The Morning Routine: Ben Checketts

The Morning Routine: Ben Checketts

This month, we sat down with Ben Checketts — husband, father of three, ice bather, and co-founder of men’s activewear company Rhone.
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The Morning Routine is a monthly interview series that we created to satisfy our curiosities around how highly productive people tackle their days.
What does routine mean to you?
Routine is everything to me. I subscribe to the theory “control what you can” and my routine is a small thing that I can control. I hate not having my stuff and my routine but I also think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I have this massive Yeti that I use for water and I try to drink a full one before consuming any other liquids.
Do you work out in the morning?
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I try to get into the gym early. Those are usually my meeting-heavy days where I don’t have another opportunity so I try to wake up around 5 or 5:30 am and get into pre-workout mode.
How do you get into pre-workout mode?
I do some breathing exercises and then I also do a five-minute journal, which I really love. The journal has a morning section where you list three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make today great, and then a daily affirmation, which I’m not always consistent with. At night, you reflect on the day and list three amazing things that happened and something that would have made the day even better.

I also love this book called The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and I read one excerpt from that. It’s like a five-minute thing that helps me get into the right mindset. I don’t subscribe to every idea that the Stoics had but I think it’s good to expose yourself to those types of things.
How long is your workout?

Usually 30 to 45 minutes and then it’s time to get the kids ready for school.

I truly believe that movement is medicine both physically and mentally.

What do you do on rest and recovery days?
I like to mix in an ice bath, which I have in my backyard. I love it and I hate it. I don’t even subscribe to the theory that it helps me recover, it just makes me feel alive and gets the adrenaline going.

I also love going for long walks in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After we get the kids to school, my wife and I will go for a 30-minute walk with our 1-year old before my calls start. If I could do that every day I would.
How about skincare? Obviously, we have to ask about that.
Mornings are so busy with kids that I’ve actually lacked a good self-care routine in terms of hygiene. I use a face wash and scrub from Disco, their products have a really nice scent. I’ve also used Black Wolf products, which I like. I’ll typically just throw on some deodorant and get my hair in a good place before jumping on calls.

It sounds weird to a lot of my friends but I actually don’t shampoo my hair because I have really dry skin and shampoo tends to dry it out. I just use a moisturizing conditioner instead.
Do you do anything else to treat your dry skin?
I actually shower less, especially in the winter. Oars & Alps makes these really great shower wipes that I use instead. As a trick, I keep them in the refrigerator so they’re extra cool and refreshing. It’s a nice quick thing when I’m trying to get the kids ready for school in the morning and running around.

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When and how do you start winding down for the day?
We usually get all of the kids to bed by 8:30 or 8:45 pm so that doesn’t leave a ton of time for my wife and I to just disconnect because the evening also includes cleaning the house and making sure the kitchen is all picked up. We try to make time for each other whether it’s turning on a show or just talking and planning out the next day.
As you know, as the co-founder of a company, there’s always more to be done. How do you know when to disconnect for the day?
It’s tough. I would say that you don’t ultimately. We’ve gotten better about snoozing Slack notifications after around 6 pm but urgent things can still be pushed through, which happens. If I have to jump back on in the evening, I find that it’s helpful to just set expectations with my family. If I say that I have to jump back onto my computer for 20 minutes, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes.
Do you have a nighttime self-care routine?
I keep it pretty straightforward. Brushing my teeth, flossing, and applying a face lotion. It’s cold here in Utah right now so I also use hand lotion so they don’t crack.
Do you have a strict sleep schedule?
I’ve tested a lot of different things when it comes to sleep and eight hours, honestly, makes me more tired. Seven hours is the sweet spot for me. I have no idea why eight hours makes me more tired, I’ve read all of the articles and tried different things.
What’s your oldest habit?
Probably working out in some capacity. I truly believe that movement is medicine both physically and mentally. But that doesn’t mean you have to crush yourself, I’m not that person who’s busting out 27 miles on my bike every morning.
Do you have a new habit that you’re excited about?
Breathing exercises, like Wim Hof type stuff. It makes me feel amazing but they also make me really uncomfortable. I try to do it 2–3 times per week. I’m not good at them but I have noticed a big difference.
Morning person or night person?
Morning person
Barbell or kettlebell?
Kettlebell
Coffee or tea?
I don’t drink either. Well, I drink herbal tea so I’ll go with tea.
Run or walk?
Walk
Netflix or read?
I default to Netflix.

*This interview was edited for clarity.