise called “priming,” based on techniques found in yoga and Buddhist mindfulness meditation.
1. Perform a breathing exercise (~1 minute)
He begins by sitting straight with his eyes closed. He then inhales deeply through his nostrils while simultaneously lifting his arms in a shoulder press motion, and then exhales forcefully through his nostrils while bringing his arms back to his body, palms up. He performs the breaths in quick succession. Robbins does three sets of 30, with a brief break in between each set. (If you want to try his routine, replace this part with a slow, deep breathing exercise instead if you are pregnant or have breathing problems.)
2. Express gratitude (3 minutes)
He spends a minute each on three things he is grateful for, reliving them as moments.
- Experience connection (3 minutes)
He imagines a light flowing in through his head and to the rest of his body, feeling as if the light is energizing and healing him. In this visualization, the light flows back up to his head and then flows outward to the rest of the world, reaching his loved ones as well as strangers.
4. Visualize success (3 minutes)
He then spends a minute each imagining what it would feel like to accomplish three of his goals. He focuses on how these accomplishments not only benefit you but allow him to help others.
Then it’s time for a surprisingly intense 15-minute workout. The notion that for a workout to be effective it has to be long is easily disproven by science, Beck told us. For Robbins, he designed a daily exercise routine focused on explosive exertion and maintaining a very high heart rate, and it only takes 15 minutes — with just 10 of those minutes in the gym.
“My whole focus is — how do you get the greatest result with the least amount of time or energy?” Robbins said to us. “Intensity trumps duration all day long.”
1. The OsteoStrong machine (5 minutes)
Robbins uses a machine called the OsteoStrong (he’s an investor in it) that measures force exertion, but one could achieve the same effect by pushing and pulling on a static surface, or a similar effect — with more risk for injury — by doing a single-rep max-out with free weights.
Robbins will, for just a few seconds each, exert his full force in a bench press motion, leg press motion, pull down with crunch motion, and deadlift motion.
You can get a better idea of what that looks like by watching our video.
2. The ROM Quick Gym (4 minutes)
The ROM Quick Gym has the nicknames the 4-Minute Machine and the Torture Machine.
Using it, you make a dynamic rowing motion that looks deceptively easy. But because it can adjust to your level of exertion, you can’t fake your way through the exercise. To make it more difficult, Robbins tries to maintain a certain speed throughout. The whole experience only lasts four minutes, but pushes the body to near total exhaustion.
Because it’s so exhausting, Robbins will use this machine just once or twice a week, replacing it with different short but intense exercises on other days.
3. The sauna to cold plunge (3-5 minutes)
Robbins has a sauna and cold plunge pool in each of his seven homes, the one exception being an ice-cold river he uses as a cold plunge next to his place in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The experience of enduring intense heat of a sauna — and Robbins keeps his in the higher range — and then becoming immersed in cold water (around 57 degrees F) keeps his heart rate high enough that it’s considered part of the morning’s workout.
Beck said that he has Robbins do it because it “improves circulation and wakes your a– up,” and the freezing plunge “trains the mind to not hesitate but to act. … That and we are insane. Ha!”
4. Back inversion (2 minutes)
Then it’s time to stretch it all out on a back inversion machine, in which Robbins is suspended upside down to decompress his spine and lower his heart rate.
Once Robbins wraps up his routine, he’s ready to go. Sometimes he’s got a 16-hour workday ahead.