or a minute’s silence – a chance to hear the wind and crashing waves to beat and look beyond Solent in the lights of a long-distance cruise ship – and then we plunge into the water, though some of us (me) are more probative. There are screams and gasps from the blow of the cold; crunchy, smiling faces illuminated by a portable spotlight.

Barely 6 in the morning, and still dark. Alsoshtë also the darkest and rainiest weather in which this group has emerged, but 12 impressive models have appeared. On a fine day, about 30 meet every Friday at 5.30am in Gosport, Hampshire, for a two mile walk along Stokes Bay, followed by a diving. “It changed my life,” says one man who has been with the band since the group started last year. He says meeting strangers and welcoming atmosphere have allowed him to talk about his mental health and seek help. Kerry started coming in October last year and says the weekly meeting has helped alleviate the seasonal affective disorder from which he usually suffers at this time of year. “I slept for 10, 11 hours,” she says. “If you had told me last year I would get up at this hour every week to do this, I would not believe it.”

The group – Win Morning, Win Day – was formed in August last year by Chris Reeves, a physical training instructor at the Royal Navy. He had struggled with isolation and lack of structure until his days during the first block, and he knew others had to feel the same way. After listening to a podcast with mixed martial arts fighter Mark Scanlon, talking about the 5:30 a.m. training sessions and the sea swims he was running in Liverpool, Reeves decided to create his own. Scanlon used the phrase “win breakfast, win the day”, which is what Reeves decided to call the group. It is a mantra popularized by American entrepreneur and productivity religion Tim Ferriss, which has become popular in motivational circles. Ferriss interviewed a host of high-achieving people about their morning routine, with the idea that if you adjust your breakfast (if you “win”), it ‘s a good start to the rest of the day. His morning rituals include bed arrangement and diary; for the Gosport group, it has more to do with walking, talking, undressing, going for a quick dip, then coffee and more conversation afterwards.

In the first week, just over a year ago, 60 people showed up to join Reeves. His group has since established others in Surrey, Kent, Preston, Cumbria, Manchester and Southsea, across the water in Portsmouth. There is one in Gibraltar, he says, and another in South Africa. Two people have been in contact with Reeves this week to talk about creating groups. It’s a bit like a park, the 5km run that takes place in parks around the world every weekend – a simple idea, organized by enthusiastic volunteers.

Win, win pi Gosport group enjoy an early splash after a walk.
Win, win pi Gosport group enjoy an early splash after a walk. Photo: WTMWTD

Why do you think Reeves Win the morning, Win the day is getting up? “Freestyle for free, I’m not selling anything and it’s a welcoming environment for anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone,” he says. “I do not like the sea, I do not like cold water. But the reason I do this is because it puts me out of my comfort zone. “Challenging oneself,” he believes, “develops mental resilience, even though the element of swimming in the sea is not essential.” People in landlocked areas have been in contact to form their own groups. It has more to do with getting out of bed and meeting others.

Win Breakfast, Win Day has connected people at a time when many of them may have lost touch with friends and family, and has provided a space where the emphasis is on mental health and friendship, not on fitness or tough challenges. . Reeves makes it clear that no one should enter the sea unless they want to. “I have and suffer from poor mental health,” he says. “I know my reasons for this and I know how to take care of myself. Some days are okay, some days are bad days, and that’s good. “

Hearing about the Scanlon band on that podcast “I just caused something and thought, ‘I can do this.’ “On that two-mile walk I had deeper conversations with people I have never met before than with their spouses 20, 30 years old,” he says. “People have made friends, some people have stopped drinking. Some people would not leave the house before, some people did not like groups. I am extremely proud, not of myself, but of anyone who has done what “I’m not forcing people to be friendly, and to be nice and positive. That ‘s just what we’ve attracted.”

they They are polite: when it is clear that I am drastically dressed for the weather, a member, Paul, lends me water. And necessarily, when swimming outside in the dark, you need to take care of each other.

Meeting early to practice is not a new idea, but Win morning, win day has an attractive name, a growing community (Facebook group has more than 3,000 members) and an easily repetitive format. Michelle Tucker set up her band in Surrey – they walk, then swim in the Thames – in October last year after seeing Reeves on a BBC clip and bonding with him. “I think it’s its simplicity – to bring people together, to meet early, to start the day right,” she says. “People are open and honest and share some really intimate things – they may be struggling with their mental health, with isolation, and they just talk to each other.” Or is it just fun and “a really liberating thing to do” swimming in the dark at 6am. “You feel like a kid again because you’re doing this funny activity. The brakes have come out the window.”

There is a clear sense of accomplishment – it is good to know that you have done something healthy (walking, companionship and testimonials are growing for the benefits of cold water diving) before most people are out of bed – and knowing what is going on during the rest of the day, at least that has been achieved. But the emphasis seems to be on mental and physical well-being, not necessarily on optimizing productivity and waking up early just to get more tired during the day, which characterizes so much of the early morning fitness propaganda.

Chris Reeves: 'It's free, I'm not selling anything and it's welcoming to anyone who wants to get out of the comfort zone.
Chris Reeves: ‘Free for free, I’m not selling anything and is welcoming to anyone who wants to get out of the comfort zone.’ Photo: WTMWTD

There are many great books and communities online dedicated to the early morning rituals of successful CEOs, politicians, artists, and other high-achieving people, with the implication that if you can only wake up at 4am, similar success — or at least the ability to do a little more – would be within reach. But what if they get up early because they are CEO, instead of becoming CEO because they got up early?

Fiona Buckland, a leadership coach, notes that some of the “successful outsiders” they need to work with have to be early to deal with the amount of work that needs to be done and “the early start mantra is making a The virtue of necessity With They are overly ambitious and also under a lot of pressure from investors and shareholders to produce results, so stress can be a great motivator to find more hours a day. ”They, too, she says, “tend to withdraw from extremes and take risks, rather than moderation and self-care, and some of the extreme growing routines early are more of a symptom than a cause of their prompting.” As we are encouraged to perceive such punitive regimes as disciplined and impressive, “the hidden bottom line is high levels of fatigue, alcoholism, depression, mental illness, relationship breakdown, insomnia, high blood pressure and illness t of the heart, “she says.

While Buckland is all about “optimizing your performance, let’s incorporate some other ideas so that people have a wider range of options and practices, and discover what works for them.” This may not involve an early start. She advises discovering, by experimenting, when you are at your best to work on projects that make the most sense. “For example, I know when my peak times are for good, fluent, creative thinking and I defend this. It ‘s not 5am, especially in the winter when it’ s dark,” she says.

Each of us has a chronotype – loosely defined as a noose (a morning person), or an owl (more alert in later hours), although few of us are 100% one or the other, and the balance may change with age – and you will become “stupid,” says Colin Espie, professor of sleep medicine at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Oxford University, to say to a kind of owl, “You have to get up early and be productive then. Go against their natural rhythms of waking up to sleep. ”

The best way to have a good day is not necessarily to jump into the sea – or wake up at 2.30 am, then pray, exercise, play golf and have a “cryo-room” recovery as you do actor Mark Wahlberg – but just to get a good night’s sleep, says Espie. “This is the main fuel for alertness, concentration, productivity, emotional function, mental health and so many physical things like immune function and cell regeneration. Make sure you get enough good quality sleep because even small amounts of sleep loss create difficulties for the brain, and with concentration, productivity and emotions. “Trying to go against your chronotype” will be more likely to be counterproductive. [an owl type] forces themselves to get up early, they may find it difficult to go to bed earlier to sleep on the other side. Therefore, they will have lack of sleep and this will do more harm than good in terms of emotional health and productivity. “

So do not feel bad if you are not until 5:30 in the morning and swim in nature – blame it on your chronotype. But I’m a nude, and – after being warmed up by layers of dry clothing and quite a bit of smugness – I can see the pull. For the rest of the day, I feel the memory of the cold sea water on my skin, I am in a good mood and it seems like I “win” for something, however intangible. Says Reeves: “It’s not about touching everyone but the message I get most of the day saying, ‘I really needed it today.’ This is my job done. ”