Well-Being//

How the CEO of Clif Bar, Kevin Cleary, Spends His Mornings

“I use an alarm in the morning just for consistency’s sake. I can’t remember the last time I hit the snooze button.”

Caiaimage/Richard Johnson/Getty Images
Caiaimage/Richard Johnson/Getty Images
This interview with the CEO of Clif Bar & Company, Kevin Cleary, is an excerpt from My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, available now.


What is your morning routine?
My day starts anytime between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m., and it always begins with exercise. I have three young boys—twins aged nine and the little guy is seven—and if I don’t take advantage of the mornings, I don’t know when I would find that time.

How long have you stuck with this routine? What has changed?

This routine has been on and off for probably about eight or nine years, but more intensely over the past four or five. I’ve been really focused on making sure I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m in shape, especially as I’m an older dad.

The routine changes depending on what I’m doing at any given time. In 2016, I did Ironman Kona (a triathlon), so I really mixed in different types of exercises. A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to get on the American Ninja Warrior show, and that tweaked the workout, but I try to stay pretty consistent about doing something physical every morning.

Do you do anything before bed to make your morning easier?

I get everything set up the night before. It just makes everything more streamlined. I lay out my bike stuff and my running stuff because I find that it gives me less to think about and more reasons to get up and go do it than delay. It’s really where my wife and I are different. She’s more spontaneous and I’m all into planning, but it works out well.

I make my protein shake in the morning, so I’ll lay out all the pieces and parts for that the night before; I’ll make sure I have water in the fridge, and I’ll have my chia seeds and all that ready to go.

Do you use an alarm to wake up?

I use an alarm in the morning just for consistency’s sake. Usually I’m up before it goes off. I can’t remember the last time I hit the snooze button—I’ll maybe hit it for a second and then my mind starts going like, “Let’s get up, it’s time to get going.”

Can you go into more detail about your morning workout routine?

Every Sunday (I’ve been doing this for going on nineteen years now) I sit down and plan out my workouts for the following week—what I’m going to do based on my schedule, work, and kids. I always try to figure out what I’m going to be able to work on so I can manage my own expectations of what my workouts are going to look like for the coming week.

One or two times a week I ride my bike into work; it’s about a forty-five-mile round trip.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

When I first get to the office my most important task is to check in with my assistant to find out what we’ve got going on for the day. Is there anything that’s emerging, is there anything new that we need to address during the day, or is the day pretty much going to go as scheduled, or at least as far as we can tell at that point?

That’s really important to have; that connection with my assistant is a big deal. The other thing I usually do is check in with my wife to make sure that the kids have gotten off to school, and to make sure that the morning went well. Many times I’ll get them breakfast in the morning when I’m not riding to work. And then, I walk around the company and start to make sure that I’m connecting with people around the organization.

And if you fail to follow your routine?

I give myself a break and take the longer view of what’s happening. If I can’t do my workout later in the day, I’ll tell myself I’ll just pick it up tomorrow, or the next day. Six months from now, my body and I won’t know that I missed a day.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.