Journaling and Eating a Protein Shake Make Up This Health Coach’s Super Early Morning Ritual

During the workweek, Angela Cruz wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to make sure she has enough me time before her shifts at the YMCA.

Certified personal trainer and health coach, Angela Cruz starts her day at 3:30 a.m., journals every morning, and runs a fitness vlog for her clients. / Photograph by Angela Cruz.

Who I am: Angela Cruz (@missangelacruz), 33

Where I live: Kennett Square

What I do: I am a certified personal trainer and health coach who runs a virtual personal business aimed at helping women who are busy juggling work and life to easily achieve their health and fitness goals. I also work at my local YMCA monitoring the wellness studio and do personal training as well as facilitating a weight loss program.

What role healthy living plays in my life: As someone who is busy working a full-time job, growing her business, and enjoying life in the process, being in tune with my health and well-being are top priorities. This includes filling my body with a variety of nutrients, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and maintaining a positive outlook on life. My intention, not only as a fitness professional, but a young woman living with a chronic thyroid condition, is to sustain my healthy living goals in simple and convenient ways that feel good and fit my busy schedule, all the while inspiring other women to do similar things with their lives.

Health memberships (and what they cost):

  • YMCA (any branch): free as an employee


Cruz begins each morning with 30 minutes of journaling her goals and aspirations. / Photograph by Angela Cruz

7 a.m. — I wake up feeling refreshed after sleeping in on this Labor Day morning. Yes, 7 a.m. is considered sleeping in for me as I start work at 4:45 a.m. every weekday. With this day off, I’m able to take advantage of catching a few more zzz’s.

7:15 a.m. — I brew myself a cup of dark roast coffee with unsweetened almond milk. Then I spend 30 minutes journaling my goals and dreams as positive affirmations. This has been my consistent, daily morning practice for the past two years, and it really helps me ground myself before conquering the day ahead.

8 a.m. — Time for breakfast! I whip up an omelet with eggs, mild salsa, and organic whole grain bread.

9 a.m. — I decide to skip the gym because it’s always crowded on a holiday, and instead, opt for a jog in the park. It’s a bit of an overcast day, but it feels great to get outside.

10:30 a.m. — After my jog, I swing by the grocery store (which is conveniently located next to the park) to purchase a few items, including red peppers and tomatoes, chicken breast, artichokes, and unsweetened almond milk ($26.53).

11:30 a.m. — Back home, showered, and get ready for my family’s Labor Day cookout.

1 p.m. — I’m spending the entire afternoon relaxing and catching up with my family, while eating good food of course! I eat some juicy steak fresh off the grill, roasted veggies, my grandmother’s homemade Tabbouleh (which is a popular Lebanese dish containing parsley, bulgar, mint, and lemon juice), and a slice of strawberry shortcake. Simply delicioso!

5:30 p.m. — After a great time spent with the fam, I begin food prepping for the week. I throw some roasted red peppers seasoned with garlic powder, black pepper, and olive oil in the oven. While that’s going, I cook some marinated chicken breasts and quinoa. Food prepping in bulk helps me save time during the week, and I assemble and mix-and-match meals depending on what I feel like eating for lunch or dinner.

6:30 p.m. — I’m get into my weeknight groove: set coffee on the timer, prep my breakfast shake and lunch, finish laundry, and write out my to-do list for tomorrow.

7 p.m. — Now is when my nights typically wind down. I light what’s left of my Hawaiian-breeze-scented candle, sit in my comfy reading chair with my cat Stella, and read a chapter from The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.

8 p.m. — I need to be up before the crack of dawn for work, so it’s bedtime for this girl.

Daily total: $26.53


Cruz’s go-to breakfast: a protein shake from Isagenix. / Photograph by Angela Cruz

3:30 a.m. — Good morning! Yup, this is the time I wake up every Monday through Friday. I pour my ready-brewed coffee and spend 30 minutes journaling (which is, like I mentioned, my standard daily routine).

4:20 a.m. — I head out for work. My commute is only 20 minutes, so I spend the car ride listening to my business coach Jenn Scalia’s podcast “Focused, Fierce, and Financially Free,” while sipping on lemon water.

4:45 a.m. — Clock in for work and make my rounds in the fitness center. This includes opening the rooms, checking that the exercise machines are properly functioning, and making sure everything is ready once members arrive for their morning workout.

5 a.m. — Members arrive at the gym. I’m the first person they see after the membership services, so I make it a point to greet everyone with a friendly smile every day!

5:15 a.m. — Breakfast during my work week is typically my Isagenix IsaLean shake ($2.80). The creamy Dutch chocolate is my favorite flavor. I have three rooms, two gyms, and a track to monitor, and my shake is convenient (and tasty!) enough to carry with me.

7:30 a.m. — I start getting the munchies, so I snack on a banana and some almonds.

11 a.m. — Lunchtime! I have a salad made with the artichoke, roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, and quinoa I prepped yesterday. I eat while spending my last two hours of work at my desk taking care of administrative duties.

1:30 p.m. — I’m out of work for the day, so I go to another branch location closer to where I live to get in my own workout. Today’s workout consists of chest flys with dumbbells on a stability ball, tricep pulses, lateral lunges, deadlifts, and two one-minute plank holds. I finish it off with a cool down on the indoor track and some static stretches. Feeling strong!

3 p.m. — Back home and after being up for almost 12 hours — oof! I decide it’s nap time so I can recharge before the second half of my day begins.

3:30 p.m. — Quick nap, and I’m awake to spend the rest of my afternoon responding to emails, scheduling two appointments, and catching up on business tasks.

6 p.m. — Time to cook and eat some dinner: grilled chicken that I marinated yesterday, a side of broccoli, and a baked sweet potato. While cooking, I like to utilize my time wisely, so I prep my morning shake, make my lunch, and set the coffee timer for tomorrow.

7:20 p.m. — Winding down by showering and reading over my journal affirmations I wrote earlier this morning.

8 p.m. — Goodnight!

Daily total: $2.80


Cruz relieves tension in her muscles using a foam roller at home. / Photograph by Angela Cruz

3:30 a.m. — Time to wake up! Unfortunately, I’ve already got a mild headache. Ugh! I’m not one to take medicine as a first resort, so I opt to rub peppermint essential oil on my temples and massage through my head to relieve some of the tension. I have to carry on with my day, so I drink a glass of warm lemon water before my morning coffee and continue with my morning journaling practice before heading to work.

5 a.m. — I just got to the gym, but I’m being more mindful of pacing myself today by taking breaks to sit down as needed while monitoring the fitness floor. I brought my trusty peppermint oil with me just in case and enjoy my IsaLean shake. It’ll be a morning full of making sure everything is running smoothly at the Y. Luckily, I also packed a banana and half of a peanut butter sandwich for snacks.

11:30 a.m. — Time for a lunch break! I wasn’t in the mood for the salad I packed. Instead, I got a Tex-Mex salad ($8) and cup of Italian wedding soup ($4) from The Country Butcher. Both just hit the spot.

1:30 p.m. — Headache has subsided! I’m home now and headed for my room to take a much-needed nap.

2:30 p.m. — OK, I slept for a solid hour. My body must have needed it because I feel so much better than earlier!

3 p.m. — I was tempted to call it a day, but I have a to-do list to complete, including reviewing new content and checking in with coaching clients.

5:30 p.m. — Instead of resistance or cardio exercise today, I do some full body static stretching and foam rolling in my house to ease my tight muscles.

6 p.m. — On the menu for dinner tonight is chicken, white rice, and leftover broccoli. As I’m cooking, I prep what I need for tomorrow morning. It helps me save so much time during those early wake-up calls!

7:30 p.m. — Winding down with chamomile tea and calling my biz bestie Tess in Nashville, founder of Glam Girls Inspire. It’s important to me to support and stay connected with female entrepreneurs.

8:30 p.m. — Lights out!

Daily total: $12


For a mid-day snack, Cruz enjoys protein bars from OutClass Nutrition, a company based in Chadds Ford. / Photograph by Angela Cruz.

3:30 a.m. — Woke up full of energy! What a difference a day makes. Taking it slowly and listening to my body yesterday definitely helped. I sip my lemon water and pour my coffee, but I barely touch it. I just am not feeling it this morning. Then I get ready for — you guessed it — 30 minutes of journaling.

4:20 a.m. — Driving to work listening to an Isagenix business podcast and sipping some lemon water. Though they’re early, my morning commutes are really enjoyable.

4:45 a.m. — I’m clocked in at work and feeling full of energy!

5:15 a.m. — I enjoy my IsaLean shake but go with the strawberry flavor for a tasty change.

7:30 a.m. — One of my coworkers brought in a basket full of crisp red apples from a local Amish market, so I snack on one and take two for later. My gosh, they’re good.

12 p.m. — Time for lunch. Today I’ve got a sandwich made with spinach, tomato, turkey, and my absolute favorite condiment: mustard!

1:30 p.m. — Back home for the day. Thursday is usually my rest day from working out, so I spend the afternoon checking in with coaching clients, working on a new fitness program, and diving into other business duties.

4 p.m. — After a lot of biz work, I refuel with an OutClass Nutrition chocolate protein bar ($2.75). This is my friend’s company; each bar is organic and contains only six ingredients.

6 p.m. — Not too hungry after my protein bar, so I keep dinner light with some leftovers of chicken and veggies.

7 p.m. — Laundry, shower, coffee on timer, shake and lunch ready for FriYay.

8:30 p.m. — Bedtime!

Daily total: $2.75



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3:20 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm today and take a full body stretch while still in bed. I’m about to do my morning ritual: pour my coffee, journal, and head to work with lemon water in hand.

7:30 a.m. — It’s a quiet morning at the gym, but it’s a Friday after all. As I’m monitoring the floor, I drink another IsaLean shake (strawberry cream for the second day in a row). If you haven’t already gathered, it’s my go-to breakfast during an early work day because it’s quick, healthy, and convenient.

11 a.m. — The gym is running smoothly, so I take a break for an early lunch: a mix of quinoa prepped from Monday, along with chickpeas, tomatoes, and artichokes.

2:30 p.m. — I’m back at home and am about to do another workout in the comforts of my own home. This time, I’m doing one of my own exercise videos from my Fitness Vlog (no shame)! It includes lean backs that target the front of the legs because I am not a fan of lunges. This is why I love helping clients: You can find exercises that target the same muscle groups but that work better for their bodies and overall fitness needs.

3:15 p.m. — I’ve got a call with a brand new client. Win!

4:30 p.m. — Finishing up with some business work for the week before calling it a day.

7 p.m. — After a short but productive week, I choose a quiet night in with pizza and The Notebook. I love a good chick flick, and the introvert in me needs the downtime to recharge!

8:30 p.m. — Goodnight!

Daily total: $0

Weekly totals

Money spent: $44.08
Workouts completed: 4
Mornings spent journaling: 5
Protein shakes consumed: 4