A Rant About Morning Routine Videos

Hello, everyone! Yesterday I was faffing around on YouTube when I stumbled upon a genre of videos that I had never seen before: morning routines. As a mere peasant, my morning routine usually consists of waking up 20 minutes before I have to leave for work, throwing on clothes, brushing my teeth, and stumbling out the door. But for the wellness gods of YouTube, a morning routine consisting of nothing more than “getting ready for your job” would be a colossal waste of time. Ye peasants, ye unenlightened swine, bow yer head at the feet of yer masters, for ye must learn how to live!

If you don’t feel like wasting 15 minutes of your very important life watching this woman pretend to get ready in the morning, I’ll fill you in. Basically Angie is an Elite Human™: she wakes up at 4:30AM with help of her sunrise clock, which mimics a rising sun, because actually waiting for the sun to rise at its usual time is not productive! Because her body is so resistant to waking up this early, she has an alarm clock that forces her to perform a task, like a math equation, or snapping a photo, before it turns off. Elite™!

After forcing her body to rise at such a productive hour, she washes her face, puts in a hair mask, and gets on her Peloton. And lest ye think she be wasting time while putting in that hair mask, she also listens to a podcast. Tony Robbins, naturally. Take note, peasants! After her workout, she meditates, and then she goes and makes her fresh juice vitamin smoothie. Attentive viewers may notice that throughout this video, which is ostensibly about her morning routine, she is constantly plugging workouts for Beachbody, which for the unfamiliar, is a predatory multi-level marketing business. A morning routine video that doubles as a recruitment video for her scam? This woman is nothing if not productive.

Since she is but a mere mortal after all, she also finds time to take a shower, feed her dog, listen to Disney music (?), make a coffee, and supposedly eat breakfast, though that is never shown. And after a thoroughly productive morning of…that, she then gets down to work trying to recruit people into her scam. Why a woman who works from home has to get up at 4:30 AM to accomplish tasks that can be done at any time during the day is a question that Angie never answers. The subtext of this video is that getting up at 4:30AM is the essence of productivity, regardless if anything productive is actually accomplished.

Do ye feel enlightened now, peasants? No? Well, here’s another morning routine video to get ye into the productive mindset!

If you thought Angie was Elite™ for getting up at 4:30 AM just to bike on her Peloton, meet Jose, who gets up at 4AM so that he can run a 6 minute mile in the pitch black darkness. Incredibly necessary! He gets in his whole workout (which if you must know, is only his first of the day), by 5:11AM, and then hops in the shower so that he can show every expensive grooming product he uses. He tells his viewers to be efficient in the shower, yet somehow uses more than five products. How he balances it all is just further proof of his Elite™ nature. While cooking breakfast, Jose efficiently utilizes his time by listening to an audiobook. No, not the Hunger Games you uncultured troglodyte, a motivational book! Listening to fiction is for soy boys and women! The most important takeway is that if you have any free time, any free time at all, and you aren’t using it productively, then you’re a failure. All time must be utilized efficiently down to the second like a robot in a factory. That, my friends, is wellness!

The point, Jose wants us to know, is that by the time we plebians wake up, he will be hours ahead of us. By getting up at 4:30AM, he is able to work out, get dressed, and eat breakfast, all before we semi-sentient lifeforms even stir from our beds. So instead of working a normal 8 hours like the rest of us, he can work 12, nay 16 hours, therefore doing all the things, demolishing capitalism, conquering empires, etc, while we slovenly sloths waste away into unproductive sludge.

Like I said above, there is a whole genre of “morning routine” videos on YouTube, and they’re all basically the same: a hottie with a body wakes up at an ungodly hour, works out, eats a healthy breakfast of powders, collagen, and “fruit,” listens to a motivational podcast or audiobook, and then gets to working on their MLM, Instagram feed, e-commerce merch, or other busywork that looks good on camera and allows them to stay home all day while pretending like they’re working grueling hours. There is an art to how these videos skirt the line between motivational spiel and condescending navel-gazing.

I have nothing against people who enjoy getting up early, working out in the morning, or eating healthy. Those are all personal preferences. What I take issue with is YouTubers like Angie and Jose who act like these personal preferences are more productive than getting up at 9AM and working out in the afternoon. Not only does choosing to get up before the crack of dawn have no effect on a person’s productivity, but it’s a luxury completely reserved for those wealthy enough to make their own schedules.

In college, I worked in restaurants that opened early, one at 6AM, and the other at 7AM. When I had to open, that meant I was in at 5:00AM or 6:00AM, doing the grunt work so that early risers could order food at their convenience. My boyfriend, too, used to work at a restaurant that was open 24/7. A few days a week, he would wake up at 3AM for a 4:30AM shift. He was always exhausted and his quality of life didn’t improve until he quit that job. In my experience, I have never met any first shift workers who enjoy getting up early. None of my coworkers were ever happier, healthier, or more productive than people who got up at 8AM to head to their 9-5, and they certainly weren’t as well-rested as those who were lucky enough to work completely remotely. Instead, my coworkers and I were uniformly exhausted and resentful of our schedules. If given the choice, we would have slept in. Our motivating factor was continued employment, not taking a sunrise workout selfie.

To me, the people who make these types of morning routine videos seem completely clueless and out of touch. The only reason these YouTubers can rise early looking refreshed is because they don’t work real jobs! They virtue signal productivity by getting up insanely early, then spend the rest of their day leisurely answering emails and taking selfies for Instagram. It’s almost insulting how they tell their viewers that if they just wake up earlier, eat powder smoothies, and go for a run at 5AM, they’ll too feel better and more productive, ignoring the fact that most of their audience is so exhausted from working 40+ hours a week that they don’t have the energy to do any of these things! Angie and Jose work from home, and that’s fine, but pretending that their freedom to work from home has no effect on their ability to prioritize such self-indulgent morning routines is incredibly disingenuous.

I don’t know when being a morning person became a symbol of “wellness,” but your circadian rhythm has no bearing on how productive or successful you will be. It makes me sad that people watch these videos in hope of divining some essential truths about humanity from a vlog of some weirdos forcing themselves to get up before the sun. Personally, I feel the most rested when I get up 10:30AM and do nothing for the whole rest of the day. But I’m not gonna make a smug YouTube video about it.

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