At Covey, we’re inspired by the routines of leaders and influencers we admire. Now, we’re getting real with an insider look at their regimes to see what we can learn.
Former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, is a proponent of health and fitness. And as she shared in several interviews and her best-seller, Becoming, a routine is paramount to her success (and frankly, happiness). If you want to follow in her fierce footsteps, here’s how she maps out her day.
🪱🐤 Secret #1: Wake up at 4:30 a.m.
When you’re limited on daylight hours to work out, you must rise before the sun, so you get it done. At least, that’s the philosophy Michelle adopted to prioritize fitness. In an interview with Prevention magazine, she shared her impressive wake-up time: 4:30 a.m.
(Fun fact: hubby and 44th president, Barack Obama often joins his wife at the gym!)
🧘🏾♀️ Secret #2: Focus on low-impact workouts
In recent years, Michelle has shifted toward yoga to keep her body flexible and strong. She also became a lap swimmer last year during quarantine to get even more low-impact goodness.
"What I’m finding in my old age is that the high-impact stuff that I used to do, as I’m approaching 60, it just doesn’t work," Michelle told People.
While Michelle used to do more high-intensity circuits with jump rope, ab exercises, and jump squats-- she’s now embracing what helps her feel her best in this new stage of life.
🧩 Secret #3: Puzzle Breaks To Help With Mental Health
But Michelle is also human, and there are times where working out just can’t happen-- and not just because of her schedule. When she dealt with “some form of low-grade depression” last year, she found herself “too low” to work out.
Her solution? Don’t.
Michelle said she’d “surrender” to those feelings and give herself space and time to reconnect and rest.
Her activity of choice? Puzzles with her husband, former President Barack Obama, and teaching their daughters to play Spades.
✈️💪. Secret #4: Stay on Track While Traveling
When Michelle is on the road, she always comes prepared. It’s been reported that she packs an exercise rubber band and jump rope for quick HIIT circuits. Here’s a sample of one of her on-the-go routines even if she doesn’t have travel gear within reach.
- Jumping Jacks - 1 minute
- Push ups - 1 minute
- Sit ups - 1 minute
- Repeat circuit 10 times for total of 30 minutes
🍽 Secret #5: Shoot for five meals a day (and pack it yourself!)
It’s no secret Michelle is a fan of a balanced diet. Here’s a breakdown of a few of her favorite options:
- Fresh grapefruit, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage
- (But for special occasions? Michelle is totally enjoying some good, ol’ grits and waffles.)
Snack Meals (a.m. or p.m.): 🍎
Choose a couple options to pair together:
- Apples and honey
- Fresh fruit
- Veggies and hummus
- 100-calorie packs of nuts
- Protein Shakes
Turkey chili (packed from home!)
Roast chicken or seafood paired with vegetables and a sweet potato.
(But once a week, she usually indulges in some of her favorite pizza: veggie on wheat crust).
👨👩👧👧 Secret #6: Family and self-care time at 5 p.m .
No matter how busy she is, Michelle still prioritizes family time as well as time to herself whenever possible. In an interview with Refinery29, Michelle put it this way: “My number one daily habit is to give myself permission to be happy. It’s physical and mental; it’s my diet, physical activity, and emotional state. That’s all tied together.”
We wholeheartedly agree! Michelle is an inspiration in many ways, but the way she’s flexible with her lifestyle and committed to her health is something we really admire.